Thinking Employees First

The switch from thinking customers first, to employees first.

There is no doubt the world is a very different place now with the current pandemic. Everything about how we conduct our business has changed. All of our well established and familiar processes have gone out the window and have been replaced with a new strange reality. The new normal just doesn’t come naturally to us, and everyone is yearning for the day that it can all go back to the way it was.

Customers are, of course, essential to every business, and the majority of companies have always put their needs first. However, if this pandemic has created one positive, it’s the mindset switch to putting employees first, above all else.

Let’s hope this switch is one thing that will live beyond the new normal. As the famous saying goes, ‘If you look after your employees, they’ll look after your customers’.

As the world slowly wakes from its forced hibernation, businesses face all sorts of new challenges and coping with that requires a great team that is engaged, productive, working in sync – but most importantly, safe!

Employee Health and Safety is the number one priority. As an employer, you also need to get close to your team and build their trust. You’re totally dependent on them. You need to understand their feelings, their perceived obstacles and show that you care.

Your team are understandably going to be nervous, and it’s up to you the employer to put them at ease. It’s essential to build a team of warriors, not worriers!!

Here are six quick steps to help with that.

1. Communicate to the power of ten

Communication is key. It’s essential to keep in close contact with your team with regular, meaningful company updates – whether they’re working from home or back in the business. Remember to pull your team together to inform them of all of the operational changes, and to build trust. Remind them that their health and safety is your primary concern. Let them know they can stop a task at any time if they feel it’s unsafe.

2. Training 

No doubt, there are many new operational changes to how you conduct your business. Don’t let it be said that ‘nobody ever showed me how to do that’. Remember, training not only improves productivity but builds trust and confidence too. Now more than ever, training is paramount!

3. Listen, and get their input – regularly 

The quickest and easiest way is at the end of every day. Ask your team how they feel and what could be done differently the next day. But for more detailed and honest feedback, use a short anonymous survey focusing on the operations of the business, as well as their emotional engagement and trust for the company.

4. Make changes quickly 

When your team take the time to give you feedback, take it and act quickly if appropriate. Your team are in the best position to spot any potential risks to both your team and your customers.

5. Lead by example  

We’ve all heard too many stories of managers training their team on the new safety measures, and then turning around and not sticking to it themselves. Not only does it send the wrong message to the team that may copy their behaviour, but it’s downright dangerous for all employees and customers alike. Lead by example and do it right.

6. Communicate some more 

Just when you think you’ve communicated enough, it’s time to go again. But remember, communication is a two-way street, so make sure you listen too. Give your team regular feedback and most importantly of all, remember to show your appreciation

It’s an extraordinary situation we’re all in, and nobody has all the answers. After all, we’ve never been through anything like this before. But following the steps above will undoubtedly keep your team onside and help you spot any risks before they occur. 

Eventually, over time, things will go back to normal. But let’s hope the switch to ‘thinking employees first’ will stay!

For a limited time, we in Workbly are offering all companies a free employee survey, specially designed with the current pandemic in mind. You can avail of the survey here.

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