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Engaging your employees in response to coronavirus

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With the recent outbreak of Coronavirus, many organizations and employers in Hong Kong are left to face challenges that many have yet to encounter in the past. Drawing from our knowledge and observations from clients in multiple industries, here are some practical tips to keep your employees engaged:

EY - Monetary support

Monetary support

  • Expand reimbursable items under Flexible Spending Accounts to address employees’ needs
  • Reinvest unused social budgets (due to cancelled social events) for health / hygiene supplies for employees
  • Consider nominal allowances for employees to purchase health and hygienic supplies for personal use
  • Provision of meals for employees on shift during business-critical periods
  • Reimbursement of work equipment to facilitate remote working (e.g. monitors, roaming phone charges, etc.)
  • Hourly-wage continuance for frontline employees who may be impacted by canceled shifts and store closures

EY - Being a caring and empathetic employer

Being a caring and empathetic employer

  • Allow for flexible work arrangements (e.g. flexible working hours, telecommuting) and acknowledge different individuals may require different accommodations due to family situations and living arrangements
  • Cascade short videos and podcasts from leadership team to engage and motivate employees while working remotely
  • Maintain connectivity with employees through virtual team huddles (e.g. video conferencing, calls, etc.)
  • Extend IT support to accommodate remote working arrangements (i.e. extended hours / different communication channels)
  • Provide ergonomic tips for employees working from home
  • Allow business casual attire during this period to promote more frequent laundering and disinfection of garments
  • Consider compensatory leave days (e.g. 2 to 5 days) to business critical employees who must work in offices / on premises
  • Sending ‘care packages’ with snacks, sanitizers, masks to employees in affected areas

Holistic wellbeing and family support

  • Informative talks by medical / healthcare professionals (doctors) to address questions and debunk myths
  • Practice “responsible sharing” of reliable and accurate health information; avoid sharing of emotionally-charged news stories which may arouse unwarranted fear in employees
  • Fact-based education to raise employees’ awareness on how to handle stress and anxiety during this critical period
  • Remind employees of available resources for support when needed (e.g. Employee Assistance Programs)
  • Review existing wellness programs and items (e.g. medical check-up, optical, vaccinations)
  • Help caregiving employees balance between workplace demands and family needs
  • Equip working parents with tips on how to address children’s questions related to coronavirus in an age-appropriate manner
  • Support working parents with advice to maintain structure and routines at home due to school closures

Time to rethink…

  • Are you spending on what matters most to employees?
  • Employer branding: what defines your employee value proposition?
  • Frequent check-in and communication are key: how should you connect with your employees?

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