Communication is Key to Helping Employees Cope With Change
By: Jennie Overton
To stay competitive, companies need to show employees that they not only support them in their work tasks, but that they also genuinely care about them as people. When an upheaval happens at work, home or in the world at large, helping employees cope with change is an important aspect of employee care.
Why helping employees cope with change is important
How employees feel cared for impacts company outcomes. According to recent research:
1 in 3 employees have left a job because they didn’t feel their employer cared about them as a person.
1 in 4 left a job because they weren’t treated with dignity by company leaders.
1 in 5 left a job because their employer didn’t support their well-being.
Helping employees cope with change during times of crisis starts with communication. In addition to using best practices for how to communicate change in the workplace, companies can support and engage employees with stepped-up communications:
1. Dynamic, real-time communication
Keep employees updated with resources, current work situations and policies along with check-ins to enhance employee connection. For many employees, email is not always effective, especially now with limited access due to certain job requirements and restraints. Ensure your company has a two-way engagement solution so that you can communicate proactively and react to employee questions and feedback.
2. Show care
Consistent contact with your employees is crucial. Send messages of encouragement or updates to let them know that you support and care for them — try a video from leadership to help educate and inspire employees from a distance. Share timely information from reputable resources and remind them to stay home as appropriate.
3. Address policies
Create corporate policies to address times of crisis. Your employees should know what the company is doing, how they’re doing it and when, in order to feel confident that any scenario has been accounted for, which will increase feelings of safety and enable them to focus on work.
Helping employees cope with change by reducing stress
In times of crisis, companies should do as much as they can to help manage employee stress. Start with initiating new company policies that work for your company and ultimately benefit the team, such as unlimited sick time, childcare flexibility or free services. It’s important to remember that not only do employees have to care for themselves, but they might also have a family, kids or elderly to care for as well.
Managers can also divvy up the workload, so it doesn’t fall all on one person. Employees will feel cared for knowing they don’t have to do it alone to meet deadlines.
When employees perceive support from their organizations, they are more committed to the organization and have higher levels of engagement, performance and well-being. This starts with companies supporting their employees from the beginning — be sure to communicate policies and procedures in stable times and changes during times of crisis.