What is the likely impact of the coronavirus pandemic on employees?
Kantar held a webinar (Tuesday 28 April 2020) to share their ideas on how businesses can ensure employees are safe, secure and listened to.
Extreme stress in the workforce
Employee experiences of the crisis cannot be ignored says Kantar, which was able to share data from its Inclusion Index. Mandy Rico, Global Director, The Inclusion Index, Kantar said: “We must be mindful of how our employees are feeling in these difficult times.” She explained that research is vital to understand how employees are feeling.
Kantar UK research reveals that:
- 45% of employees are worried and stressed about their health and their family’s health
- 38% of female employees aged 18 to 24 are worried about their mental health
- 33% of employees are worried and stressed about their finances
Dangers of isolation
Furloughed staff and those working in isolation at home are far more likely to be suffering from depression and stress, and there’s evidence to suggest (based on the previous recessions) that the suicide rate will rise significantly in the coming months.
Kantar’s webinar proved a salient reminder of the value of human capital in a time of crisis. Chloe Woolger, commercial director at Kantar CX, made the point that employees are your most valuable asset, and that “if you want to better serve your customers at this time of extreme challenges, you need to get closer to your employees”.
How can big organisations like retailers and hospitality companies impact, influence and inspire their people at this time?
Woolger said that Kantar’s learnings from its own internal Covid-19 Pulse Surveys are:
Communication: Focus on staying in touch with clear comms, be transparent, be empathetic – make them feel included. Share ideas and keep engagement levels high with different ways of communication.
Creativity: Encourage people to make use of downtime – suggest they embark on some upskilling, make online training available to them. Allow people to think entrepreneurially – drive growth mindset – so they can think of new ways to support clients and customers now and when things return to normal.
Collaboration: Everyone is struggling in these times, including leaders, but community is stronger than ever. By working together, more entrepreneurial values are coming to the fore.
Culture: Culture eats strategy for lunch. Now is the time to reinforce trust by staying true to your company’s values and mission.
Kantar’s view is that just because the world has been turned upside down, and job prospects are dire because parts of the economy are devastated, now is not the time to forget the importance of inclusion and diversity. This remains the way forward to be truly successful as an organisation.
Employee surveys are vital to retain trust
“Don’t let your trust gap widen,” warned Woolger. “Listen and act on feedback you are getting from your employees.”
Connecting people to the overall purpose of what they’re doing, listening, and showing your appreciation, will go a long way to support them through such a difficult time.
New ways of working through the crisis – could you share your workforce?
As Kantar’s webinar suggested, creative thinking during the crisis will lead to new ideas about how to support and manage workforces,
This week Quinyx, the workforce management specialist, announced a radical idea. In response to the UK government relaxing competition rules allowing businesses to share their workforce with other organisations, it has devised a solution enabling companies to pool their staff resources.
So what does the Quinyx Pooling Resources solution do and could it work in retail?
The Quinyx Pooling Resources solution will enable businesses to share part or all of their workforce with other organisations in need of more staff quickly and efficiently. With no development or customisation needed, the Quinyx WFM platform can be set up without lengthy implementation or complex systems integrations.
Quinyx says the configuration sharing rules, security and regulatory requirements can be agreed between the participating parties, to ensure full compliance, including GDPR and confidentiality.
For employers, this solution will solve the current issue of workers being under or over utilised, lead to business efficiency, improve flexible and trained workforce availability, and ultimately result in increased sales.
For workers, gaining access to additional work outside of their current contract means additional hours and pay, as well as a transfer of learnt skills. This will be particularly relevant to the millions of workers in sectors such as retail, hospitality, logistics and manufacturing who are currently at home because their place of work is temporarily closed.
For customers, this solution will ensure better access to stock, less time spent in stores and reduced interaction outside of isolation. As a result, businesses will be able to deliver better customer service and a more positive experience overall.
Future uses of pooling
It’s possible that as normal trade resumes, this could become even more applicable too, as some businesses such as high street retail, hotels, restaurants and pubs may experience staff shortages.