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Employee Engagement in a Crisis: Keeping Your Team Productive

In just a few months, millions of people around the world have contracted a highly infectious and deadly disease known as COVID-19. It has forced entire cities and nations into lockdown to prevent the further spread of the virus, which emerged in China in late 2019.

However, life goes on. An ordinary person has to pay their mortgage loan, utility bill, credit card bill, buy food and medicine, etc. Stress is at an all-time high.

During this global crisis, how can you maintain employee engagement?

What is Employee Engagement?

But, first, what is employee engagement? The term often confused with employee happiness, but the two are not always connected. When an employee is happy, it does not mean that they are engaged with their work.

Employee engagement has to do with working hard and being productive. During a challenging period, like a pandemic, it is hard to keep employees engaged. There’s a stress that comes from the fear of uncertainty. Your employees are also forced to work from home for the rest of the year or until the virus has been contained whenever that may happen. Particular challenges prevent employees from being the best that they can be. There are tons of distractions at home. Some people also do not do well in a remote setting.

Increased Transparency

A lot of the stress that your employees feel comes from concern over job security. The United States has entered a recession that experts say is far worse than the Great Depression. Many Americans have already been laid off. More are expected to lose their source of income.

To combat uncertainty, you and the company need to be honest. Keeping people informed would make them feel more at ease. No one is guessing whether they will lose their job tomorrow and, therefore, can focus on the tasks at hand.

However, do not make promises that you cannot keep. Do not assure your team that they will not be let go if you cannot make it happen. Even if the future is not looking optimistic, being honest is better than keeping everyone in the dark. It will only sow distrust within the organization if you are not fully transparent.

Celebrate Small Victories


When the days feel endless, it is difficult to see the big picture. Instead of waiting for a big accomplishment, keep your team motivated by celebrating small victories.

Your employees are doing the best they can, especially during a global pandemic. That alone is a reason to celebrate. Recognize the efforts they make and reward them accordingly.

Give them a paid day off and, once the pandemic is over, go to a team lunch.

Offer Mental Health Resources

Being stuck at home, a global crisis, and all the uncertainties that come with it make the perfect recipe for stress and depression. Having mental problems will significantly affect productivity.

Take advantage of the situation and reduce the stigma surrounding mental illnesses. Encourage self-care among your employees and talk to a therapist.

Share resources that may help your team take care of their mental well-being and provide a variety of mental health programs. Moreover, facilitate increased communications. Let your employees talk about other things other than work.

Everybody is going through a tough time right now. Be empathetic. Lean on your team and let them lean on you through this crisis. Eventually, things will go back to normal.

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