With manufacturing personnel on the frontlines during the pandemic, it’s crucial for employers to communicate the company’s safety protocols to their workforce. When asked to consider the recent impact of COVID-19, a recent Gallup meta-analysis* found less than half of employees (45 percent) strongly agree that their organization cares about their overall wellbeing.
Employees are concerned not only about their own health but also about putting their loved ones in harm’s way. So, it is up to company executives to reassure them. Workers will be looking for trustworthy information on how to return to work safely. More specifically, they will expect real time details on changes in city and state shutdown levels as well as site-specific scheduling, real-time updates and reminders of re-on boarding tasks.
The lack of physical and mental wellness is a barrier to both safety and productivity. Temperature checks, distancing guidelines and other safety protocols are the foundation to a healthy work environment. But the devil is in the details.
How, when and where this information is communicated will determine a company’s success in protecting the health and wellbeing of its workforce and its core business function. Key initiatives must include:
- Ensuring completion of health requirements by giving employees easy access to health check platforms and tracking completion rates.
- Getting ahead of rumors and misinformation; especially if an employee contracts COVID-19. It’s vital to control the message, keep your workforce focused and communicate a clear action plan to protect everyone.
- Checking in with employees and measuring wellness with polls targeted to locations and departments.
- Having resources available to follow up with employees who feel unwell or are struggling.
- Creating automated reminder campaigns for those in quarantine due to close contact with COVID-19.
- Notifying employees to log into the company health check platform to update their health status.
In addition, other communication tools and efforts will be required to support those health and safety initiatives including:
- Providing a platform for employees to voice concerns as they occur such as feedback loops and real-time FAQs.
- Building task forces that empower local health and safety decision makers to send communications to employees at their location.
- Sending out site-specific guidelines.
- Tracking the reach and sentiment of communications to learn how employees are responding to key initiatives.
- Syncing communications platforms with HR’s behavior data to create distribution groups that are updated as employee data changes.
- Create manager-only groups based on seniority level or job title to provide targeted leadership guidance.
An effective workforce communication platform stems from a strong show of empathy. Companies must assure employees that it’s normal not to feel normal. Further, management can demonstrate their concern with information, reminders and alerts on topics directly related to the emotional and mental wellbeing of its employees, including:
- Childcare support.
- Employee Assistance Programs.
- Tips for disconnecting.
- The importance of vacation use.
Finally, employers can provide peace of mind regarding job security by reassuring employees about the company’s financial stability; aka their individual job security. To truly drive business success amidst a pandemic, organizations need to put frontline workers first by establishing trust through transparency and communicating empathy through a unified digital employee experience that can accommodate every worker no matter where that worker is located.