4 Ways to Support Your Frontline Employees
April 16, 2020
By Gene Park
During times of uncertainty, many things that were a status quo part of our lives become upended and we are faced with navigating our way forward amid a new normal. We are each affected both personally and professionally by the challenges at hand and have to determine how to best serve our families, organizations, and communities in a time of need.
It is during times like this that everyday heroes step up to assist others as essential workers during an emergency. They are:
- healthcare workers caring for patients
- grocery store employees ensuring we have the necessary supplies
- on-call employees overseeing essential services
- our first responders providing aid to our communities
As your frontline employees continue supporting your community, customers and clients, it is also important that they know your organization fully supports them. During a crisis, many CEOs step forward to reassure their employees and outline steps the organization will be taking to mitigate the impact the situation will have on the business.
It is always important to express gratitude towards others and to make sure your frontline employees feel recognized, seen, and heard.
Four ways to support your employees during times of uncertainty
Listen to what your frontline employees really need
Stay connected to your frontline employees and managers. Hold meetings with frontline managers and encourage them to have open communications with their employees so that what is happening at the ground level is making its way to decision-makers who can enact guidelines that positively impact frontline workers. Ask managers what they are seeing, and hearing, and let them know that you value feedback from all employees. Share insights with leaders and key stakeholders so they are aware of what is happening throughout the organization. This information will inform the decisions your leaders make.
Be a source of reassurance
In times of uncertainty, make sure you are someone that employees can turn to if they have questions or concerns. It is okay if you don’t always have answers, especially in situations that evolve by the day. Be transparent in what you can share with your team and communicate changes as they occur. If your people have specific questions, let them know who to reach out to for more information when it is available.
Reassure your employees that the work they are doing for clients, customers and the community is meaningful and appreciated by the organization. Lead with gratitude and acknowledge the everyday ways they are making the best of a situation by sending a written thank you note or an uplifting message.
Adjust your rewards to fit the situation
Providing recognition and rewards is a great way to let a hardworking team know that you see their efforts and appreciate them. Sending a gift card with a thank you note to recognize and reward your people in a timely way. If your organization uses a points-based reward system, you award points to your people so they can redeem for a gift at their convenience. Ask your employees what kinds of gift cards they would prefer. In most situations, employees would love a gift card to a favorite restaurant or retail store. During a crisis, something that will help with immediate needs, like a grocery store or gas station gift card, may be even more appreciated.
Recognize the signs of stress
Frontline employees may take on a heavier load during times of crisis while providing necessary services to others. Be mindful that these employees may need more support as well. A crisis is likely to affect them personally, emotionally and financially. If an employee is experiencing signs of stress and burnout, please reach out to them. Let them know that they can talk to you and guide them to any added resources the organization can provide for them, if necessary.
Your frontline workers are your MVPs, especially when your organization and community are navigating through uncertainty. Take the time to show gratitude for the incredible work they do each day and remind them of how important they are to you, the organization and the community.
You can re-energize your workforce as they continue to serve others by making sure employees’ concerns are heard, their actions are acknowledged throughout all levels of the organization and by remaining a source of encouragement during times of need.