Put Yourself In Your Employees’ Shoes
While traditional benefits, such as healthcare and paid time-off, are obviously still sought after in the workplace, employees these days are searching for more. Employees want honesty; they want to look to their supervisors for confidence, leadership, and transparency. And now, that’s more important than ever.
With COVID-19 shutting down businesses across a multitude of industries, many companies are feeling the uncertainty when it comes to their financial future, particularly when it comes to their staff. Many workers have already lost their jobs. Many more are temporarily laid off, unsure if their position will still be there when businesses reopen.
For millions of Americans who are still employed, the question remains: “for how long?”
That is an incredibly unsettling position to be in. While none of us have the answers for when business will pick up, or what that will even look like, we can offer something to our employees: honesty. We can give our employees the respect of workplace transparency.
What Is Workplace Transparency?
Workplace transparency has not always been a popular policy. For many employers, being transparent with their employees about things such as the company’s financial outlook and their future might be difficult to share or discuss.
But what workplace transparency really does is give employees confidence in the company’s leadership. Establishing transparency right from the start tells your employees that they are essential and that you respect them as capable, smart individuals.
Workplace transparency can come in many forms. Maybe it’s teammates giving open feedback to one another in a safe, healthy space. Perhaps it’s executives communicating with entry-level employees and sharing information in a way that helps them better understand the company and their position within it.
With transparency on the table, employees feel more confident to bring in new ideas. Employee retention is better because your staff feels heard and important. Workplace relationships are improved when everyone feels respected.
What Does Workplace Transparency Look Like in the Time of Coronavirus?
Right now, workplace transparency means being open and honest with our employees about their job status. There is so much we don’t know. For many business owners, that means that they don’t know if they’re going to be able to reopen with the same, full staff. They don’t know how many hours are going to be available or if positions will have to be eliminated.
Allow yourself to be honest with your employees about what you don’t know. Explain how the pandemic is affecting the company and the overall industry. Keep channels of communication open, even if people are temporarily laid off or working from home.
If you do know that some employees are not going to be able to come back to work, let them know. As difficult as it is, your employees deserve transparency. They deserve the opportunity to see what’s coming for them. Give them the time to rework their resumes, file for unemployment, and apply for new opportunities in industries that might have more room for them.
It’s not an easy time to be a manager or an employee. Some of us can’t offer our employees the same opportunities that we could three months ago, and that is just the reality of the times. We can offer honesty and transparency, however, and that goes a long way.