Posted September 29, 2020
Businesses have faced unprecedented experiences during the pandemic. Employers had to develop solutions on the fly to help employees figure out how to deal with work and life changes. Recently, Employee Benefit News magazine talked with April Rimpley, senior vice president of human resources at Ameritas, about the challenges of the pandemic. Here are four key points from the discussion about change management during the pandemic, and how to maintain employee well-being.
Adjust to change
During the COVID-19 pandemic, life and work intersected. Overnight, people found themselves working from home. Initially, most employers thought this would be a short-term work solution. But within weeks, businesses realized that remote work arrangements could continue for months.
Employers have to think long term about how changes impact employee well-being and business operations. This includes the uncertainty and stress employees feel because of the pandemic. And it means different things for different types of businesses. For example, retail stores that employ essential workers focus on evolving safety practices for employees and customers. In contrast, corporations with office workers prioritize creating plans for remote workers and deciding what to do with empty office space.
Many employees who are now working from home also have kids doing school from home. Add the responsibility of overseeing at-home school schedules and technology to the general stress of the pandemic and anxiety begins to increase.
Employers can help ease stress and enhance well-being by allowing employees to have more flexible work schedules. Other helpful resources include coverage for telehealth visits and employee assistance programs. It helps to let employees know there is no shame in seeking help for the added anxiety they feel during this stressful time.
Focus on benefits
Another lesson learned in managing change during the pandemic is the importance of employee benefits. Employee benefits help provide security and ease workers through difficult situations. They also keep workers engaged in their jobs. Employers should make sure they offer various quality benefit options to address a range of employee needs.
A wide array of benefits, balanced with affordability and quality, helps employees feel more in control when so many things in their lives are out of control. Simple and expected benefits, like retirement, health, dental and vision benefits, can go a long way in securing financial well-being.
Employers quickly discovered that effective change management during the pandemic required quick responses to evolving situations. Communications with employees should be less scripted and more frequent.
Regular team meetings are necessary to keep everyone connected. Avoid communication fatigue by keeping team meetings short, relevant and interesting. Also, conduct pulse surveys with employees. Ask what’s working and what they need to do their jobs. Then find resources to help meet workers’ needs.
Learn more ideas for how to manage change and maintain employee well-being during the pandemic by listening to this podcast discussion.