There’s no arguing that 2020 is a year of uncertainty. With this comes a certain level of uneasiness, a shifting of priorities and, for many, substantial changes in their personal and professional lives.
While it’s important to stay positive, it’s no surprise that for many staff members morale might be at an all-time low. This is especially true for those in Melbourne, as the city experiences their second round of lockdown and businesses face an uncertain future.
Maintaining and elevating employee morale during these times is no easy feat, but should become a business’ number one priority.
This can be done by applying the same principles of customer service to the way we treat our staff.
Connection starts with communication. There’s no arguing that communication plays a fundamental role in all aspects of business, but it particularly helps foster amazing working relationships.
The style of communication needs to be effective, placing an emphasis on not only making it personal, but making it count.
During lockdown my team executed a plan that ensured we were talking to our customers on a more consistent basis, whether that be through social media, emails, instant chat, personal messaging, or live videos. We wanted to make sure our customers felt connected and had the ability to ask us anything.
For all businesses, communication should start with giving people access to your time, allowing them the opportunity to communicate without restrictions, and encouraging them to give feedback. Then it’s up to the business to listen closely, respond in a personal manner and honour the talk with action.
Evolve with the changes
Change is inevitable, not only in life, but in business too. How you react to this change can either instil trust in your management, or evoke concern for the future of the business.
This year has revealed new ways of working for everyone, and these new ways are likely to outlast lockdown. While many of us are still trying to adjust, we have to remain open, flexible, agile and ready to evolve.
Businesses need to adapt to survive. Instead of shying away from change, embrace it, maintain a sense of fluidity and evolve as it moves. Nothing needs to be set in concrete, but in times like these it’s adapt or risk getting left behind.
Operate with empathy
It is important to maintain a sense of gratitude throughout trying times, but more importantly, we must operate with empathy.
Do this on all levels – from dealings with suppliers, through to customers and staff. From recognising when a staff member feels burnt out through to sending out ‘random acts of kindness’ to customers, my team tries to operate with empathy at every turn.
As a business we need to remember that everyone’s experience is different, but at the end of the day we are all just human beings going through our own journeys.
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Businesses need to have the capacity to not only be aware of other’s circumstances, but to truly understand what others are experiencing and act accordingly.
When Biologi was first named a finalist in last year’s Telstra Business Awards, we realised just how important it is to take the time to recognise the success of employees and of the business as a whole.
Businesses need to encourage, empower and give recognition where it is due. Recognising success helps foster engagement, increases productivity, improves staff morale and reduces tension in the work environment.
Try to take the time to recognise the success of your employees, not just from a career perspective but from a personal perspective too. Whether it’s a staff member getting married, taking a day off to spend it with their child, or rewarding them when they’ve been working overtime, recognising these achievements keeps a beautiful sense of pride among employees.
We also like to recognise the success of the business, and ensure that employees understand that their contributions are what makes our business successful.
Don’t forget your purpose
We all need to have a sense of purpose in life to ensure we are able to put things into perspective and add meaning to our experiences. This is especially true when we are experiencing challenging times because it allows us to see things through a positive lens.
For example, at Biologi we are passionate about ethical skincare and educating consumers on skincare solutions. Focusing on that not only allowed us to better serve our customers, but it reminded our staff to focus on what matters to them, and to push forward regardless of any external challenges.