20 May 2020
As you go about saving your business, don’t forget to protect and support your biggest asset — your teams. Those who are still around will be dejected.
Millions of people around the world are struggling to fight the virus that is threatening their lives and livelihood. The industry that has borne the brunt of it — almost immediately — is travel and hospitality. You may have had to let go of many team members. Some are on long (unpaid) leave; others working shorter hours.
Here are some steps you can take to keep their morale up in such uncertain times.
1) Keep the proverbial phone lines open
Honest, frequent and transparent communication is critical. It’s important to address the situation with your teams from the start, even if you don’t know what the future looks like. Discussing the problem upfront shows that executives, managers, and employees are all in the same boat and all will pull together to get through this crisis.
2) Embrace virtual technology
We may have to socially isolate to break the chain, but we don’t — and must not — break the communication channels. Just make them online. For those in lockdowns or have teams working from home, stay connected by hosting regular online meetings — video preferred as it provides an easy visual of connection.
Schedule regular catch-ups for work. Don’t forget to add in casual virtual conversations over a cuppa or even Friday drinks. They can be a great way to perk up.
3) Build for the future. Inspire creativity
There is no organisation that is spared of the “BAU fatigue” and always hearing that one is so busy doing their day jobs that there is no space left for innovation.
COVID-19 has given us this time back. And to be honest, it will take a lot of creativity to jump-start our economies and industry again. Inspire your staff to join this conversation. Create project teams and develop plans to revive your business when the virus cloud lifts. If you’re not yet in a lockdown phase or when you come out of it, use the downtime you have to upskill your staff and empower them to deliver a fantastic guest experience when the front desk gets busy again.
4) Be kind
No one knows how long this will last. Each one of us is looking at an uncertain future. Some of us are juggling work with full-time parenting as schools and daycares shut down. Others are tending to sick family members or those in isolation. The upheaval caused by the novel coronavirus is massive.
Be empathetic and understanding of your staff’s situations as they grapple with the new normal. Relax your guidelines and be flexible.
5) Stay engaged
When you’re not all together, keeping everyone engaged can be hard — especially in the hospitality industry where many have been asked to stay home indefinitely.
Post updates regularly on your social media accounts. Send out newsletters or individual emails. Call some of your staff members so they feel appreciated and to show you think of them as people rather than a group of workers. Don’t forget to stay connected with the staff you’ve had to let go — you’ve probably spent considerable effort in training them. Eventually, this crisis too shall pass. At that point, having the right people in place to execute on those new plans will accelerate a path to normalcy. And who better than those who’ve already worked with you?
What are some measures you are taking to stay connected with your teams during the COVID-19 crisis and lift their morale? Share your thoughts with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.