The pandemic has caused a global crisis at an unprecedented level. Between the fear of contracting the virus and anxiety over the economic repercussions of mandated shutdowns, many people are experiencing stress at a level never seen before. As employee morale suffers, so does their productivity and engagement.

Employees look to leadership for guidance and security during trying times. Leadership must take the reins when it comes to improving employee morale. Good employee morale is essential for a company’s survival during a crisis. Leadership sets the standard for how employees navigate fears about their health, anxiety over the economic downturn, reductions in the workforce, working remotely and job responsibility changes.

Following smart strategies will go a long way in bolstering employee morale.

Loosen up the Rules 

While a workplace should never become a free-for-all, relaxing a bit on some of the rules will help employees regain the mental energy they need to do their jobs well. There are ways to bend the rules without adversely affecting the professional environment. Ideas include allowing a casual dress code, expanding breaks by 10 minutes and letting employees end their workday early one day of the week.

Be Honest 

Misplaced, relentless optimism can do more harm than good when it comes to employee morale. Maintaining a positive attitude is important, but leadership should be honest when it comes to potential layoffs or other changes within the organization. Letting employees know their job may be in jeopardy gives them the chance to find another job and save any money they can to prepare.

Give Recognition 

It is tempting to focus on fixing issues and areas of trouble in order to survive during a crisis. However, overlooking employees who are contributing value to the company is a grave mistake. Nothing will drain their motivation faster. Managers should give recognition in a public setting when an employee makes an accomplishment. Doing so will not only make the employee feel good, but it will also demonstrate to their colleagues that leadership recognizes the work employees do.

Make Mental Health Resources Available 

Anxiety and depression are likely to plague people during a global crisis. These issues can deplete employee morale and take a major hit on productivity and engagement. Making mental health resources available to them will provide tips and guidance on how to cope. Business that do not offer an employee assistance program can refer staff to free online resources. There is a steadily growing list of them to help people deal the pandemic as well as challenges such as finances, caring for loved ones, working with children who are now being educated at home, and so forth.

Give Struggling Employees a Helping Hand 

During a global crisis everyone is affected to some extent. However, some people are taking it harder than others. For this reason, it is imperative for managers to closely watch employees who appear to be struggling. While managers should always behave in a professional manner, they can still speak to struggling employees privately and let them know they will try to help them in any way possible.

Employee morale should never be taken for granted during a global crisis. It is an essential driver of engagement, motivation and productivity. By following the tips outlined above, leadership can ensure that morale remains high.

Discover more inspiring ideas that boost morale and engage your people. Contact Gavel International for details.

Jim Bozzelli