Mr. S.J. Raj, our senior vice-president (human resources operations). He holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in arts with specialization in social works from the Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi. He was appointed as the manager, human resources department and administration with effect from June 7, 1993 and as the senior vice-president (human resources operations) with effect from April 1, 2006. He has previously also worked with Eicher Goodearth Limited, SRF Nippondenso Limited, PCS Data Products Limited and Semiconductor Complex Limited. He has more than 30 years of experience in the field of human resources development. He is responsible for our human resources strategy, global operations and programs aligned human resource strategy.
Crisis or not, the show must go on. And to ensure smooth operations during crisis situations, enterprises must ensure their employees are forever engaged and motivated.
Maintaining employee engagement during a crisis can seem like a herculean task, but it can be a cakewalk if you can show your employees how much they mean to your organization. Employees are more vulnerable during crises and may face several personal and work-related challenges. For instance, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, employees witnessed heightened stress and the challenges posed by remote operations. As an employer, you must show empathy during such situations and address your employees’ immediate psychological and economic needs while keeping them engaged and motivated.
Engaged Employees Make it Easier to Deal with Crisis Situations!
Employees can feel skeptical and demotivated during a crisis, and it’s for the employers to keep their morale high to keep the lights on. Let’s look at eight ways that can help you keep your employees motivated and engaged:
- Be candid
It is important to remain frank and straightforward with your employees about what exactly is going on in the organization. In emergencies, employees often feel concerned about their job security. In situations like these, the top management must step up and proactively address employees’ concerns. Effective communication and transparency build trust, loyalty and go a long way in building employees’ morale
- Enable effective remote work
Given the flexibility and time saved on the commute, some employees are more productive when working remotely. To avoid any hindrance in the daily productivity, ensure you provide the necessary infrastructure, such as laptops, headsets, etc. for smooth operations
- Ensure employees’ well-being
You must ensure the mental and physical well-being of all your employees. For example, during health emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, testing facilities, vaccination drives for employees and their immediate family members can be provided along with complimentary consultation by doctors for medical assistance and support
- Establish a personal connect
Simply taking some time to discuss certain personal issues and offering whatever feasible help can make a real difference. Showing empathy and concern will enable you to reduce your employee’s anxiety during uncertain times and deal with issues related to financial well-being, bereavement, or their struggle to cope with work while looking after domestic responsibilities. Such times require you to become a confidante to your workforce so that they do not feel isolated
- Organizing virtual activities
In crises such as the COVID 19 pandemic, social distancing became a norm. In such situations, employees can be motivated with creative employee engagement activities, fun games, and events, such as riddles, quizzes, talent hunts, and more. Healthy eating habits, the importance of hydration, and physical exercise must be encouraged. Furthermore, you can organize sessions on mental health, yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises for improving employees health and boosting their immunity
- Rewarding efforts
Strategic, on-time recognition can boost employee morale significantly. It is essential to recognize employees who go beyond their call of duty in times of crisis. It creates a sense of accomplishment among the strong performers and motivates other employees to achieve the same feat
- Encourage feedback
Employees must express their concerns openly, and the management must emphasize how much they value feedback from employees at all levels. At times, employees may not give honest feedback due to fear of retribution. To avoid this, secure channels for providing feedback are crucial. Having multiple channels in place, such as one-on-one meetings with the respective reporting managers, talking to a senior leader or reaching out to HR, and anonymous surveys can give employees options to pick their preferred channel. Finally, leaders must share summaries of the concerns and follow-up actions that can help build trust in tough times
- Invest in learning and development programs
You must invest in learning and development programs. This will not only help in creating a highly-skilled workforce but also help in keeping their minds off from the uncertainties of the crisis
We must not forget the quote by a famous author, Sybil F. Stershic, “The way your employees feel is the way your customers will feel. And if your employees don’t feel valued, neither will your customers.”
Tough situations give you an opportunity to connect with your employees and build a healthy relationship by showing how transparent and approachable you are. Motivated employees are more productive, and deploying the right employee engagement methods can even give you a competitive edge. Keeping employee morale high in difficult times will support your ability to deliver on your mission and goals.