When someone misunderstands the actions of another it can create conflict and those misunderstandings come from the lack of or poor communication. These misunderstandings and frustrations lead to poor performance, lack of workforce community, and low employee morale.
It is vital employers communicate clearly, honestly and compassionately with their workforce to ensure employees make an educated and informed opinion. Uninformed employees are likely to respond with resistance and anger through rumors, gossip and speculation which leads to more unrest and anger.
Companies can leave employees in the dark, but then faulty conclusions will be made, and negative thoughts will be generated, shared with colleagues and become employees’ current reality.
When organizations honestly and openly communicate with their workforce community, employees can be informed and better understand employer decisions. Clear, honest, regular and compassionate communication allow employees to choose to embrace and support those actions or express their disappointment and frustrations.
So how do organizations go about communicating clearly and honestly? Management needs to quickly come up with a plan. The plan does not need to be conclusive because who even has a conclusive Covid-19 response plan? Unfortunately, the necessary data to make that plan does not exist yet, but there are things the organization can do in the meantime.
Communicate what they do and do not know. This will assist in reducing, moderating and eliminating employee ambivalence.
Connect with the employees. Confirm employees have the job resources and or occupational continuation information they need.
Employees must recognize they have to choose if they want to be part of the solution or be part of the problem. As employers reach out to see how employees are doing and to see if there is anything (occupationally) they need during this Covid-19 period, employees have a choice to be helpful. Employees have a voice and organizations need to hear the voice of their employees.
Want to move through the changes introduced by Covid -19? Do the following:
- Understand employee concerns. Collect the voice of the employees while recognizing that different settings will reflect different concerns. Raise the subject, “With your permission, I’d like to ask you a few questions about how Covid-19 is effecting you. Is it okay to talk for a few minutes?
- After information is collected, quickly provide feedback to the employee populations. Share those responses back to the employee population through regular company communications. This demonstrates that the organization listens and cares about employee opinions.
- Take action steps based on the information collected. Lots of brief and successful interventions will go much further than any big plan. Make sure to do what is reasonable. Secure and provide necessary resources. Redefine success daily.
- Evaluate actions and do what’s next.
Employers communication needs to be based on what employees are saying. Open lines of communication address the important things that need to be addressed.
When employees are fully informed, they can understand why their company made the decisions they made. When organizations are fully informed, they understand why employees feel they way they do. Clear and honest communications between employees and organizations create the strong workplace community that employees need in this critical time.
To learn more about strengthening your workforce community during a crisis, register for our live webinar on April 17th.