It’s hard to keep employees engaged during a crisis. When Covid-19 hit, people were feeling powerless and anxious. No one knew where they stood financially, and people feared for their health and were uncertain what life would look like post-coronavirus.
If you're a team leader, on top of worrying about whether your company will weather the storm, you have to worry about being there for your employees. You need to guarantee their health, try your level best to guarantee their source of livelihood, and, above all, bring everyone together in the best possible ways. All of this isn't easy to achieve, but it can be done. Here are seven proven ways to increase employee engagement in a crisis.
1. Help your team manage their time
There are many online resources you can use to help your employees to become effective time managers. Time management courses, for example, can help trainees become better organizers, planners, and goal setters. These interactive online sessions will also help your employees achieve a better work-life balance. The courses are held online through Zoom and other video conferencing platforms, so all your employees need to attend the class is a stable internet connection.
2. Be personal
Don’t get involved in your team’s personal lives, but at least take a genuine interest in their personal lives. Make them feel like they belong to a big family, that they’re not just “workers.” Ask them about their families. Ask them about their work-at-home struggles. When team members feel like they belong, like there’s someone looking after them, they feel motivated to work harder.
3. Emphasize company culture
Working arrangements have shifted significantly, but the company culture shouldn’t shift an inch. If you allow employees to erode the culture, it might disappear entirely by the time the crisis is over. If you’ve built your brand around transparency and trust, ensure that those things are maintained during your communications. If you held coffee or lunch breaks, happy hours, and team games at the office, ensure that these team-building activities continue. Be creative enough to make everything happen via video.
4. Communicate often
Communicate company goals every chance you get, and explain how every team member, individual goal, and individual effort contributes to the failure or success of the company. When employees feel like their small tasks matter in the realization of a bigger company goal, they become more vested in every task assigned to them. They’ll automatically start collaborating more with other team players.
5. Lead by example
Your team looks up to you for guidance and motivation, and they’ll learn more from what you do than what you say. If you wake up at noon, they might as well stop waking up early. If you ignore their feedback, they might as well ignore customer feedback. If you’re dishonest, they’ll know that and copy that. They’ll use every bad trait you have against you. So, try to put forth all your good traits no matter how disruptive the crisis has been in your family and/or professional life.
Seek out opportunities to connect with your team. And when you connect, actively listen with an open mind. You can also engage them in informal conversations—casual, carefree conversations that are warm and friendly not necessarily related to work. These will make your team members feel valued and appreciated.
7. Empower and motivate
Trust your team with meaningful responsibilities. This will boost confidence and morale. Besides, you’ll need all the help you can get in managing through a crisis. Now might even be the time to give hardworking team members promotions.
Melissa Bethany enjoys exercising and taking care of her body. Her hobbies include biking and cycling, and her favorite things to do are reading and writing.
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