COVID-19: 5 Reasons We Need to Tune in to Our Employees Even More Right Now

ED FRAUENHEIM & MARCUS ERB

Author

While COVID-19 forces us to be socially distant, it’s crucial to be emotionally close. People are social creatures. Organizations are social institutions.

Our research shows the best and most successful ones have the highest levels of connection, trust, caring, and emotional safety.

COVID-19 is challenging us like never before. The solution: focusing even more on the things we know are better for people, better for business, and better for the world.

This isn’t easy, especially when teams are being thrust into remote work for the first time. Many are questioning the stability and survival of their own companies and jobs. Others are juggling unexpected childcare needs while figuring out how to navigate the latest developments.

Through all of this, getting back to basics is what will get us through it together.

One of the most impactful basics is listening. Whether it’s through simple informal approaches or formal ones like pulse surveys, staying in touch with what employees are experiencing is critical.

Here are five reasons to listen to employees now:

1. Show you care

Anytime you ask someone how they are, it tells them you care.

When you ask during these times, you tell them you really care. It shows their experiences are a priority, even as leaders face complicated, fast-moving priorities and decisions.

By asking people how they are, you signal their experiences and concerns are a key priority during times when it’s easy to feel forgotten or unseen. As we shared in earlier research, that sense of care is a strong predictor of your company’s health.

2. Build community

For leaders and employees alike, these times create high pressure and isolation.

This is particularly true for often-marginalized groups, who already experience exclusion and inequality more than other employees. Crises like this are times when things can get worse, as we found in our research on restructurings.

The act of listening to all of your employees builds connections. It tells everyone, “you’re not alone.”

Creating opportunities for all to experience community is a powerful way to ensure employees experience togetherness. Do whatever you can to avoid sliding back to biases and silos that separate teams.

3. Create safety

Psychological safety is hard to come by these days. Uncertainty about job futures, finances and childcare are burning out employees from all industries.

Asking about people’s experiences won’t solve it all, but listening is a key first step to offering some solace amidst the turbulence. It beats back the isolation, stress and fear that social distancing and economic uncertainty create.

4. Give hope

When things are out of control, even a little control – like getting a say about how things are done – can bring hope.

Ask your team to give input and provide ideas during this crisis. It shifts people’s mindsets. It gives them feel a sense of agency that brings hope things will turn around.

5. Increase intelligence

We’re all flying a little blind through these times. Events are changing so rapidly it’s hard to predict what the next hour will bring, let along the next quarter.

As we share in our most recent research, your employees can help you see further down the road. Their input and experiences can help you better prepare your company for the threats and opportunities you haven’t recognized yet.

Your teams can grow closer even while apart

Listening now is vital for resilience. It’s a way to be good to each other, care for your people and world, and strengthen your business. It turns these tumultuous moments into opportunities to make your organization tighter than ever.

Even though you and your colleagues are physically separate from each other, this moment can slingshot you into togetherness. It’s a paradox – there can be great closeness within social distance.

ED FRAUENHEIM & MARCUS ERB

Author

Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces™ in Asia by surveying over 1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting over 4.7 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2021 or early 2022.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces in Asia™ by surveying 2.1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting 5.9 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Bahrain, Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2022 or early 2023.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000+) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

For All™ Methodology

Great Place To Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Philippines Best Workplaces™ 2023 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of over 450,000 employees across the Philippines.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyze these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce makeup, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organization to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news, and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

For All™ Methodology

Great Place to Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Philippines Best Workplaces™ 2022 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of over 130,000 employees across the Philippines.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyze these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce makeup, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organization to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news, and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

Categories:
These organizations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

  • Small 10-99 Employees

For larger organizations with more than 100 employees, we also use our Culture Audit™ tool, asking organizations to share with us their practices, policies, and programs to create a great workplace For All™ and evaluate the approach they take.

  • Medium 100-999 Employees
  • Large 1000+ Employees

Why do you say in one place your national list scoring is based on 85%/15% and in another place that it is 75%/25%?

We are explaining two different things:
1.  The criteria we evaluate

  •  85% concerned with Trust and Maximizing Human Potential and
  • 15% concerned with everything else

2.  Where the data comes from

  • 100% Trust Index for organizations with less than 100 employees
  • 75% based on the Trust Index survey analytics and 25% based on responses to the Culture Audit for organizations with more than 100 employees.
For All™ Methodology

Great Place To Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Philippines Best Workplaces™ 2023 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of over 450,000 employees across the Philippines.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyze these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce makeup, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organization to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news, and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

Categories:
These organizations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

  • Small 10-99 Employees

For larger organizations with more than 100 employees, we also use our Culture Audit™ tool, asking organizations to share with us their practices, policies, and programs to create a great workplace For All™ and evaluate the approach they take.

  • Medium 100-999 Employees
  • Large 1000+ Employees