Communicating with Employees During COVID-19
Is over communicating really over communicating during this season of COVID? It is imperative to take care of new and seasoned employees. As we know, production is better, work life is better when our employees are happy and feel engaged. Several factors result in happy and engaged employees. One key factor is communication. Effective communication is ever more important during times of uncertainty and possible instability in our personal and work environments. Effective communication is on-time, honest, reasonable, explicit, and accountable.
Especially during COVID or any uncertain period, it’s a great idea to communicate to the degree of which you if you feel you are over communicating. Even if you are unsure of next steps, unsure about in which direction you are pivoting, let your employees know that, and ensure them that you will figure it out and keep them informed.
For your newly hired employees, again, communication is key. Onboarding sets the standard for their outlook toward your organization. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Prior to COVID, if you didn’t have one person or group assigned to onboard your new hires, consider dedicating at least one of your staff members to ensure all new hires feel they have a partner, someone they can contact when they have questions or concerns. When operating in a virtual space, it starts with basics, like asking new hires if they are comfortable with communicating virtually, do they have reliable internet/WiFi access? Do they understand how to operate within Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack, and other online tools?
You may need to make accommodations for internet access or provide training to ensure the onboarding process begins successfully. Put a virtual plan in place for onboarding. This plan may follow your current onboarding process, but you must realize there may be new or different processes called for because so much of the work is happening in a virtual environment. Once you have identified your dedicated person to implement onboarding, set expectations and accountability. Remember, follow up to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.
The takeaway: work to ensure your employees, both seasoned and new, know and feel you are walking in this “new space” alongside them and you are here to support them.