Employers have been grappling with workforce management challenges in the midst of an unprecedented response to COVID-19.
Although not all businesses have had to confront shutdowns and mass lay-offs, every employer has been impacted by the government's response to the novel coronavirus.
Addressing the vast number of workforce management and HR issues confronting employers has created many challenges for owners, employers and HR managers. Many organizations have been tracking the impact of the pandemic response on businesses, including Gallup, which issued a recent update of their ongoing survey.
Here's what has changed in a stunningly short period of time (comparing Gallup Panel surveys conducted March 13-16 vs. March 27-29):
- The percentage of full-time employees who say COVID-19 has disrupted their life "a great deal" or "a fair amount" has jumped from 58% to 81%.
- 40% of U.S. employees say their employer has frozen hiring, and 33% say their employer has reduced hours or shifts because of COVID-19 -- up from 33% and 27%, respectively.
- The percentage of full-time employees working from home because of COVID-19 closures has increased from 33% to 61%.
- The percentage of parents working full time who have kept their kids home from school because of COVID-19 has increased from less than half (44%) to everyone (100%).
According to Gallup, their research has determined that employees have four fundamental needs: trust, stability, compassion and hope.
Unfortunately, a Gallup Poll found only about half of U.S. employees believe their "employer has communicated a clear plan of action in response to the coronavirus" outbreak. In addition, only about 25 percent of employees felt that the leaders in their organizations are successfully managing emerging challenges.
Here are recommendations for business leaders, based on Gallup research, that can help:
1. Employees Need Trust and Compassion: Be Present, Even When You're Distant
Gallup research shows that 43% of U.S. employees were working remotely even before the crisis, and many more have joined their ranks. Demonstrating care and compassion may require leaders to communicate authentically via video addresses.
2. Employees Need Stability: Prioritize Wellbeing Amid Disruption
52% of Americans say that it's either likely or somewhat likely that COVID-19 will cause major financial struggles for their household... As you strategize methods to prevent infection, remember that emotional exhaustion is debilitating and affects performance, too.
3. Employees Need Hope: Anchor to Your "True North"
Leaders at many organizations are using their resources to help drive the response to this pandemic. Those companies are defeating the disease with their own unique purpose. By doing what only they can do, they're saving the lives of their fellow citizens. Like the leaders of those companies, find your calling to show your hope for the future and inspire it in your employees. Keep your team and your company anchored toward what truly endures -- your purpose and your values.
Managing With Ongoing Uncertainty
There are vast numbers of tools available for informing managers and leaders on the demands of sick leave, employee furloughs and even layoffs. In addition to the government and private resources that can be accessed, perhaps the single most vital component for successful management is communication.
An article at Workforce.com stresses the importance of workplace communication,
"Communication is at the heart of every sound workforce management practice. From establishing clear expectations, setting a bigger purpose, building company culture down to fostering accountability, communication will always be at the core . Clearly messaged, trusted communication can either make or break operations and enhance employee engagement."
The Economist Intelligence Unit conducts a study that showed how poor workplace communication is detrimental to an organization. In the study, respondents revealed that communication barriers result in:
- Delays or failure to complete projects (44 percent)
- Low morale (31 percent)
- Missed performance goals (25 percent)
- Lost sales (18 percent)
The real issue for many organizations today is that poor workplace communication can be worse during the crisis of the coronavirus pandemic. And, given the uncertain and fragile nature of many businesses now, this can result in far more damage than necessary.
Here are some essential workforce communication tips for management,
When a crisis strikes, it’s essential to address employees as soon as possible.
Solidify the message
Consistent messaging is key. While different roles have different concerns, it’s essential to keep the overall message continuous and consistent.
Diversify message delivery
How you relay the message is just as important as how it is crafted. If face-to-face communication is no longer possible, video conferencing or recorded video are viable options. Email is a common channel for organizations, but it’s best to diversify delivery channels when the situation is urgent.
Keep the feedback loop open
Effective communication means keeping communication lines open and soliciting feedback. During a crisis, it’s imperative to open channels for discussions and to raise questions.
A platform to stay connected
A good communication process is important to equip a workforce with different ways to stay connected. An effective approach is to keep all necessary communication in one place using available technology.
Your Partners for Workforce Management Issues
Maintaining compliant workforce management requires understanding paid sick leave policies and legal requirements regarding furloughs and layoffs. Accuchex can help your company meet its obligations, as well as provide accuracy and timeliness. Understanding the law, automating sick leave tracking and calculations, and prioritizing accurate record keeping will make compliance a sure thing.
Another key step in maintaining HR compliance and increasing your company's cost-effectiveness is to consider outsourcing. A professional agency such as Accuchex can provide much-needed help with Human Resources needs and questions.
Accuchex is a full spectrum Payroll Management Services provider offering expertise in Time Management, Insurance and Retirement issues, as well.
If you are looking for reliable resource for your HR issues, we can help. And you can get your Free Download: California Paid Sick Leave Law to help you make an informed decision, or call Accuchex Payroll Management Services at 877-422-2824.