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How to Tackle Employee Disengagement During Times of Crisis

The ongoing COVID crisis is causing headaches for businesses around the globe. HR professionals and managers already have enough on their plates. On top of that, there are now economic declines in most regions of the world, along with limited physical contact and movement.

Your employees might have many uncertainties about their future right now. Furthermore, they could have a bigger workload, causing them stress as everyone works harder to make ends meet.

In this article, we will talk about how business leaders can ensure that their employees stay engaged and productive during these uncertain and unprecedented times. That way, you can continue to grow your company instead of losing market share and value.

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Let’s get started:

Identify the Issue

You can’t fix an issue if you don’t know what it is in the first place. And there are many issues that could be at fault: the COVID-19 crisis, family, health or financial concerns, and other stressors all combine to create distractions that cross over into work.

Keep a close eye on employee KPIs so you can identify declines in quality or productivity. If an employee is struggling to meet their goals, don’t brush it under the carpet, as the issue may create a ripple effect across your entire team.

Try to schedule regular one-on-one meetings with each employee. A simple “how’s it going?” can go a long way in showing support and getting to the root of the issue.

Don’t neglect to recognize employees consistently for the work they do. Ask them what you can do to support them in their career. This creates a win-win scenario.

Provide Employees With the Right Tools

If you want your employees to be more efficient, you need to provide them with the right tools and skills.

Always remember that you will be more invested in the business than the average employee. You need to lead by example and show that you are serious about efficiency and productivity. Here are some ways to help your team become more efficient:

Remote Work Arrangements

Allowing remote work is no longer a “luxury” or some kind of benefit that you give your employees. In the current pandemic, it has become a necessity to keep your employees and customers safe and resume operations under previously unseen circumstances and restrictions.

However, remote work can also help you save on overhead costs and leverage international time zones and currency differences.

Of course, you want to have a clear protocol in place. Create an action plan with rules to guide your remote team. You can’t be looking over their shoulder, so you need to trust that the results will be the ultimate metric.

Slack and Other Collaboration Platforms

When working in these unique times, and with remote work in general, it helps to have tools that keep everyone on the same page. Slack, Trello, and other online apps allow your entire team to keep communication open and constant.

You can share documents like videos, text, photos, and more. Because it’s all in the cloud, it can be accessed from any device, making it scalable while increasing engagement at the same time.

Consider creating a separate channel for informal chats so that your team can vent and laugh together. Isolation can be a big productivity killer, so it’s important that your employees have a place to connect thats’ unrelated to work.

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Time Tracking

As a last resort in terms of tools, you can have employees download a time tracking app. Ideally, this wouldn’t be required. However, certain industries have very slim margins or high turnover, and you need to manage your talent more closely.

You might have team members struggling to secure daycare, so keep that in mind and see if some adjustments need to be made. Acknowledging that some issues are out of your employees’ control will go a long way in motivating them to contribute their best work.

Keep Communication Open and Honest

One of the risks you run is employees disengaging because they don’t feel like they can communicate openly. This can cause them to distance themselves from work and from engaging with colleagues or managers.

Consider the hierarchy structure of your business. Does it form a pyramid, or are you embracing a flatter hierarchy?

The corporate days where a handful of executives were making decisions are giving way to more open and collaborative leadership styles. Managers and executives can greatly profit from direct employee feedback since they run operations day in and day out and can quickly identify inefficient steps or procedures.

You need to make sure that you foster a culture of open communication. This includes holding regular one-on-one and team meetings.

Meetings are your chance to update your team about the current situation. However, effective meetings are a two-way street. Structure your meetings so that employees can voice any issues or worries they have.

If it seems like employees are still hesitant to speak their minds, you can experiment with other ways to gauge their opinions. For instance, you can offer an anonymous suggestions box in the office, or even create a digital version.

Involve Them in Decisions

Employees need to feel like they have real input in the decision-making process. This applies to various sectors of your company, whether that is customer-facing or back-of-house. If they aren’t, they may simply “check out” mentally, assuming that their efforts don’t matter, and that their voice is not heard.

Ensure that you have a number of decisions in your company that everyone is involved in. They should be able to count on having their input considered multiple times throughout the year or each month.

The added benefit of this is that they will be actively looking for ways to improve the business. If you want your company to grow, you need your employees to buy into your mission and try to be an active part of the solution.

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In Conclusion

Employees are the engine that makes your company run like a well-oiled machine. HR managers and other business leaders are charged with ensuring that they feel safe, remain productive, and bring their best self every day to work.

However, you need the right tools and strategies to achieve this. Review the tips above and see which one you could implement in your business.

The end result will be a happier, healthier, and more profitable workforce. During this pandemic and beyond, that will be more important than ever.