29th March 2020

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Categories: Engage for Success Blog

Using the Four Enablers During These Challenging Times

Especially in challenging times, it’s always useful to have clear guidelines to fall back on as a check and balance that you’re approaching things the right way.

The four enablers of engagement have endured for a number of years now, and time and again have proved to be useful lenses that can help organisations assess the effectiveness of their approaches.

So, here’s a quick guide of how the enablers can help you to ensure you’re getting your ‘Corona-Comms’ right.

Strategic Narrative

Many employees will be concerned, and so it’s vital that senior leaders are visible and are communicating what Coronavirus means for employees and customers. Organisational objectives still need to be met, albeit in a different landscape, so there still needs to be a focus upon performance. Always remember that if there is silence, employees will fill this themselves… and that’s how unhelpful rumours start!

This means:

  • Formal all-employee announcements, detailing any changes to working practices and how challenges can be overcome
  • Less formal directorate announcements to tailor the message
  • Regular gratitude on internal social media channels for a job well done
  • Leadership blogs on how Coronavirus is affecting them – leaders are human too
  • Senior leaders should be ‘seen’ (via videos and webcasts, if necessary)

Engaging Managers

As the famous quote goes, people leave bosses not organisations, and at times of great stress the manager/employee relationship is even more important. You are what you walk past, so lead by example; if you panic, then this will spread to your teams.

This means:

  • Listening to concerns and seeking to find answers
  • In most cases there is still work to be done, and so managers must continue to provide clear objectives
  • Seek to coach and stretch your teams, face-to-face training may not be available, but there’s loads of online training
  • Feedback and praise are always important, so make time to have regular check-ins with your teams.

Employee Voice

Remember that people should not be seen as the problem, but central to finding solutions. Those actually doing the work are closer to it and usually have the best solutions.

This means:

  • Asking for input in how to solve challenges in the current environment
  • Have Q&A forums where employees can raise concerns and have them answered
  • If you can’t have face-to-face meetings, then move them online to continue to discuss challenges and seek to find solutions
  • Have peer-to-peer employee forums where issues and working conditions can be discussed, and have social support forums, parent groups and the like
  • Gather evidence of the success of any new working practices via surveys and (online) discussion groups

Integrity

Via the media, we’re seeing thousands of great examples where people are going ‘above and beyond’ to help; we’re also seeing some rather poor behaviours. At this time, it’s important to highlight a moral compass and, in organisations, this is their values.

This means:

  • Re-enforcing what your values are, and examples of how these work in practise
  • Where possible, if a leader is telling an employee to do something, they should be willing to do this themselves, so that there’s no say-do gap. (E.g. if construction sites are open, then the leader should visit, as long as it’s safe for them to do so.)
  • Leaders must role-model good behaviours and continue to set expectations; be consistent with your messaging and how you interact with your teams.

We hope this is useful. More about the enablers can be found here.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash