Keca WardMarch 19, 2020
Topics: Employee Experience

5 Ways HR Can Help Employees Adjust During a Crisis

During this challenging time, it’s easy to lose focus. And we’re all feeling overwhelmed by the ever-evolving COVID-19 situation. That’s OK! Take some cleansing breaths and remember this: It’s your job to protect your people and support them.

If your organization has implemented new policies, such as work-from-home, you’re probably asking yourself, how do I enable my employees to be successful? Many of them are now facing unique challenges and stress—which you may be experiencing as well. Nobody was prepared for this! But with a little guidance, you can help set your employees up for success.

Here are 5 ways you can help your workforce adjust quickly:

1. Create a Response Team.

Consistent messaging and alignment is critical, especially during crisis situations that change daily. Establishing a Response Team to manage communication across your entire company and office locations ensures everyone is aligned on newly implemented policies.

Choose leaders that are effective in each location. They should be:

  • In a highly visible position at their location
  • Effective communicators
  • Comfortable working with others
  • In constant contact with leadership and employees

In addition to addressing changing internal policies, Response Team leaders should field any questions employees have.

2. Increase communication.

During any time of uncertainty, communication is at the heart of helping manage anxiety and stress.

Start by informing employees, customers, candidates, and partners that their safety is your first priority—and include action items to support it. As the situation changes and work policies evolve, don’t be afraid to over-communicate with management. Make company-wide announcements via email, which is the best way to relay a lot of information at once. Managers should be able to reinforce the message and answer questions from their teams.

Updates to share include:

  • Business continuity procedures
  • Changes in hiring and onboarding procedures
  • Revised work policies (such as new work-from-home guidelines)
  • Company sanitation policies
  • Personal hygiene best practices

3. Ensure your workforce is prepared for remote work.

If your employees are required to work from home, ensure that all managers are prepared for this change, and your IT department is ready to address an increase in login issues and troubleshooting. It’s important to ensure all channels of communication are open, including email, phone, and messaging apps like Slack, Skype, and Microsoft Teams. Video conferencing applications like Zoom and GoToMeeting also help teams continue to operate and stay connected.

4. Be empathetic—and share educational resources.

In addition to equipping employees with the technology they need to do their jobs, understand that this will be a very stressful time for many, and managing stress is critical.

From workers who depend on commission to employees with kids at home, there are a lot of factors that raise anxiety levels. Remaining empathetic to your employees and acknowledging their concerns are very important during this time.

In addition to remaining available to talk through these concerns, be sure to proactively share company-wide resources, such as:

  • Productivity tips
  • How to manage time at home
  • How to alleviate stress and anxiety
  • Meditation & mindfulness exercises

5. Encourage managers to support their teams.

It’s important to stress to all managers at your organization that their most important role right now is to support their teams. We’re all human, and now is the time to reach out and make people feel as comfortable as possible. Managers should be striving to be a guiding light during uncertain times like these—as well as a sympathetic ear.

As we navigate this rapidly changing this situation, the most important thing is to keep your employees feeling safe, protected, and productive.

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