Since the outbreak of the pandemic, many workers have reorganized their existing mode of work and started remote work: from anywhere, away from their associates or leaders.
For many people, this change has not proved troublesome and they are coping well with their new rhythm of the day at work. However, some of the employees feel anxious, are lost, have concerns about employment at the company, a sense that it does not belong to associates and management. Part struggles with the challenges that COVID-19 enforces and isn't happy about it, but despite everything — he's afraid to talk about it for fear of being judged. If you are a leader, try to help address any concerns that may ultimately lead to employee turnover or professional burnout.
It is worth talking to employees and asking them a simple question: “How do you really feel” and ensuring that they are listened to, but this will not always produce the expected results and will not necessarily allow a satisfactory assessment of the size of the broken workplace culture. In this situation, try to gently transform that question, offer employees an informal conversation, and change an approach to one where you ask really hard questions and then listen to what has been said, without any judgement whatsoever. Let the employee feel empowered to talk about everything and get out of the conversation with a sense that he really can make a difference and is completely supported and respected.
Be sure not to wait with a conversation with employees and assume that definitely is all right. If your employees feel anxious, your goals and expectations will become debatable, so it makes sense to make positive changes as soon as possible. Before talking to employees, it is worth preparing, understanding your own intentions and thinking about several issues.
Before meeting with employees, try to answer the following questions:
- How do you respond to concerns raised by employees?
Imagine a situation where an employee approaches you with a problem — what would your initial reaction, body speech and facial expressions be? It's one way to express yourself and a readable sign for the person facing you, whether they will receive your attention and whether you will take your time to listen to it. Unless it is absolutely necessarily, try not to ask the employee if he wants to talk about his problem later. This question can cause the employee to lose the courage to tell you about his concerns and may consider that his time and anxiety are not important.
- Are all employees treated equally?
Try to wonder if you had two employees who violated standards of conduct or the company's rules, would each receive the same reprimand?
- As a leader, do you admit your own mistakes?
Just because you're acting as a leader doesn't mean you're flawless. What's important, though, is the way you admit these mistakes. Think if an employee told you that he didn't like how you responded to the ideas he expressed, you would consider it information or a good excuse to respond to the employee?
- Do you only talk to employees in four eyes?
For employees who are shy, have a strongly introverted character or don't want a four-eyed conversation, it makes sense to create a new system that allows, for example, to speak anonymously. Consider how you would react to the information they reported, do you thank the employee for taking the floor and investigating the matter immediately?
Remember that if employees feel that no one cares about them, they will not care about the work they do and thereby: your business can achieve ever lower revenues.