Six key considerations for supporting the workforce during COVID-19

During times of crisis, whether it’s a pandemic or a traumatic internal event, leaders need to be empowered to support their employees.

Regardless of your area of work, your employees are struggling under new working and living conditions, added stress, changes in their home life, and other daily adjustments to this new way of life. Therefore, it’s likely you will see an impact on employee engagement outcomes such as lower levels of productivity and motivation.

Achievers is on a mission to change the way the world works – and that includes how people work during and after a crisis. In an effort to further support your organisations during this unprecedented time, we created the COVID-19 Critical Event Response Survey and Toolkit, designed to help you look at how your employees are being affected and supported during this difficult time. Managers can use the toolkit to connect and have meaningful conversations with employees to gain a better understanding of feelings across teams in order to improve engagement and support wellbeing.

So how did we create the Critical Response Survey and Toolkit?

The Achievers Workforce Institute, the science and research arm of the company, immediately started to identify the most robust academic research and best business practices for supporting employee wellbeing during critical events. Our overall mission was to empower employers and managers to provide much needed support to employees during this challenging time. At the Achievers Workforce Institute we identified the below six key protective drivers that predict employee resilience and organisational continuity. Monitoring and proactively acting on these drivers will help ensure better outcomes in the long term as organisations work to navigate the current challenges.

The key protective drivers

  1. Information sharing

Evidence shows that employees who receive timely and credible information are more quickly able to cope with change when they feel they are being kept in the loop with relevant, accurate information. Even if that news is challenging or you are unable to provide all the answers straight away – sharing truthful information is incredibly important.

  1. Support

Ensuring that your employees have the resources they need to be successful in their roles during this time is critical. Having the appropriate tools, technology and plans necessary to move through this unprecedented time is a major predictor of long-term organisational success.

  1. Balance

It goes without saying that work-life balance is severely impacted during times of crises. Although some of the realities relating to work-life balance cannot be changed, it’s still important that you are checking in to see how employees feel about their ability to balance work and personal obligations, and offering support and help where possible.

  1. Wellbeing

There’s a strong link between stress and crisis, which can lead to physical and mental health challenges. If wellbeing is compromised, this can put additional stress and strain on employees. Therefore, it’s crucial to keep tabs on how you can support employees with this critical and fundamental protective factor.

  1. Contact with leadership

The first type of contact to address is that with leaders and managers, which is a crucial tool in times of challenge. There is nothing more important during times of crisis than maintaining contact with your workforce, which is made even more difficult due to remote working and social isolation.

  1. Contact with colleagues

The second type of contact is that with peers and colleagues –  evidence shows that maintaining relationships with co-workers can help to decrease burnout and can increase motivation. If contact is maintained then all of the other protective drivers above become easier to address.

About the Achievers Critical Response Survey and Toolkit

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If managers and leaders are measuring and acting on all of these key drivers then your organisation is likely to come through this critical event not just in tact but with a stronger and well adjusted workforce. Using these six key protective drivers as a starting point, we created an eight-question survey that will measure employee wellbeing in each of these areas. It’s recommended that you survey employees regularly during this critical period of time to track potential issues that may crop up. The critical events toolkit can then be used to empower managers to implement simple tactics to start to act on crisis hotspots and address sensitive areas before they become problems. The toolkit provides simple conversation starters to connect with employees and to delve into their specific needs.

During a critical event, how we respond will determine how successful we’ll be at navigating tough climates. Download the Achievers Critical Response Survey and Toolkit now and start your journey to measure and impact the drivers that will allow your organisation to both survive and thrive.