There is no second thought on the fact that life and livelihood, both have been disrupted in a major way. The need of an hour is to have open and inclusive decision-making process in all spheres. Employee safety and emotional wellness are key to building an admired and respected organization.
Building an effective employer-brand is a multi-dimensional thing and there are many aspects of the journey. First, an organization need to visualize the purpose of the same. Getting top management buy-in followed by alignment of all stakeholders is a good starting point of the journey. Another important ingredient is communication – first of intent and then of the action, to both, existing as well as prospective employees. Thereafter, it is all about staying on course and keeping the employee-quotient central to building all people policies and practices. This clarity is the key!
To build an employee-first brand, here are some of the strategies to consider.
Executives set the tone!
Employees at all levels depend on leaders to set the tone of how communication gets delivered in any organization. Hence the department heads/CxOs need to prioritize on optimizing their connect with employees. Both, too much and too little are sub-optimal. Facilitating/hosting a meeting with employees for the purpose of conversations and discussions and not merely instructions and directions is essential.
Regardless of the uncertainty, turmoil and difficulties, employers need to prioritize emotional support for employees and assurance that fairness in decisions concerning job security, pay cuts, if any, or role re-organization. Compassion and care are the keys here.
Often leaders do not want to be seen as vulnerable. However, in difficult situations, people tend to get motivated by leaders stepping up, being courageous, and also being real. Organizations need to provide platforms and opportunities for executives and leaders to be authentic, show vulnerability, and be transparent about the current situation and the path ahead.
Be the trusted voice!
When communicating with people, keep the discussion flow purposeful and consistent. It helps to share insights on the current situation, the impact it may have on the business, and what that may mean for the employees. By addressing the changes and the forthcoming steps in a straightforward manner along with a ‘together as one” message shall go a long way in building trust and long-term loyalty of the employees.
Virtual office culture!
Virtual coffee meetings, happy hours, sharing family photos, dumb charades, karaoke sessions, etc. are a few online activities that supplement the engagement initiatives and establish healthy team connections. Take emotional well-being and fun seriously!
Redefine team expectations!
These are times to reinforce or redefine team culture, values, and behaviors. The new normal or the ways of working are a meaningful conversation to have. Supporting each other through observation and demonstration helps build team commitment and camaraderie. A session on values – their meanings and manifestations, impact on the workplace in order to build a common understanding is a good way to build a high-impact team. Ensure alignment of all actions with the business strategy keeps the teams aligned to a higher purpose. What’s your calling?
Prioritizing mental health and Water cooler chats
Amidst uncertainty and chaos, connection with peers, co-workers, and managers has taken center stage. Meaningful contact with colleagues, through meetings or one-one check-ins, provides a platform to take the conversation beyond work. Managers checking regularly with teams about their overall well-being, how the current environment is supporting/hindering the fulfillment of their roles and responsibilities are crucial conversations. By doing these regularly, managers may be able to sense opportunities for additional support, the true role of any strong manager. Organizations may also avail the services of professional agencies for employee assistance programs, mental health apps, and mindfulness training sessions for their staff. Holistic is the operating word!
Follow these tips and check out additional resources to help you develop a positive workplace culture and eventually build an employee-centric brand. It is important, now more than ever, to become an employee first, and there is enough evidence to back that!
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