By Linda Rubenstein, Director of Community Impact CliftonLarsonAllen Email T. 301.931.7320
- During COVID-19, employees are looking to their organization’s leaders to chart a path forward.
- By offering teammates empathy, flexibility, encouragement, and resources, leaders can provide much-needed support.
- CLA can equip you with the tools, resources, and tips you need to help your teammates during the pandemic.
Now, more than ever, employees are looking to their leaders for help. Though COVID-19 has had a collective effect on workplaces around the world, each of your team members are impacted differently.
As a leader, it’s unrealistic to think you can allay all of your employees’ concerns or anxieties. However, you can offer reassurance by taking a few simple steps to let your employees know you’re paying attention to their needs, and providing a true path forward.
As we’ve guided our clients and our teams through the unprecedented times caused by COVID-19, we’ve focused on the following four areas:
As you communicate with your team members, ask yourself: “What is the experience of dealing with COVID-19 anxiety like for them?” Times like these call for increased empathy, so it’s important to assume positive intent and listen with an open mind in an effort to put yourself in their shoes.
In front of you, your employees may not feel comfortable expressing themselves fully, so pay attention to other cues. Video chats offer a good opportunity to pick up on body language, which can give you clues that there may be more to the story.
We are working under rapidly changing circumstances for our businesses and our personal lives. Whenever possible, provide your teams with flexibility to adapt to their current reality at home, which may include taking care of children or accommodating a partner who is working from home as well. Set clear expectations about project due dates, but allow team members the freedom to complete the tasks during a timeframe that balances with family commitments.
Acknowledge the anxiety and challenges we all feel. Let your team know they are not alone during this crisis. For instance, start team meetings with a check-in where every person shares a word to describe their feelings at the moment. Friendly competitions and easy challenges offer ways to cheer each other on and keep spirits up, too.
The amount of pandemic-related information and resources available to your employees can be overwhelming. Build a community around wellness and share mental health resources such as LearnToLive. You can also provide avenues for information-sharing among your teams. For example, use message boards to post “life hacks.” Another option is to create online communities for your people to connect around interests they are passionate about, or the challenges they face.
As leaders, we don’t need to solve the problems of our people, but we do need to listen and offer support. As we all come together, we can work to emerge stronger on the other side.