The statements:

  • Our organization is being transparent about the impact of this situation on the business.
  • I believe our organization will be negatively impacted by this situation. 

If most employees answered agree for the second statement:

They are expressing uncertainty about the impact of this situation on the organization and the people who work there. Look at their responses to the first statement. Communication and transparency from the organization and leaders like yourself are vital during this time. If employees agree that they are receiving this, that helps to provide clarity for them to better assess the situation. 

If most employees disagreed with the second statement:

They seem to be optimistic about the organization's future in light of the COVID-19 situation. Make sure to look at their responses to the first statement. We encourage organizations and leaders like yourself to be as transparent as possible and communicate frequently with employees about the situation. If most employees agreed that the organization is being transparent, they can assess the situation and have clarity on how they perceive the future impact. Continue to communicate as you are able about the impact as it relates to the business. 

Related Resources We've Found Helpful

This is a strange and fluid time, and most employees know it. Frequent and honest communication extends to the area of business impact, even if there is difficult news to discuss. Experts recommend DAILY short communications and certainly weekly from the highest level of the org.

Cost savings. Many companies are pulling back discretionary spending and doing things like temporarily freezing new hires or raises. They are finding recurring expenses that they can temporarily stop. Get ahead of this for your team and also actively manage up about it. Many managers are even involving their teams to generate expense-saving ideas. This may allow you to keep jobs or extend runway which can lead to gratitude amongst employees.

Sick leave. You yourself probably have some questions here. Know that your team might be nervous about job security related to getting sick, but this isn't a time to pinch pennies. Think about humanity over policy. If there are less than 500 employees in your business, you may well be getting some government help from the Families First Act (FAQ for employers or here for employees). If you are in the manufacturing world, of course you can't just send everybody to work from home. But you may well need to work with HR to relax traditionally punitive attendance and leave policies (more examples here).

House cleaning and innovation. This can be a time to activate your employees on business processes that should have been changed or eliminated long ago. Work can and should become easier. This "black swan" event is causing business to offer products and services in different ways...even if it means giving it away for a time. Customers will remember later, and helping in the meantime is a key way to find meaning for employees. Don't be afraid to engage your team on this topic!

Furloughs or layoffs? Certain industries like hospitality, airlines, and retail have been instantly affected financially by the COVID crisis. As time goes on, other businesses will be at increased financial risk. If your team and business are in this difficult position, here are some definitions, FAQs, and considerations including how to treat employees if your business needs to make some tough decisions.

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