Robert Hicks is the Group HR Director at Reward Gateway. In 2016, Robert joined the fast-moving, high-growth SaaS employee engagement technology company as part of its HR team. After moving into a leadership role, he saw an opportunity to accelerate Reward Gateway’s mission to make the world a better place to work. He has achieved this by creating a strategic HR function that would attract, engage and retain top talent, while also implementing processes and programmes that would impact business results and fuel company growth. Robert has been awarded HR Director of the Year by the HR Distinction Awards 2019.
During uncertain and unpredictable times within the workplace, HR leaders play a critical role in helping to ensure people are kept informed, and more importantly safe.
In the case of the current COVID-19 pandemic, HR professionals are having to navigate around rapid developments, misinformation, a change in where and how we work, and an uncertain economic landscape.
So, what steps can HR professionals and their organisations consider putting in place to help staff stay well-informed, connected, valued, and supported? Here are our four key take-outs to consider:
It’s pertinent that the organisation remains close and connected to its people. Employers need to be aware of employees’ health and follow relevant guidelines and policies from government and experts. The latter needs to be communicated on a regular, or daily basis.
By creating a two-way dialogue, questions can be answered that may not have been originally addressed and staff will feel more connected. The voice of leadership, particularly the CEO’s, can go a long way in delivering critical communication.
Helping employees feel valued
Employees are either working remotely and potentially feeling alone, or on the front lines making sacrifices for their organisation. In both cases, if employees are not feeling valued, their mood will be impacted, productivity will decrease, and their quality of work will decline. It’s more important than ever to deliver strategic recognition for the contributions of staff to reinforce the behaviours needed to get through this challenging time.
Supporting your people
As the Group HR Director, I was focused on making sure our people had the support they needed to work remotely and adapt to our current environment.
We launched an internal COVID-19 Info Hub through our employee engagement platform with relevant information for employees, including a way to provide feedback and ask questions. The Hub aggregated vetted information, including RSS feeds of global health information centers, the latest government advice, quicklinks to our EAP program, and our Employee Wellbeing Hub - which delivered advice on staying healthy and mindful. We have now begun to promote our employee discounts benefit to help teams save on essential items.
Speed is of the essence
Keeping employees up to date on health and safety policies, showing care and concern as well as minimising anxiety by reducing any scaremongering, needs to be actioned quickly and consistently. It’s not easy without the right tools, especially if you’re geographically-dispersed or have a large number of employees to reach. Solutions such as Slack or engagement and employee experience platforms can distribute vital information to your people.
If you are interested in more tips on how to keep your workforce connected, recognised and supported during these unprecedented circumstances, our global team at Reward Gateway ran a webinar addressing the new challenges so many HR teams are experiencing right now.
Access the webinar on-demand, alongside other resources to navigate uncertain times