Engagement In The Time Of SARS COV-2
In the workplace, communication and employee engagement are married. The question becomes this: How to engage workers battling a personal crisis at home and experiencing uncertainty at work.
Layoffs and furloughs 'rip the heart' out of workplace. There is a profound effect on those who leave and those remaining. Relationships are broken—friends and colleagues become separated and connections are severed.
For the last 20 or so years, we have seen the workplace emerge as a replacement for community, neighborhoods and even family. Often, we barely know the name of our neighbors.
For many workers, the loss of conversation and connection creates a devastating 'new normal' for both furloughed employees and those who remain at work. The impact is real and it manifests over time. The challenge for the manager/leader is to recognize this change is happening and make a diligent, consistent commitment to communication. It is honesty that matters. And, that honesty is what will get people through.
Leaders and managers — with focus on results and 'steering the ship' through the crisis can easily miss these nuances of emotion.
The time to begin thinking about the impact of this is...now.
SARS COV-2 will pass. But, the lingering memory and emotional fall-out will scar many workers for a long time. Many workers have found a unique comfort in the stability of the workplace. And, as that stability disintegrates, what replaces it can be foggy and uncertain.
And uncertainty encourages STASIS in the way that standing water encourage mosquitos.
Deep feelings of uncertainty among the workers who remain must be dealt with substantive and frequent communication. And remember, engagement and communication are inexorably linked. Let's do everything in our power to help them flourish.