How empathy and sensitivity will help businesses and employees tide over coronavirus

Organisations and employees are trying to adjust to the new normal: work from home. Try these five ways to keep your staff motivated amid the coronavirus lockdown.

25th Apr 2020
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The COVID-19 pandemic has businesses and individuals across the world by surprise. And as most of us convert areas of our home into make-shift work stations, we are all trying to adjust to this interim normal. The sudden change brings with it feelings of anxiety, anxiousness, uncertainty, and overall emotional vulnerability.


As organisations struggle to maintain a balance between keeping their order books healthy and ensure the safety of their teams and customers, they must also address issues pertaining to their overall well being.


After all, anxious and demotivated teams that are insecure and worried about their jobs might underperform, introduce errors, and slacken the pace of work, which in turn, will directly impact business productivity. Companies need to reiterate to their employees that they will tide over this time, together.


Here are some ways that organisations can keep employees motivated amid the coronavirus crisis:

1. Keep communication open

The ability to communicate, especially at these times, is an important tool in pursuit of overall business goals. HR teams and managers must ensure constant communication – both formal and informal - to keep the two-way communication flow going. Our communication has ranged from emails, video calls, virtual town halls, strictly non-work coffee calls, surveys, and so much more. Our endeavour is to ensure we are continuously speaking with our people and hearing their voices, too.

2. Empathy and compassion will result in loyalty

Empathy is about being genuinely concerned about your people, rather than only their output. Listen to their stories, understand their struggles, someone’s got to take care of a baby while doing calls, someone’s old parents are unwell, someone’s dog won’t stop barking…understand that they are juggling more than they are used to, and empathise. Finally, it is these acts of kindness which help you tide over trying times. When the dust has settled, organisations that follow this will have stronger and loyal teams.

3. Recognise team efforts more frequently and publicly

Working in the isolation of your home for long periods can be tougher than one expects. The need for recognition and belonging peaks, and it is at these times that we encourage managers to recognise and appreciate achievements, publicly. This helps build morale and motivation, driving improved performance and outcomes.

4. Introduce e-learning and fun activities

The time couldn’t be better to upgrade and upskill. We have introduced a slew of e-learning programmes, which come in handy during every day work, for our people. We also have virtual learning groups with CEOs and thought leaders, from within the company and externally, to help employees get a perspective on various topics of interest. To ensure there is also some fun in the learning, we have introduced music lessons online, where employees can enroll to learn, say a musical instrument like the guitar.




5. Set short term goals and encourage them to achieve them

The times are uncertain, and there is a requirement to put into place short-term goals. For example, addressing client concerns, upskilling skill sets, updating backend systems.


Use these times wisely to set short-term goals, review them regularly, and work hard to achieve them. Also commend teams on achieving them and set them up as a shining example for others to follow. Explain to employees how these initiatives will help them in the long run.


Corporates are doing all it takes to keep their employees motivated, productive, and encouraged. Together, we will tide over these times, with a dash of extra empathy and sensitivity.

(Edited by Teja Lele)

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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