Coronavirus crisis: four practical ways to build a resilient culture
Following the Singapore government’s decision to close all non-essential workplaces, companies are scrambling to set up home or remote working to keep daily operations afloat. Today’s employee engagement tools and cultural data insights help executives address four different, but equally important, elements that will build a resilient culture and keep employees engaged during the coronavirus crisis.
First - maintain regular employee feedback.
Staff surveys may not seem a crucial tactic as a company fights for survival but the latest data driven tools provide instant ‘heatmaps’ and ‘dashboards’ of sentiment in your workforce/division/population sentiment that would otherwise escape executives’ attention when in crisis mode. This evolving, real-time picture can be key to identifying your employees’ crisis experience, designing crisis communications, and setting up emergency action plans and sensitive company policies for the recovery period.
It is important to keep up your ‘rituals and symbols’ at this time, so if you had weekly drinks on a Friday, still do them if you can, just via video. Continue to recognise and celebrate the work of your teams like you did before the pandemic, but use Slack or Zoom instead.
Second - focus on groups of greatest value.
Highest performing employees are essential to weathering the current storm. Using heatmaps and other tools to look at the responses of key departments or high performers can help determine which teams and high-performers can help lead the organisation through the crisis.
Think about whether you’re going to continue running performance evaluations during the pandemic. Is your performance review process fairly established and do you have a large part of your workforce still working? Perhaps you tie bonus payments to performance reviews?
During a pandemic, employees might not be as productive due to crisis-induced circumstances. They might be adjusting to fully-remote work, dealing with unexpected life changes, or juggling caregiving responsibilities. In this environment, performance evaluations can be a heavy lift. If these feel like too big a burden at all times, irrespective of the situation, it could signal an opportunity for you to rethink your performance framework.
Third - defuse resistance to change.
Employees may not fully understand the constraints on the business during this crisis or they fear what will happen to them after a change causing them to resist adapting as quickly as the organisation needs. Conducting a change resistance survey can identify both which employees are likely to resist the change and for what reasons allowing for tailored interventions. The sooner you defuse ‘change resistance’ the sooner you can adapt to a new market.
You can’t over-communicate in times of crisis. Leaders need to share as much as possible with their teams about what is going on in the business and employees need to understand what is expected from them during this time.
Managers and employees can set adjusted individual goals in a collaborative fashion, then agree on what has to be accomplished while considering what’s realistic for an employee to achieve.
Four - identify employee turnover.
Data-driven turnover forecasting and dashboard-style tools can identify populations that are likely to leave when given the opportunity. Careful use of these systems’ insights - such as comments and customised question options - can alert executives to priority actions to specific actions. That’s because in a crisis, the issue is often how they are treated during the change than the upheaval itself. They give executives the opportunity to either directly address their issues or strategise how you can take control of the company narrative - and make it up to them after the crisis is over.
Even if your organisation is thrust into a mass working from home situation, you can build culture when you don’t have a water cooler or ping pong table to rally around.
For a free COVID-19 pulse survey please visit www.culturefirst.com/resilience.