3 Ways to Help Employees Feel Seen and Heard in Uncertain TimesPosted on: July 26, 2020, by : Tuesday
Many employees feel overwhelmed by the pandemic. The past few months have been extremely stressful for many of us. It’s no wonder that employees are anxious, confused, and unsettled as they re-enter workplaces or experience changes in their work environments.
Here are three ways leaders can address employee’s fears and anxieties.
Acknowledge losses and concerns.
Many organizations struggle with this. It’s often easier to focus on moving forward and what the organization will expect of everyone. Employees could benefit from acknowledging their concerns and from opportunities to ask questions to help alleviate their fears. Giving employees opportunities to acknowledge their fears may actually help alleviate them. Some leaders may be hesitant or uncomfortable in these types of listening sessions and that’s understandable. Employees need to understand that leaders are vulnerable too and that they have concerns as well.
Communicate often using various channels.
Communicating during a crisis, which is what this pandemic is, should never be treated as a “one and done” communication. It’s also not realistic to think sending out one-way communications in your preferred format is sufficient. Various communication channels exist with the appropriateness of using each dependent upon your audience, culture, and intent. Equally important are the skill and comfort levels of the individual tasked with delivering messages.
For example, a member of management with little experience delivering effective presentations to large groups may not be the best option for sharing an important message with a large group of employees. This same individual may be extremely effective at conducting meetings with small groups of technical or other experts. It’s important to communicate with employees using the channels that they regularly use.
Encourage employees to practice self-care.
This new normal is an opportunity for employees to practice reflection, stress management, and self-care to develop confidence and resiliency. There is power in taking action to take care of oneself during times that may otherwise leave you feeling powerless. Right now, feeling confident and purposeful can help sustain us during uncertain times.
Helping employees take ownership of their care can be an important starting point in helping them navigate through challenging times. And organizations don’t need to have all of the answers, but they do need to be empathetic and show that they care about their employees’ health and well-being.
What would it be like to work in a place where all employees felt supported and appreciated? How would it impact the culture if your communications were clear and consistent while they gave employees opportunities to feel heard? Why not take ownership for making that a reality?