The origin of the word Company is derived from the Old French term compagnie, meaning a “society, friendship, intimacy; body of soldiers”, which came from the Late Latin word companion, meaning “one who eats bread with you”. Companies have many components including missions, values, products, services but are ultimately made up of one critical element – its PEOPLE. During challenging times like this it’s critical to help balance your employees’ varying and competing priorities.
Employee well-being has become a popular topic in recent years because of its direct connection to employee engagement and productivity. This realization has given more meaning to the concept that we should see our people as WHOLE people and not just a human capital asset. Some companies are making good progress installing employee well-being programs while others haven’t yet started. Regardless of where you fall on this continuum, now is the time to reflect on what you’re doing for your employees’ well-being and make adjustments that this situation demands.
Here are four things to consider for employee well-being in a reality shaped by COVID-19:
1. Remote work – those who have traditionally been office workers have been forced remote and this introduces new challenges, especially if there are kids at home. Many companies are offering increased flexibility in work hours and scheduling to accommodate conflicting responsibilities at home.
2. Physical health – many companies provide health benefits, but they often include deductibles and co-pays that can be costly at a time like this, which are made worse if you have to take unpaid time off. Most insurance carriers are now covering the costs for COVID-19 infections and many companies are offering additional sick leave. Be sure to communicate your health coverage and sick leave policy clearly and continuously with your employees, especially as they can change weekly as more legislation passes and new guidelines emerge like those in the FFCRA.
3. Mental health – one of our employees, Ryan, who is also a mental health counselor put it well in an email he sent company-wide last week when he said, “…the pandemic is having an effect on almost everyone’s mental health in some way and many of us are struggling in ways big and small…”. What mental health resources are available to your employees either through you or through the community? Are you communicating those? Some health insurance companies have also added additional resources for mental/behavioral health for its members so be sure you stay up to date with your major medical health carrier’s offerings.
4. Food and safety – getting the timing right to both avoid crowds and get basic necessities can be a challenge for all of us, especially for employees who live with or are themselves infection high-risk individuals. The challenge is discovering this need and arming your leaders with real ways to care for their employees’ well-being. Ask supervisors, and whoever owns individual outreach as outlined in my recent article about connection, to add this to their check-ins. Connect with your employees, show emotional support, and provide tangible resources that can help.
Things continue to change quickly as each day passes. Every day, more cities and states move to institute Stay-At-Home orders. Just 5 minutes ago, I received an alert on my phone notifying me of the order to stay at home starting tomorrow morning. All this change and uncertainty can create feelings of stress, anxiety, confusion and fear. More than ever, people need to feel a connection, and there are things we can do as leaders, managers, coworkers and friends to help create a connection.
Feeling connected can help us feel a sense of belonging, shared empathy, care, and feeling wanted and needed. At a time like this, that connection is necessary regardless of whether your workforce is normally remote, transitioning to remote, driving a truck, at the hospital, or on a construction site.
Here are 3 best practices for helping your employees feel connected:
The impact of COVID-19 has found its way into all our lives in one way or another. We, your team at People Element, want to do what we can to help you and your employees through this time of uncertainty. We can’t possibly know all the challenges you’re facing but based on the customer conversations we’ve had and our own experiences, we’ve narrowed our focus to three critical areas: Communication, Connection, and Well-Being. Below are some thoughts and resources for the first of these areas: Communication. We hope these materials can be helpful in your efforts to navigate through this difficult time.
It’s not an accident this is listed first. We believe this should be the first priority at a time like this. Information empowers your people to make the best decisions possible for themselves and their families. We recommend you develop a communication plan that can be delivered by the highest levels of leadership as well as immediate supervisors. Here are the 4 keys to an effective communication plan:
1. Communication should be appropriately transparent and empathic
2. Use as many delivery mediums as possible as different people best absorb information in different ways (company/department meeting, video, recorded messages, email, etc.)
3. Establish an appropriate frequency of communications as things change rapidly. Even if you have no changes or updates, it’s important you keep your communication coming regularly – something like “We have no new updates at this time, but we will keep you informed as we know more.”
4. Under the current circumstances, we recommend the following topics be covered:
People Element has surveyed more than 2000 people about their employment experiences during the COVID-19 crisis.
Our report outlines our findings and is available as a free download.Download Report
We’re seeking feedback about how companies are responding to COVID-19 and how employees are feeling about it. Please click the link to take a 60-second survey. The results will be shared with you so you can see how others are feeling and with companies so they can make more informed decisions about supporting employees through COVID-19.
Let’s work together to meet the challenges we face, and let’s put our people first.
Click the link to participate: https://peopleelement.net/app//#/PE/COVID_Study