Enabling Human Connections and Employee Motivation during Unprecedented Times

  • Work from home due to unprecedented times.
  • Teleworking, virtual meetings due unprecedented times
  • Masks, physical distancing, hand sanitizers, PPE at the workplace due to unprecedented times
  • No get-togethers & parties, cancellation of Friday fun events due to unprecedented times
  • Salary cuts, variable pay delays, hikes delays due to unprecedented times

Many employees would be going through an emotional turmoil because of this infamous ‘unprecedented time’. Employees’ motivation levels across workplaces are unprecedentedly bordering frustration & anguish. The tremors are not only felt in Delhi due to the earthquake but also in the minds of employees.

Working in isolation, dealing with work pressure, project deadlines, client expectations can be overwhelming. People across industries and roles are facing higher levels of stress, exhaustion, and anxiety.

The research has proven this fact,

  • According to a global study undertaken by Qualtrics and SAP. 75% of employees say they feel more socially isolated, 67% of employees report higher stress during the ongoing crisis.
  • In a US-based study from the Society for Human Resource Management, 55% report having lower interest or pleasure in doing things since COVID-19 and over 50% felt depressed or hopeless

Non-work-related activities like online training, webinars, social media, soap operas, Netflix are reaching diminishing marginal utilities i.e. their importance is increasingly becoming less valuable.

In times (remember unprecedented), Employers, HR leaders, and managers need to be extremely empathetic towards employee well being. While most of you would already know, below are few tips which you can follow to pep up some delusional spirits.

Nearly 40% of people say their company has not even asked them how they’re doing (read well being) since the pandemic began.

It is not easy for anyone, managers are skeptical as to the topic of discussions while employees are hesitant to share personal feelings. Hence the best suggestion is to discuss anything but work.

If you are a manager or a senior colleague — pick a phone or use the office communicator to have an interaction. It is better to avoid topics related to the negativity around the virus and pandemic.

Use the occasion to talk about hobbies, favorite web series, sports, cooking, food choices, etc etc.

As many of the employees are working in isolation or not able to freely share their work — it becomes pertinent to appreciate a small contribution, which is visible by their colleagues and office friends.

People like to be valued and noticed and that cannot happen in assumptions & solitary thoughts. Leveraging an open forum to say “Thank You”, “Good Job” with few personal lines can go a long way in uplifting trust & relationships.

Human psychology longs for connection and being respected by colleagues strengthens the camaraderie and team spirit.

Teams perform better when a member of the team sees their work getting appreciated by other members of the team.

In the absence of a town hall program, a digital platform can be used for employees to come together and show a thumbs up or indulge in some friendly banter.

In ordinary circumstances, the office pantry & water cooler conversation would have been the source of all the news, views, and gossip.

Any new win, client appreciation, CEO interview, functionality releases, incident resolution, product launches need to be celebrated with all employees.

Instead of a one-sided email, the news can be announced on an internal platform. This enables employees across the organization to not only be aware of the latest developments but also give a reaction as well.

In times of uncertainties, in addition to regular feedback and appraisal cycles, it is important to recognize accomplishments with special rewards.

An automatic system that links the rewards with organizational values & metrics will be highly appreciated. A complex issue resolution from a customer service agent is immediately recognized with an Amazon voucher, or a new sales win from the account manager is given an e-gift card of a multinational brand.

These small gestures will not cost the company a huge monetary expense, but a timely recognition is tremendously motivating.

In Summary

The organizational & HR leaders need to become enablers in this battle (against pandemic & negativity around it) by taking concrete actions. The companies need to provide essential ammunition for the managers & employees to keep fighting with high enthusiasm.

  • Various researches have proven that when employees are heard, appreciated, and valued — Organisation succeeds.
  • A motivated employee is 9 times more likely to deliver better performance.

Companies need to adopt new mediums and approaches which value employees from all aspects. Moreover, it is extremely enriching for our immune system and mental wellbeing to nurture a sense of human connections that can come from giving and receiving appreciation.

If the remote working becomes a new normal, in that case, it is even more pertinent to establish digital channels to keep the human spirit going.

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Photo: Unsplash

Founder of Change Started http://changestarted.com — Sustainability & Environment. Interests in — Digital Technologies I Consulting I FinTech I Sports I Travel.

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