“Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope.
And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.”
What do you see when you look out at your team, stacked Brady-Bunch style during a web conference? Are they energized and ready to take on the day? Or do their voices seem a little meeker than usual? Do they look hopeful or defeated?
This is what many leaders are asking themselves as they work to keep spirits high during the uncertainty that the coronavirus brought with it. As a leader, how do you inspire your team and remind them that everyone is in this together, even when things still feel a little uncertain to you? Below we share the three ways TriCom is working to keep our office morale strong during the coronavirus crisis:
Remember That Your People Come First
It’s an uncertain time for everyone right now. While businesses work to strategize ways to navigate the effects of the coronavirus, their employees are too. Now isn’t the time to adopt rigid policies in an effort to maintain control – it’s the time to be flexible. Your people must be your priority. This means embracing a work-from-home workplace, trusting that your employees will continue to work hard, and even encouraging time off to tend to their personal life. Your people need to feel comfortable bringing their challenges to you and confident that you’ll support them – an open-door policy is essential.
Keep in mind: Just because employees aren’t coming to you with challenges or concerns doesn’t mean they don’t have any. In fact, one study showed that 70% of employees were disengaged in the workplace and didn’t feel comfortable approaching leadership with their concerns. Regularly encourage your team to reach out to you for anything, and make a point to take initiative and reach out to them first if you haven’t heard anything.
Be Transparent and Optimistic
Although putting people first is essential, it doesn’t always mean that a business can avoid the impossible but sometimes critical business decision to furlough members of the team. Leaders have a responsibility towards the greater good of the company to ensure that it’s positioned to sustain revenue through times of crisis. Sometimes, the hardest decisions are the most necessary ones. This is an uncomfortable reality many leaders have had to face these past weeks.
When employees see high-performing members of their team let go, they can’t help but wonder who will be next. While it can be extra tricky to keep morale high during situations like this, it will be a lot easier if your employees can trust the decisions that you make. The first step to gaining this trust is by being as transparent as possible.
Treat all of your employees like they are stakeholders in your business (because they are) and keep them in the loop on 1) the real challenges your organization is facing, 2) what might happen, and 3) your plans for overcoming them. Frequent and candid communications to your team that address these three points will get your people motivated to overcome obstacles as one unstoppable force. Which brings us to our next point…
Keep the Energy High
Right now, working remotely, team meetings are probably more quiet than usual and everything probably feels pretty somber. It’s on management to remind their employees that there is still a lot to be excited about and to keep energy levels high. And while it requires a little out of the box thinking, there are a number of ways you can do this even when people are separated by computer screens. Designate few people, a committee, or a department to spearhead virtual team-building activities and make it mandatory for leadership to attend.
Here are a few of our favorite ideas:
- Team member trivia. Ask everyone to submit three fun facts about themselves and then go around the virtual room guessing what facts belong to who. Depending on the size of your business, you might want to split into teams.
- Virtual Netflix party. There is a neat plug-in that enables a group of people to watch the same Netflix movie at the same time while IMing about it in real-time. Have everyone grab a beverage and this is a fun alternative to happy hour!
- An hour just to chat. Dedicate an hour one Friday to just virtually hang out as a team – start off the session asking how people are feeling and encouraging discussion. You’ll be surprised how fast your team will open up once the conversation starts flowing.
Lead by Example
At the end of the day, the best thing leaders can do to keep office morale strong during the coronavirus crisis is to be the best version of themselves. A visible leader who is out in the “trenches” helping every member of the team, putting in exceptional work, and who is always available to openly discuss strategies for success is key to coming out of this on top as one united team.
As a leading provider of IT talent solutions to businesses across the Midwest, we have a knack for people. If you’d like to discuss your talent strategies and other ways to keep morale high, just send us a message. And if you ever need top tech talent, now, or in the future, we’re always a phone call away.