How to engage employees with empathy around COVID-19

Every organization must be ready to demonstrate how it is taking care of its workers during this crisis. Here are some ways to ensure your reputation remains untarnished.

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This is a defining moment for brands.

Over the past several weeks, we’ve seen a range of actions from employers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have stepped up with liberal PTO policies, limited work hours, teleworking flexibility and employee relief funds. We’ve also seen a surge in hiring among retailers seeking to meet consumers’ pharmaceutical, food and online shopping needs.

Our counsel to companies during this crisis has been to focus first and foremost on employees. Not only will it help build morale now, but it will impact corporate reputation in the long-term.

We’ve been collecting insights from clients across industries on what’s working, and here are a few takeaways:

1. Lead with compassion and empathy. This crisis has flipped millions of lives upside down. Employee communications must be empathetic and must consider the unique circumstances and needs of the employee. Everyone will experience this crisis differently depending on familial status, resources, and personal health and support system. Companies should keep their tone in mind when communicating with employees and put structures in place for employees to voice concerns and request support.

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