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Reopening After the Crisis: How to Bring Out the Best in Your Employees

7 minute read

Many countries are ending the lockdown, and businesses are reopening. Things going ‘back to normal’ will take different shapes across countries and business sectors. As one of the stats in this McKinsey article illustrates:

"In China, one month after the end of lockdown, the return-to-activity rate was 97% in the automotive sector, 70% in the textile sector, but only 40% in the restaurant sector."

Various sources offer advice on how to navigate the unknown post corona territory. One of the more comprehensive recommendations is the website of the US Chamber of Commerce, where you can download sector-specific reopening guides.

How quickly your business will recover from the corona lockdown depends on many things, but your employees are critical. In this article, we’ll share our thoughts on strategy, best practices, and useful tools for employee reassurance and motivation in these challenging times.

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Staffing requirements

If you had to lay off employees during the crisis, you might not be able to bring them all back right now. What will help your company recover the quickest? Offer limited hours to most of your staff, or have a few indispensable employees on for their regular hours, while slowly re-expanding your employee base as business picks up again?

Whatever your strategy, you’ll want to stay in touch with your employees, even if they are temporarily laid off. An employee app is a simple and effective way to stay connected and share targeted messages across devices and languages. Keep your furloughed employees up to date about the latest developments, boost their morale, create two-way dialogue, and make them feel part of the team.

Physical health of your employees

As mentioned above, the situation is different in different parts of the world. And so are the guidelines for sanitation, personal protective equipment, social distancing, and more. The type of business, especially the level of contact with customers, is also a determining factor. Following the government guidelines of your country is the simplest way to ensure a safe working environment.

However, it is necessary to discuss how to implement these measures in your organization and brainstorm on creative and people-friendly solutions.

The mental health of your employees

Unfortunately, all your employees will have felt the impact of the crisis. It could be in the form of the loss of a loved one, financial concern, or loneliness. And of course, there’s still issues of health anxiety to handle. As an employer, you must show that you care and provide ongoing emotional support. Monitoring the mental wellbeing of your staff is just as imperative as being alert on physical illness symptoms.

Clear and collective goals

When your employees come back to work after the lockdown, they’ll find a lot has changed. The workplace is one of the minor things that will be different. Setting a new marketing approach and new targets may be necessary to help recover. It’s paramount to communicate these changes. Make your staff fully understand what the company goals are in this phase, and how you expect them to contribute to achieving these goals.

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Communication is key

The one thing that links all post-lockdown efforts is the need for communication. Communication is the fundamental strategy your business should utilize during this time. And it’s no exaggeration to say that internal communication is more indispensable than ever. The new working environment, the health of your employees, and the communal efforts to rebuild your business ask for a continuous stream of information. Some of your updated tasks as an employer will be to:

  • Anchor your team. Consider a team-building activity or a brainstorming session to kick off the restart.
  • Ensure a safe environment. Communicate clearly and frequently about the sanitizing protocols, social distance rules, and other protective measures.
  • Monitor the health of your staff.
  • Make sure everybody is informed about your company’s post-crisis marketing approach and role during the restart phase.
  • Boost morale and team spirit.
  • Gather feedback by sharing polls or creating two-way dialogues.

To emphasize the importance of employer information: One remarkable conclusion from the Edelman Trust Barometer is that the employer is the most credible source of information about the coronavirus. The world’s largest PR-agency conducted a ten country study and found that:

“My employer” was the most trusted institution by 18 points over the business in general and NGOs, by 27 points over government and media. That explains our finding that employer communications are the most credible source of information about the coronavirus. Sixty-three percent said that they would believe information from that channel after one or two exposures, versus 58% for a government website and 51% for traditional media."

Another stat from the Trust Barometer concerns the frequency of communication:

"Employers are required to update information regularly on COVID-19, with 63% asking for daily updates and 20% wanting announcements several times a day."

What do you need?

First and foremost, you will need a communication plan for different audiences, each tailored to ensure that the right message is delivered and received correctly.​ A second requirement is a tool for easy and effective communication. It is especially important to reach your non-desk and frontline workers and employees who work remotely. The best way to connect with your workforce, wherever they work, is a mobile-first employee app that operates as a one-stop-shop and provides your employees with frequent and targeted information.

In this article, you will find some useful advice on both communication plans and tools.

Conclusion

There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution for reopening after the corona crisis. The crisis is not over when the lockdown ends. Companies face new challenges such as rebuilding their business, restoring trust, and adapting to new ways of working together. Now, more than ever, it is highly crucial to have a well informed and motivated workforce. An all-encompassing employee app that allows you to inform, motivate, and monitor your staff is a simple and highly effective tool to optimize internal communication.

Interested to know how workplace culture strengthens employee loyalty and relationships? Download our latest infographic here!

Rob is a content writer, copywriter and novelist. His work for Apple, WWF, Mercedes-Benz and many other brands has been awarded with prestigious creative awards.

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