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Employers take note: Now is the time to say thanks to your employees. The holiday season naturally lends itself to the idea that we should be grateful for all we have. It’s an important time for employers to show workers that you appreciate them and that you will get through things together as a team. We have six suggestions for how employers can make their employees feel cared for during COVID-19. 

Be more flexible on scheduling.

Your employees are likely handling childcare issues, homeschooling, plus in many cases working from home. This means their peak productivity may be from 5 am to 7:30 am when the kids are still asleep or after 10 pm when they are in bed. Parents may struggle to find the right space to accommodate virtual meetings. Or, if they travel to work, they may have trouble if school is canceled. Employers can help by flexing schedules to support peak productivity and to cut employees more slack during this challenging time. 

Support work/life balance.

If your employees are working from home in a 9 to 5 job, it might be tempting for managers to send out emails or instant messaging after work is over. After all, work is home these days for many of us. But employers should set the standard that it’s okay for employees to turn off their laptops after work is over for the night and should not respond to after-hours messaging. This simple message supports the idea that work/life balance matters—as it should. 

Build corporate culture virtually.

When was the last time your teams just chatted casually like they would at the office? If your teams are now remote, they are probably on Zoom meetings all day. But that isn’t like going out to lunch with coworkers. This isn’t happy hour! Why not talk with your HR teams about setting up some virtual events where employees can socialize if they want to? Fostering employee connections helps build culture. 

Send out positive thank you messages.

Where does your team function? Are they on Slack or Microsoft Teams? Do they use Asana for projects? Does your company have an intranet? Find the channels your teams are on and send out random positive messages. Celebrate birthdays and anniversaries. Publicly (or virtually) thank teams and individuals for their efforts. Create a culture of positivity to build up your employee culture.  

Train your managers to check-in.

Everyone deals with the pandemic in different ways. It’s important for business leadership to communication the best way for managers to check in with individual team members. It’s okay to ask how things are going at home and if we can help. Then managers should be empowered to help employees get what they need to be more productive. Does the employee have technology challenges that can be remedied? Do they need to get to work an hour later due to childcare issues? Managers should be allowed the flexibility to address these and other issues to help support your vital workforce. 

Do an end of year check-in and plan for 2021.

When was the last time you checked in with employees to see what their career goals were? Do they like working remotely? If they’re back in the office, would they rather work remotely one or two days a week to save the commute? What are their goals for 2021? Are there any educational classes that can help their career move forward? What was their top accomplishment this year? Asking all of these kinds of questions serves more than just planning for 2021. Asking your employees about what matters to them means that you are listening.   

That, more than anything else, will help your workforce feel valued. 

IES values your business and your employees. We can help with your hiring goals for 2021. Contact us today. 

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