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The Covid-19 pandemic came with a lock down and restrictions that have impacted negatively on every sector of the economy. What then should employers do to maintain the trust of their employees when they are unable to offer any work, remuneration or job security during this period?
With other businesses having already closed down; those that are still open carry the burden of making sure that they don’t follow suit. They must also make sure that their employees still believe in the continuity/survival of the business.
Open communication during this period is key. Companies that are open to their staff are less likely to lose staff members – once the economy is up and running again, than those that are not transparent. Employees are already uncertain about a lot of things including their own health and children’s education therefore open communication from the employer would be very refreshing at this stage.
Some operational businesses have already communicated the possibility of temporary lay-offs and pay cuts. They have communicated in advance and if those scenarios do come to pass, they will not come as a shock to the staff.
Companies have to figure out how to be creative in engaging with their staff and have to keep reassuring them that things will once again get back to normal. Other companies have adopted a system whereby they make small food parcels for their staff. It is a small gesture but extremely meaningful to staff. It shows that even if the business cannot be there for the staff financially, they care about their wellbeing.
Businesses must however bear in mind that even when the lockdown is over it will take a while for the dust to settle and not raise false hope, business will rise in stages there won’t be overnight miracles. Workers and businesses alike face difficult times and openness is key to healthy employer-employee relationships as we slowly return to normalcy.