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The world is facing unprecedented challenges – point-blank, things feel a little scary. In a time where layoffs are an all too real reality and a tangible timeline doesn’t yet exist, leaders can still help their people feel safe, supported, and empowered. While you’re no doubt working around the clock to strategize ways for coming out of this on top, a key factor here is ensuring that your employees are engaged.

Ethan Allen HR Services works with many organizational leaders to help them optimize their employee engagement strategies. Here are a handful of key ways to keep your team engaged during times of uncertainty:


Communicate Transparently

Your employees are the most important stakeholders in your business. They expect and deserve to know about the challenges that your organization is facing and leadership’s strategy for overcoming them. In one study, 87% of surveyed employees wanted their company to be transparent, and 80% wanted to know more about how decisions were made in their organization. There are countless studies out there boasting similar stats.

The bottom line is, transparency between employers and their employees really matters. This is especially important during times of uncertainty where lack of transparency might open the gates for negative speculation.

You don’t need to have all of the answers before communicating openly with your employees – if you’re playing it day-by-day, like many companies right now, that’s okay! It’s still important to keep your team informed on what you do know, what you have yet to find out, and your interim plan for addressing the challenges.


Think Past an Open-Door Policy

Transparent communication is a critical first step to fostering an engaged workforce, but the effort won’t go very far unless your leadership team is available to discuss any challenges, concerns, or ideas 1-1 with employees. Many companies already have an open-door policy, one where employees are encouraged to reach out to leadership. However, while leaders can promote an open line of communication, only a fraction of employees will take them up on the offer – especially if they already feel disengaged in the workplace.

In times of uncertainty – and really any time – leaders should take the initiative to proactively check-in with their team and offer to meet 1-1. This is a good way to connect with employees who may not have reached out on their own while showing that you really do care about how they’re doing.


Create an Employee Engagement Committee

Right now, your employees are inundated with headline after headline of negative news. If there is one thing that we all need today, it’s a reminder that even through uneasy times, there is still so much to be excited about. Fostering a positive and energetic culture is more important than ever before – and it doesn’t have to be a huge monetary investment either. In one independent study, an HR consultant found that when a company delegated a small budget towards initiatives to boost their culture, like team bonding and coaching programs, they saw a 32% increase in employee engagement and a 28% increase in employee performance across the company. Even small steps in the right direction can make a big impact. Start this week by creating a committee to bring a few ideas to life!


Identify Ways that You Can Support Employees

At the end of the day, the most valuable tool for keeping your employees engaged is also the simplest – be there for them. They, like you, are navigating unprecedented changes in many areas of their life. Maybe a partner has been laid off, perhaps they have young children adjusting to e-learning, or maybe they know someone battling the virus. There are countless unknown variables and as an employer, you have the opportunity to be a rock in the storm. This means being more lenient when it comes to working hours, extending project deadlines, and providing resources where you can. And at a deeper level, it means ensuring that every decision you make stays true to one overarching idea – that you’re one big team that will always be there for one another.


You support your employees – and we’ll support you. If you need assistance with your critical HR processes (like payroll, benefits, administration, and more) or simply want to discuss more strategies for boosting employee morale, we have you covered. Let us know how we can help!


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