It has been nearly a year since COVID-19 changed the way the world does business. Up to this day, lockdown measures are still in place to reduce the spread of the disease. Employees are divided into remote workers and in-office workers but both struggle with COVID-19 anxiety.
Businesses are coming together to reduce wages and share expenses through layoffs. Hence, the need for better employee engagement and motivation matters now more than ever. Remote work, reduced pay and/or unpaid leaves are adding to the emotional, mental and economic stress employees suffer.
For these reasons, expecting distressed employees to inform is nearly impossible and quite insensitive. With this in mind, focus on improving their morale.
Equip Employees with Basic Amenities
Basic amenities during COVID-19 mean face masks and alcohol. For your in-house team, keep the bathrooms stocked with plenty of soap, too.
Other safety precautions you can take up include providing each department with thermometers to monitor the temperature of the team. Also, you can provide counseling services to employees who need help in coping with the pandemic. This provides struggling employees with an outlet to express their thoughts. However, this can only be done if the Human Resource team is certified and equipped to do so.
Know what drives your employees to work every day. For example, some employees want to improve their skills through training and education. Meet this need by investing in online training and seminars. By improving their skills, you are also improving their performance in the company.
Perhaps, other employees want a chance to advance their career by taking more roles. Once they have fine-tuned their skills, appoint them as meeting presenters or project team leads.
Also, nurture those behind to help them reach higher career levels. Whatever the case, always celebrate your staff’s willingness to learn despite the pandemic. Celebrate their progress and small milestones.
Establish a Reward System
Working during a pandemic is difficult since more employees are still adjusting to the new normal. Therefore, it is important to appreciate their efforts in meeting set goals. For example, organize birthdays and group lunches. You can also reward top-performing employees with shopping vouchers.
Be explicit in offering promotions or sharing rewards. List them down and share them for all the employees to read. State the standards the staff must meet and stick by them. This eliminates shortcuts to rewarding deserving employees.
Cultivate a Culture of Teamwork
Employees working remotely are far from their team, which makes it easy for them to function as lone wolves. Instead of caring for a couple of lone wolves, bring your pack back — even if they are working online.
Start by finding non-work-related interests the group has. For example, what TV series are they currently watching? Are they interested in online games? Next, come up with a calendar of events that combines all the team’s interests. Apart from encouraging everyone to participate, these events also encourage creativity within the team.
Everyone should have fun while doing it. To ensure their fun, list all of their interests down and let the team choose what they want. Finalize by adding terms of how employees can enjoy the activities. Conclude the activity by sharing the final version of the calendar.
When cultivating teamwork, respect is important. Watch your tone, even if you are just sending reminders via email. Also, delegate empowering activities. Praise the team regularly and talk about their strengths. In terms of their weaknesses, offer help in any way you can.
Uphold Responsible Behavior in Your Team
Establish platforms for group communication such as Slack, WhatsApp groups and group emails. Employees can express their ideas, views and concerns on these platforms. When unsure, they can ask for clarity.
Also, encouraging open communication prevents misinformation and office gossip. Responsible internal communication also motivates team to work together.
As the employer, you should initiate this change. Start by being active and present in attending all of their queries. Your presence establishes direction, as well as clears any doubts. Also, observe your employees closely to learn more about their strengths and weaknesses. Share duties that bring out their work ethics and skills.
The Bottom Line
Despite the pandemic’s effect on employees and the business, there is still light at the end of the tunnel. For example, the staff benefits from flexible working times, more family bonding and mental wellbeing care. Still, your team will need support to coast through COVID-19’s uncertainty.
Equip your team with the things they need to make it through the pandemic.