We asked 10,000 people how their business responded to the crisis in the past 2 months. This is what we learned.
When the COVID-19 crisis hit, businesses had no choice but to strictly manage their finances and adapt with new strategies. Everyone had to get this right, but according to our data it’s not what made the biggest difference.
When employees said their company responded well, the difference was in how people and teams were managed
We asked 10,000 people how their organisation responded to the COVID-19 crisis. They rated them in 4 areas.
We also asked them to tell us, in their own words, what more could have been done. We then used our language processing technology to analyse what they told us.
86%-96% felt their company kept them informed, visible, cared for and enabled to work. Great news, and surprisingly high. Our immediate theory was that those companies who went to the effort to listen to their people, are also likely to be handling the crisis best.
Policies and procedures
97% of companies we surveyed were quick to put policies and procedures in place and communicate these to employees. 94% of companies took practical steps immediately to enable their employees to work remotely.
Enablement to work from home
Even where people said that the company didn’t have the best ‘set-up’ for technology for them to work from home, nevertheless, the crisis had pushed them to set up effective ways to keep in touch with their teams and peers. 95% of employees agreed that their team was collaborating well despite the crisis.
It seems most businesses reacted quickly to keep everyone connected and able to do their jobs. Top-down communication was crucial.
Making sure employees felt cared for
Our data revealed that ‘care’ has consistently been the lowest rated element among the organisations we surveyed. Arguably this is because it is also the hardest to do.
It’s relatively easy to put policies in place and send a company announcement. It’s harder to manage people individually and account for everything they’re feeling right now.
According to the World Health Organisation, as many as 1 in 4 people will suffer with some kind of mental illness at work but that only 1 in 16 feel comfortable talking to their manager about it (and this was before we were hit with a global pandemic).
Empathy of managers
Our data suggests that the hardest thing for companies has been getting one-on-one human connection between people managers and their people right.
Wellbeing policies are necessary, and important, but are undermined if a manager can’t show empathy to individual needs and connect on a human level.
This crisis has caused anxiety on all fronts. There’s the stress of the virus itself, combined with lots of change, school closures, financial worries, caring for family members… even getting the shopping has been difficult. Emotions are charged.
What is next?
Lastly, employees were wanting more ongoing support for their Well-being as people transition to the next phase of the crisis. As mentioned, line manager ability to connect one-on-one will be key here.