During the coronavirus crisis, your employees need your help

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As a result of the coronavirus crisis, the state of our unstable economy and uncertainty driven by unknowns, employers now have team members who are dealing with a variety of challenges that put their future in jeopardy. Organizations and employees alike were largely unprepared to deal with the changes that took place seemingly overnight. As an organizational leader, you’re now dealing with remote work environments, unanticipated illnesses, childcare and transportation challenges, and overall concern for your employees’ mental and physical well-being.

Above all is the safety and well-being of employees and employers must be sure to communicate that. Your employees need to know that their personal well-being is your top priority. It’s easy to assume everyone knows, but sometimes we forget to communicate the simple things. Business continuity plans are leading conversations, but your employees determine the fate of your BCP. Now is the time to extend support to your employees in any and every way that you can.

Inform your employees. It is as important to be well informed as it is to be prepared. With all the information circulating online and on television, it’s tough for your employees to know what sources to believe. Help them navigate these uncertain times by directing them to reliable, timely and accurate resources. Sources like the CDC, WHO and FDIC produce trusted information you can rely on. Misinformation can be as dangerous as no information.

Encourage your employees. The morale of your team is one of the key factors that will impact your success. Stress and anxiety are heightened over the fear of the unknown. To keep your business moving forward, it is critical to support the morale of your team — put their safety, emotions and well-being first. Your employees must know that you trust them and put their needs above the business. Encourage open communication about any concerns employees have for the well-being of themselves, their families, their colleagues, customers, or communities. Trust your team. They’re on the front lines, and though you may have to relinquish a level of control, you hired this team to support your business. Give them the tools and flexibility they need to succeed in this new normal.

Support your employees. There isn’t a better time than now to review your employee healthcare and wellness benefits. If employees haven’t used some of their benefits at this point, they are likely unaware of the support available to them, like telemedicine - an especially valuable resource for helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Review the available resources with your team and ensure they can take full advantage of the benefits you provide.

Your employees need financial wellness resources more than ever. Those without savings accounts are unfortunately realizing the need but given the added stress they’re experiencing, they probably don’t know where to start. They need financial education resources to build the knowledge behind how and why to establish savings. They need access to financial counselors to whom they can turn for expert guidance and recommendations.

Help them get ahead of or manage the financial impact with professional guidance on topics like budget planning, debt concerns, childcare, job loss, and saving for emergencies.

Employees may be tempted to dip into their 401(k) account or they may be reluctant to start retirement contributions given what they’re hearing about the market. Encourage them to refrain from touching their retirement by sharing the many relief options currently being offered by various lenders.

Financial wellness services should provide your employees with guidance on the four key pillars of financial well-being: spending, saving, borrowing and planning. Your employees need knowledge, expertise, advice and access to resources now more than ever. Preparation is the best protection during uncertain times. It’s crucial to envision yourself in your employees’ shoes. What are they thinking? What is their level of confidence in their financial position? Do they feel they have the knowledge and resources available to help them successfully navigate their future, both the short- and long-term?

Now is the time to educate them and give them the tools and resources they need to reduce their stress and anxiety, stay healthy, organize and manage their finances, and confidently move forward with a feeling of optimism.

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Coronavirus Health and wellness Financial wellness Employee communications Employee retention Employee relations