Updated on 7 April 2020:
Staff morale affects your company’s success. During trying times like this, it’s important to keep your staff happy and motivated. Which can be an especially tough thing to do during the current Covid-19 scare in Singapore right now.
But the lack of staff morale affects your company in more ways than you can expect. Overtly stressed and anxious employees result in poorer quality of work, as well as disengaged employees. At times, it can even lead to a higher turnover rate, which will be detrimental to your organization.
Here are some ways to improve staff morale in Singapore during the Covid-19 pandemic by a trusted recruitment agency in Singapore, BGC Group:
0. Priorities, Priorities, and Priorities. Only the bare essentials.
In times of unpredictability - having a flurry of activities going on and a segrated team, you don't have a lot of control over what happens. This is time for leaders to get focused, to step up, and to communicate a clear purpose and direction of the organisation now.
Where possible, it is critical for managers to drop projects that is non-essential and will slow the team down.
What we shared on a recent CNA live interview on maintaining employee morale while working from home still applies to date -
We need to focus on the basics of our operations and a very good analogy that I can give is similar to your smartphone. So using your phone itself and is low on battery, there's actually no capacity for your luxuries, for example - browsing or social media streaming of videos, you just need to look at the basics of making calls and sending out messages... doing the bare essentials.
Putting that into a business context, basic operations should run as per usual. So any additional projects that can be put on hold? It should be shelved at the moment so that staff are able to adapt to these new changes and let them settle in.
Personnels sometimes may react negatively to such major changes in such work environments. Self productivity will be one of the best signs to look out for. When it starts dropping? Individual KPIs may take a hit. So monitor these changes and listen to your employees.
We'll encourage all employers to stay very close to the ground for the first few weeks and manually keep track of all their daily tasks and consistently make sure everything's been completed with the same quality. Day to day work should not be affected. Every company has their own ways to track their KPI so I think they need to keep a lookout for this to ensure that disruptions should be minimised.
1. Employees in Critical Functions who are allowed to operate onsite must be provided with Important Basic Hygiene Amenities
By basic amenities, we mean surgical masks and hand sanitisers. Don’t forget to keep hand soaps well stocked as well. Forget everything you’ve read up about face masks and hand sanitizers being ineffective against the Covid-19. They at least provide a line of defense that is better than none at all.
Strict social distancing at work premises must already be enforced to minimise physical interaction and keep your employees safe MOM's requirements.
Other safety precautions you must take up include providing each department with thermometers to monitor employee temperature. You want to make your employees feel as safe as possible.
Additionally, the Human Resources department may offer their hotlines and provide employees with an outlet to express themselves. However, this should only be done if the HR department is equipped and certified to do so.
2. Communicate More With Your Employees, stay connected!
Fake news, social media, and slower connectivity rates are just some of the reasons why SARS wasn’t as a fear-inducing as the Covid-19 pandemic. But don’t brush away your employee concerns regarding the Covid-19 virus. In fact, a man in India, unfortunately, took his own life after being convinced that he was infected with the Covid-19 virus.
It’s an extreme example, but understand that your employees might be dealing with similar anxieties. One way to alleviate such concerns is by communicating more about the steps the company is doing should such an outbreak occur within the office premises.
You can keep your current employees posted with official news and updates from reputable websites either through chat applications such as Google Hangouts or even through weekly newsletters.
Learn more about effective communication with your employees in this article here.
3. Listen and Understand Your Staff Concerns
You can only provide the proper solution to fix your staff concern when you know what their concerns actually are. As part of the human resources team, it is your duty to talk to individual staff members to learn about their concerns.
When employees feel like their concerns are being listened to, they bring in several benefits such as:
Quicker Work Turnover Rates: Clearing your employee’s concerns can help improve clarity as well as maintain focus to concentrate and complete the tasks on hand.
Less Distraction: People’s imagination can often run wild. The gossip and rumour mill might create unwarranted concerns with no truth behind it. This could be a cause of distraction for a number of staff members.
Illustrate a Caring Attitude: Listening and addressing your staff concerns during the Covid-19 pandemic shows your employees that you care about their health, as well as their safety.
4. Inspire and Encourage Your Staff Members
One way to inspire your staff members is by showing them that management trusts them. How can you do this? Well, here are three ways you can inspire and encourage staff members:
Activate ‘Work From Home’ Scheme: The Covid-19 pandemic has been dubbed as the largest global work from home experiment. Which is why your organization should take the opportunity to conduct the same experiment. This is the time to find out if your organization is equipped for a digital takeover.
In fact, the work from home scheme is one that kills three birds in one stone. Doing so makes your employees feel trusted, allows both HR and management to see if they’re equipped to work from home, as well as give you an option to test your Business Continuity Plan.
Image Source: Forbes
Learn more about how the steps you should take to ensure that your organization works from home smoothly here.
Educate Your Staff on Safety Precautions and Measures: Education is the key to quelling rumours and fear. Take the time to teach your staff of effective safety precautions and measures that they can take. This is a simple way to encourage staff morale and keep collective fears at bay.
Be Transparent: Sometimes, the best thing you can do is prepare for the worst and encourage the downward spiral. One way to keep morale up is by divulging the organization’s “worst-case scenario” to your employees (e.g. pay cuts, unpaid leave of absences etc).
5. Keep Things Clean - Office & at Home
Fortunately, good personal hygiene is one of the best protection against contracting the Covid-19 virus. A point stressed by Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH). One sure-fire way to improve morale is by encouraging frequent office and home cleaning sessions.
Whether it’s wiping down surfaces or limiting the number of non-employee visitors. Informing and communicating your employees about the measures that upper management is taking to limit the spread of Covid-19 is an easy way to keep morale strength up.
6. Educate Staff Members on Insurance and Medical Claims
You want to encourage staff members and employees to visit clinics and the doctors as soon as possible. To do this, it is up to both the human resources department as well as upper management to ensure that the company’s insurance claim system has been communicated effectively to all employees. Easy access to medical resources is one of your organization’s best ways to keep your employee’s spirits high.
Pro-Tip: Despite it being the start of 2020, employers should consider providing additional benefits to their employees during this Covid-19 season. Additional medical coverage will not only help the employees get through this time of need. It will also allow your employees to feel appreciated and cared for the by company, improving overall morale.
Learn more about navigating the Covid-19 season and managing "work-from-home" schemes with some of BGC Group's Covid-19 themed articles below:
BONUS: Provide Flexible Benefits to Long Term Employees
To help ease the burden of the impact of both the Covid-19 pandemic and the circuit breaker measures in Singapore. Companies are providing flexible benefits to help employees out during these trying times. These benefits might include:
Complimentary Insurance Coverage: Free corporate insurance coverage for employees to cover their hospitalization income and death benefits.
More Carry Over Leave: Depending on the company, employees are often allowed to carry over a specific amount of leave. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one way to boost employee morale is by either extending the deadline for the utilization of carryover leave. Companies such as Citibank Singapore are practicing this, to prevent employees from traveling during the pandemic.
Financial Support: Several companies overseas have started providing a small monetary bonus for full-time employees to help them out during these trying times.
Mental Health Resources: Isolation along with the current economic uncertainty can lead some employees to suffer from mental health issues (i.e. depression). Providing employees with mental health resources (i.e. a list of free counseling services). Click here for more ideas on keeping your employees’ morale and spirits high during the current circuit breaker.
What are some measures that your organization has made to improve staff morale during the Covid-19 epidemic in Singapore? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!
Read More: How to Avoid the Dreaded Job Burnout