There’s a lot of noise out there right now with growing uncertainties around COVID-19 and what it means for business. These factors outside of our control have created many unknowns for individuals and businesses, especially the frontline workforce. To help you stay up-to-date, we’ve gathered best practices and tangible advice from industry leaders and publications on supporting your most valuable asset—your people.
1. To stay informed
Required reading: Leadership is most important in times of concern or crisis
It’s important to stay up-to-date and in-the-know during an ever-changing situation. That being said, it’s also important to prioritize useful and factual information. Be selective with the type and amount of information you read, and focus on reliable sources (like the World Health Organization and CDC). Having foundational knowledge allows for a more clear understanding of potential implications for the business and how they will impact your people.
2. To provide reliable communication
Required reading: Demonstrating care in times of crisis
Your frontline workforce relies on clear direction and consistent communication for inspiration in times of uncertainty. It’s critical that you communicate regularly and in ‘real-time’. Having an avenue that allows for instant communication (i.e. mobile messaging) is crucial in situations that are constantly changing.
During periods of rapid change, issue regular updates each step of the way outlining your organization’s response. Frontline associates will be empowered through information sharing and clear messaging. Remain available for any associate feedback or questions, and encourage it. Signaling to your frontline that leadership is there for them adds a level of trust and camaraderie.
3. To be decisive
Required reading: Leading through COVID-19: Making smart decisions amid uncertainty
With a constantly changing situation, it can be daunting to make big organizational decisions without a clear picture of how it will impact the business. Although indecision feels safe short-term, in times of uncertainty, employees look to leadership for reassurance and security. Make the best decisions that you can right now and address important policies and procedures.
In times of crisis, certainty in decision-making magnifies employee trust, which in turn, dials down anxieties. The more pressure you’re under as an organization, the more intentional you must be to stay strong in turbulent times.
4. To show appreciation
Required reading: Coronavirus response: People first, economics second
Your people bring your brand to life, so let them know you appreciate and support them! Show your frontline that you value them by prioritizing their personal well-being in all circumstances. Developing the attitude of “we’re all in this together” builds a sense of shared purpose, community, and belonging. Rewarding and recognizing on-going contributions by employees is an important way to deepen connections in the organization.
Take time to prioritize and care for your people in this unpredictable situation. The ability to keep the frontline workforce engaged, empowered, and connected will ultimately impact the outcomes of this crisis. We will get through this together.