Understanding Employee Needs During COVID-19

#LetsContinYU Series

By Brittany Shapovalov

Are Employees Really Ready to Return to the Workplace?

As Canadian provinces plan phased re-opening strategies and companies respond by making return-to-work plans, they may not be considering if employees feel ready to return to the workplace.

“It isn’t just as simple as employees getting back to the workplace,” said Rob Catalano, Certificate in People Analytics Advisory Council Member, York University School of Continuing Studies. “Do they feel comfortable getting into crowds again or having to take public transit?”

More importantly, with so many businesses and services still closed, some employees may not have access to essential resources that will allow them to return to work, such as childcare.

What do Employers need to understand before making Back-to-Work plans?

Companies need to get ahead of these issues by understanding what returning to the workplace means for employees and their sentiment about it.

There is also a lot to understand about returning to work in terms of all the services and challenges that come with it.

Employers need to find out what the specific issues are for their employees before making any real policy decisions or changes in terms of get-back-to-work scenarios.

“With uncertainty around the external environment, about their organizations, themselves and their job roles, it is more important than ever to understand the voice of employees,” said Rob Catalano.

Rob’s company, Work Tango, has created an excellent survey template that employers can use to gauge their employees’ thoughts and sentiments about returning to work.

For more information on how People Analytics solutions are critical for employers to formulate effective responses to the pandemic, read these articles from HRZone and Forbes.

Using Zoom to help with mental health

Social distancing and working remotely in a digital environment affects each employee differently. During this time, it’s important for employers to understand how their employees are feeling. One way employers can understand staff sentiment in an anonymous way is through Zoom. Video call technology offers ways for employees to communicate to leaders and management how they are feeling in a non-verbal manner.

 

Keeping employees engaged in COVID-19

Amid this crisis, the topic of wellness is on many people’s minds. For employers, there are a few things they can do to promote wellness in the remote workplace and keep their employees engaged. One way is to continue established workplace rituals in the virtual environment. Whether this be daily meetings or weekly townhalls, maintaining these practices is important and preserves the connection between employer and employee. Leaders should also make a point of reaching out to individuals, talk to them and empathize with them in and their situation.

Rob Catalano

Rob is a Program Advisory Council member for the York University School of Continuing Studies new Certificate in People Analytics. With his experience in HR Technology as a founding employee at Achievers, Rob co-founded WorkTango – software that helps give employees a voice and companies actionable insight.

He has recently been named as a 2018 Top Global Employee Engagement Influencer, has had the privilege of speaking in over 30 cities the past three years.

This September, The School of Continuing Studies will launch Canada’s first Certificate in People Analytics. If you’re a Human Resources professional looking to upskill in this in-demand field, you can learn more about this innovative new program here.