7 Ways to Support Employees During Times of Crisis

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One Deloitte survey  found that 64% of surveyed employees said that the information and communication from their employers during any crisis would affect whether or not they would want to go to work.

There has been no shortage of crises in the past few years, from the COVID-19 pandemic to protests, rising inflation, changes in the job market, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. With all of these global issues, many employees are finding it hard to work and get through the day. 

In fact, 75%  of employees said that the COVID-19 pandemic and other world events have caused them to struggle at work. As an employer, you’ll need to find ways to support your employees and help them manage these crises. 

Keep reading to discover seven ways to support your employees during these difficult times.

1. Show Understanding

While running a business, showing that you understand your employees are dealing with difficult times can go a long way in improving retention rates. Plus, if you show your employees that you’re empathetic and understanding, they may feel more support and be happier in the workplace.

When your employees are dealing with anxiety and fear over the future or state of world affairs, it can help to talk about those things. Show that you understand if they don’t have as much time for tasks and try to delegate where possible. 

Take this time not to overwork your employees and only give them what they can manage. If someone has to call out for a mental health day, be accommodating and understanding. If their work is too overwhelming right now, give them space to figure out a good work-life balance.

If an employee is doing great work through this time, make sure that you appreciate it. This affirmation might make employees feel validated during a challenging time, and it could make a bad day a little bit better.

2. Let Employees Take a Break From the News

There’s a fine line between ensuring that employees are kept up-to-date with the latest news and flooding them with news and information to the point where it’s overwhelming. Be aware of how constantly sharing news and updates might affect employees

Employees can talk about the news, but if you find that the news is crowding public Slack or Teams channels, you might want to make a private channel for employees interested in the topic. 

Your employees are likely already consuming a lot of information and news in their personal lives. Some people choose not to watch the news because of how upsetting or anxiety-provoking it could be. 

In Ukraine, people can get unlimited access to real-time updates, including sensitive photos and video footage. This can be upsetting to some employees, so you should make sure that if employees are sharing it, they do it in a private space. Since the information is so immediate, it can affect people immediately, even during the middle of a workday. 

However, some people enjoy going to work and like the structure. Some employees want their work to be the one normal and structured thing in their life to focus on amidst all of the chaos. If you have employees like that, you might want to try limiting the amount of talk about global events so that you don’t interrupt their workflow. 

3. Help Employees Navigate Negative Emotions

You’ll also want to make sure that you help employees navigate negative emotions during these events. Many employees might be feeling emotions like anger, fear, anxiety, or dread. 

Some employees might not know where to go for support, and they’ll turn to their coworkers or managers. However, some managers might not know how to handle these negative emotions. If you’re working in a completely remote environment, this can be even more difficult. 

However, HR leaders in your company should talk to managers and walk them through how to handle these employees’ emotions. Managers should have open discussions with their employees and validate their feelings and concerns.

Your HR team may even want to educate managers or your staff about the emotional stages that people go through when experiencing a change. When you show that you can understand your employee’s feelings, they’re more likely to feel that support. 

4. Check In With Employees

Sometimes an employee may not check in with a coworker or manager, so managers should take time to check in on their employees. This strategy will show that you care about your employees’ well-being and give you a chance to address their individual needs.

This can be as simple as asking how they’re dealing with everything that is going on in a one-on-one meeting. The employee might be surprised by this question but find it helpful to have a space to talk about their feelings rather than deal with them independently. 

When employees have a space to talk about their feelings, they’re more likely to get it out of their minds and focus later after they talk about it. 

As a manager, you might want to try and fix the problem or find a solution to your employee’s struggles. However, your employee likely wants someone to listen to them and validate their concerns. If you’re going to do something to fix their problem, do that by listening to them.

While this might only take a few minutes, it could make a difference in your employee’s life. It will also help you take an active role in your employee’s personal and professional growth.

If you want to do something more formal, you could send out an anonymous survey to your employees. This way, you can get a good idea of how your organization is doing overall.

5. Have Open Discussions

If you want to strengthen the company culture, you should have open discussions about any real-world issue. These issues can sometimes affect employee health. You can promote positive health outcomes by discussing these topics. 

However, if you’re going to have these discussions, you’ll need to set some ground rules for some civil discourse. You’ll need to ensure that no employees are harassed or discriminated against during this discussion. 

For example, if you’re holding a forum to talk about the Russia and Ukraine situation, make sure that there is no discrimination or hate speech toward any Russian or Ukrainian people. When talking about these subjects, people can tend to get frustrated or angry, and sometimes the speech can cross a line, but that will defeat the entire purpose of having a good discussion. 

You should also make sure that everyone who talks is treated with respect. Some employees might have different views on a subject, and no employee should be told they’re wrong. 

If you have a lot of employees, it might be challenging to do this with everyone. Instead, managers recommend talking to their teams or department and having a smaller open discussion. 

Some managers might not feel like they have the experience to manage a group like this. Thankfully, employee resource groups and other networks can lead these difficult conversations and support managers and employees. 

6. Let Employees Have a Say in Decisions

In times of uncertainty, it helps to make employees feel like they have a voice in your business. When employees feel like you’ll recognize their unique contributions, it makes them feel like they have some control. You’ll be surprised how much this could make a difference. 

You might want to hold an open forum to ask employees what they think they should do. For example, your employees might decide to host a fundraiser for Ukraine. Or they might want to have a say in COVID-19 policies that will keep them safe. 

Even such a small thing can make a big difference for your employees. 

7. Offer Supportive Resources

While having internal check-ins can be helpful, you might find that employees need additional outside resources. You should have mental health benefits through your company so that employees can talk to someone if they feel like they need to. 

You should also have an employee assistance program (EAP). This provider will offer resources and unique tools to help each employee on a case-by-case basis. 

The EAP may also offer additional resources or education on coping with stressful news. You could even send out a weekly newsletter with tips on how to manage, how to talk with your children about the war, or how to have a good balance between staying informed and over-consuming news.

Discover More Ways to Support Employees

These are only a few ways to support employees during a global crisis, but there are many other ways you can do this as well. 

Regardless of which strategy you use, ensure that you don’t forget about your HR team. This can be a very stressful time for them, whether it’s hiring new employees, addressing retention rates, or updating policies. 

To support them, you might want to hire on-demand help, give them new tools, or provide them with new resources. Recruiter.com  can help with that, so contact us today.


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By Alyssa Harmon