Prepare Now for a Possible Re-Emergence

Next steps? What do we do now if the corona-virus (or another pandemic) re-emerges over due to a decrease in social distancing and other factors, employers will need to be prepared for a return to remote work and other pandemic-induced workplace changes.

Be a smart business owner or HR professional and make plans now - just in case - take the lessons you've learned in recent months and creating new policies and procedures so they're ready, if necessary. The pandemic has clearly proven creativity on the business side and what people can do from home. 

Autonomy is a key component of remote work, and increased autonomy tends to build employee engagement. Employees need to have that flexibility and permission to work anywhere. When we give people that choice, it increases our autonomy as employees. And autonomy is one of the leading indicators of whether people will have intrinsic motivation to do their jobs.

In this Article: 

  • Key Lessons for the Next Possible Office Shutdown
  • A New Layer of Humanity
  • 8 Tips for Communicating with Employees During a Crisis
  • Rethinking Pay amid Uncertainty 

Key Lessons for the Next Possible Office Shutdown

  • Trust your employees who are working remotely.
  • Regularly allow people to telecommute, at least occasionally, to provide greater flexibility and confirm that the company's technology can support it.
  • Make sure virtual-meeting platforms are secure.
  • Prepare for virtual hiring and onboarding.
  • Communicate an understanding for working parents' needs.

A New Layer of Humanity 

Providing a sense of freedom to allow employees to focus on children when they need to and focus on work at atypical working hours if necessary is a solution at many companies,

It really comes down to letting people in the company know it's OK to not be perfect and that it's OK to have the stress and talk about these things. That's one of the big problems of why so many people are disengaged and why company culture has so much room to improve. It's that people don't feel like they can be their authentic selves and don't feel they can share what's really wrong or what they're struggling with because they'll be penalized for telling the truth. We need to break that. 

8 Tips for Communicating with Employees During a Crisis

1. Be proactive. Anticipate and plan for crises that your organization could encounter before they happen.

2. Get a team together. During the planning phase, identify employees who will make up the crisis management team—the people who will know what to do when disaster strikes.

3. Don’t expect employees to come to you. Implement a notification system that quickly reaches out to employees with accurate information and guidance.

4. Don’t put up roadblocks. Trying to keep employees from communicating about crises via social media is futile. Instead, help them shape their messages by giving them correct information in a timely manner.

5. Act fast—but only say what you know to be true. Speed is of the essence when it comes to crisis communications, but it shouldn’t come at the price of accuracy.

6. Don't go silent.  If your organization is not yet ready to respond to an emergency, HR should at least let staffers know that the organization is gathering information and will follow up as soon as it can. 

7. Test—then test again. The most well-crafted communication plan won’t be very helpful if employees have no idea what it is or how to use it. At least once a year, test the process to find out from workers what it does and doesn’t do well, and then adjust accordingly.

8. Evaluate. Post-crisis assessments are as important as pre-crisis plans. After the fact, review how the internal communication plan was executed. Determine what succeeded and what can be improved.

Rethinking Pay Amid Uncertainty 

As employers begin compensation planning for the rest of the year and into 2021 and 2022, they not only have to consider pay levels, but also what type of organization they need to be to thrive in a post-pandemic marketplace. Here are some key areas that will require focus:

• Consider the future organization. The pandemic has caused employers to ask many questions about operations: Where will people work? How will they get their work done? What will the overall organization look like, and how many employees will it need in the future? The answers to these and other questions will have a significant impact on all aspects of pay.

• Rethink established pay practices. This can also be a good time to reconsider whether the traditional approach to paying people is still viable. For example, employers that want to increase the organization's resilience and flexibility could consider skill-based pay.

Employers need to rethink the whole playbook as they look for ways to lower cost and become more effective in what rewards they deliver.

• Look beyond pay. As employees get back to work on site, employers may find that what workers value from the employment relationship has changed. In some cases, employers may need to provide new types of benefits, especially programs that provide more flexibility and security, to bring their workforce back. For example, employees may respond well to greater scheduling flexibility to manage childcare when formal and reliable childcare may be difficult to find.

• Expect continued uncertainty. When setting pay, employers should be prepared for a high level of uncertainty in the market. Employers are likely to experience a lot of uncertainty in their operations and planning. Changes won't stop.