Photo: Danielle MacInnes

10 Tips to Stabilize Employee Experience During the Pandemic

In an outlook where the future looks bleak, only true leaders guide their team through the storm and come out stronger on the other side. And only the best leaders will focus on employee experience during that storm.

That leader needs to be you.

During an unprecedented crisis such as COVID-19, your leadership becomes even more valuable. With so much uncertainty, your employees will look to you now more than ever for stability.

How Can You Maintain a Positive Employee Experience?

Here’s how you can provide stability for employees while keeping your business operating at maximum efficiency…

1. Foster Transparent Communications

During times of crisis, transparency becomes essential. If your employees think your business is in trouble, they’ll feel anxious.

As the person in charge, you need to keep everyone in the loop. That means sending regular updates about how the business is doing, what problems you’re running into, what you’re doing to deal with them, and more.

2. Keep Communications Positive and Hopeful

Since employees will be expecting to hear from you often, make sure any communications you send out don’t make your employees feel anxious any further.

For example, if you have daily or weekly meetings, start them off by talking about successes within the company. After all, recognizing your employees’ efforts becomes even more important during times of turbulence. And those people and teams recognized will certainly appreciate being recognized, a key aspect in improving overall employee experience.

3. Offer Ways for Your Employees to Relieve Stress

Since the lines between the office and home have become blurred, it can be a smart move to provide your team with ways to relieve stress such as:

  • Providing your employees with additional time off and breaks if needed.
  • Setting up team virtual game nights or remote “after-office” clubs. (That said, make sure to be considerate of parents and others who may not have the same flexibility with evening get-togethers.)
  • Encouraging your team to talk to each other about how they’re handling all the changes. Make it easier to share how colleagues in similar positions are managing — what’s working, what’s not.

Happy employees tend to be better at their jobs. Helping your team relieve stress shows them you care, and it can foster in-office ties.

4. Adjust Your Internal Processes to the “New Normal”

Nothing is the same as it was months ago, so the internal processes that help you deliver products/services and accomplish tasks also need to adapt to the new normal.

For example, now might not be the best time for performance reviews as few people may be thriving during the pandemic.

5. Be Empathetic and Patient with Your Team

The pandemic and near-global quarantines have had a massive impact on most people’s mental health. One of the key reasons is that a lot of employees don’t know if they’ll have a job in a month or two.

On top of being transparent about how things are going within the business, you also need to be patient with your team. Few people are performing at 100% now, so empathy is key.

Don’t simply assume you have empathy. Chat with three to five trusted people for their honest feedback and ask if they perceive a sincere effort to accommodate the team.

6. Ramp Up Employee Feedback

Although you may know your industry inside and out, your team probably has insights that you might not have considered.

If you want to stay ahead of the curve, encourage everyone who works for you to come forward with any feedback they might have. The best way to do that is to provide multiple channels for inbound feedback.

7. Set Up New Channels for Inbound Feedback

Some examples of the types of channels you can set up to encourage employee feedback include:

By providing multiple channels, you increase the chance employees will share concerns and also information about protocol violations.

8. Promote New Safety Protocols

If part of your team isn’t working remotely, then it’s your job to enforce security protocols.

That means giving your team all the information they need to perform their job safely without adding to their stress levels.

So don’t make it sterile and forgettable. Promote your safety protocols in a fun way that’s “on-brand” and will click with your employees.

9. Help Your Team Recalibrate Expectations

Although it’s your job to ensure that employees don’t feel anxious, you also need to be forthcoming about what the pandemic might mean for the employee experience now and in the future.

Some companies are putting off raises others are cutting hours, and more. Being transparent about what the business is going through will help your team keep their expectations in line.

Your team will have the confidence to adjust if they see a transparent management that is doing everything to keep the ship afloat. And that confidence will become a huge element in their employee experience.

10. Recognize the Small Things

Now more than ever, your employees need to know that you recognize the work and effort they’re putting in.

Without people showing up to work every day (even if it’s from their living room) your company wouldn’t survive. By fostering an environment where hard work is recognized and praised, you can help your team weather the storm.

Your Leadership Can Make the Biggest Difference

No industry is coming out of the pandemic unscathed. So how good your footing is after everything is said and done will depend on the level of stability instilled into your employee experience during these times.

By fostering transparency, encouraging employee engagement, and by being more empathetic, you can ensure that your team knows you’re on their side.

Stability Is A Myth, Invest And Grow Your Business

How many times have you hired someone because they seemed like the right person? They do well in some situations but they slip in situations they should otherwise succeed in. Now the Manager has to put things back together. We spend time recruiting, training, and re-training people over and over.

Does this happen often? Do you have people that have a tough time doing things on their own?

Think Long Term

As a business owner or leader, you have to take a long term view and understand that Steve Jobs was right: “A small team of A players can run circles around B and C players.” Hiring the best people is the single most important activity. If you have lenders or investors, they are operating on a shorter cycle. They are looking for returns based on their liquidity and capital event schedules. When we react to their needs, we rush our process of building great teams. This ultimately impacts the business outcomes.

As a leader, it’s your job to drive the business and not let operating from a position of weakness effect your decisions. If you need capital to grow your business, go get some. There is an abundance of capital circulating this country. If you have lenders that are calling notes, go sell more so you can be a debt free company. Often leaders get focused on these distractions and the real issue is they need to sell more product or service. If you sell or ship your product, you can solve all your issues with revenue.

We know that the cost to operate a business is increasing over time. If you are not growing your revenue in business and operating in a status quo stability mindset, you will eventually decay your business. Be prepared to feed it some cash.

Having a perfectly balanced staff is a myth in business

Just like in staffing, it’s never just right. You are either under staffed or over staffed. I have driven results in more cases with an understaffed team then an overstaffed team. When there are too many people in the office, things slip. When urgency is in place, there is no time to waste on office chatter.

Have you ever been to a restaurant when you are one of the only customers? You would think your service would be exceptional. I know this isn’t for all situations, but I find that servers begin to focus on other things, like their side work and forget about taking care of the customer. Operating lean is a good thing for business, people rise to the occasion and will reach their potential.

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(About the Author: Patrick leverages a deep insight in leadership to inspire high-impact results. He is an Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur and Leadership Coach. He is the Founder and CEO of CareersinAuto, His leadership & coaching firm, is focused on winning in life and business. Together his companies offer a suite of tools to help people and companies reach their potential. You can learn more about Patrick’s new book The Inner Game of Business at

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