Globally, we have been hearing about a second round of shutdowns and quarantines due to peaks in Coronavirus cases in many states and countries. Many organizations were planning to return to the office in phases. Some organizations are considering remote work for a much longer time and, in some cases, indefinitely. The issue is that company morale is taking a deep dive given this new normal.
How can organizations boost morale in this uncertain remote working environment?
I recommend the following five steps to ensure that company morale remains high whether they are at home or moving back to the office:
1. Conduct regular pulse surveys
One of the best ways to boost company morale is to make sure they feel like their voices matter whether they are working remotely or in the office. A perfect tool to help in the listening process is the pulse survey.
This is not the same painful process associated with the annual employee satisfaction survey. Organizational leaders can ask a small sampling of relevant questions to gauge employee sentiment on specific topics regarding COVID-19 and or the racial injustice.
Do yourself a favor, use this time to create a solid listening culture that leaves your employees feeling included, empowered, and a part of any changes you might need to make.
2. Set Regular Face-to-Face Routines
Managers can make or break employee experience and this is even more true now when we are all facing the most challenging times any of us have ever seen. Coach your managers to set regular one-on-one and team interactions and meetings, either virtually or in-person with social distancing. This is a critical step if you want to maintain a positive employee sentiment. Make sure to have fun too!
Many employees are struggling with loneliness, even more so if they continue to work from home. Their connection to their manager and team helps to fill the loneliness gap. It will also boost company morale.
3. Create a Cadence of Communication
Work with your internal communication department to come up with a communication plan and execute upon that plan consistently. Make sure to include different mediums to communicate and make sure leaders, customers and those on the front line have a chance to be a part of this planning and execution process.
Where most organizations go wrong is that they are afraid to communicate too much. The message does matter. So, don’t just throw anything out. Nonetheless, it is next to impossible to over-communicate. Your people need to know what is going on and what improvements the organization is making. Do not assume that they don’t want to know. They would like to know much more than you think. Communicating more consistently and effectively will improve employee sentiment.
4. Ramp up Recognition
Recognition is the lifeline for any successful organization and team. I would tell you this whether we were in the middle of a pandemic or not. However, our current environment taints our mindsets in a way that can be even more energy-draining and depressing. Organizational leaders who are focused on raising up the spirits of their people will continue to boost company morale.
In my first book, The 7 Intuitive Laws of Employee Loyalty, I laid out what I call, “crowd-sourcing recognition”. This really just means that we can set-up a system that allows not just the manager to recognize employees, but also allows customers, coworkers and other senior managers to get involved. This is the best scenario because it removes so much pressure from the manager to do it all.
No matter what, showing employees that you appreciate all they do never gets old and cannot be overdone. Make it a focus in your organization.
5. Double Down on Skill Building
What I saw a lot through the first couple of months of lock-downs was a dramatic decrease in organizational spend on professional development for employees. While I understand why that happened, there is no better time than today to double down on helping our employees, at all levels, build their skills. This is even more true if there were reductions in force. The remaining employees might not be properly trained to handle the increased workload. This can drive a negative company morale.
This double down might be virtual workshops, a speaker series, manager coaching and technical skills training. If budget is an issue, conduct a skills assessment to find out the most important areas on which to focus.
If you want to boost company morale during our COVID-19 roller coaster, focus on these steps. Doing so will minimize any turnover and increase employee engagement whether they are working from home, or heading back into the office. If you need help, don’t hesitate to reach out so that my team and I can help