The importance of feedback in a crisis

It has been nearly two months now since the COVID-19 virus shaped our everyday life tremendously. With the virus came a strong sense of uncertainty; we have all been wondering how long will this last, will we stay healthy and will the economy survive?

After the first weeks of panic and worrying whether there will be enough toilet paper for all of us, we have realized that this pandemic will have a stronger effect on our society than empty shelves at stores. A lot of companies are facing turbulent times and are trying to find ways to cut costs to survive this crisis. Companies are wondering whether they should carry on with their planned employee surveys or postpone them to a later date and whether it is important to gather feedback from employees during such an unusual time.

Why it is important to get employees’ feedback now?

It is a natural initial reaction to put everything possible on hold until the pandemic passes and things get back to normal. However, it is very unlikely that things will be the way they used to be once the pandemic is over. Companies are pushed to re-organize work and digitalization has taken a huge jump for sure. Job roles and ways of working may look different after the pandemic, but people remain the main asset for the companies at the end of this.

In uncertain times like these it is especially important to ensure that employees are listened to and remain engaged and enabled to do their work. In addition, once the economy revives again, it is important that the top talents are still committed to the company and not lost to the competitors.

A lot of companies still carry on with their employee surveys as planned. This gives a strong message that employee feedback is important also in challenging and uncertain times. Targeted pulse surveys to assess specifically the challenges related to the COVID-19 are highly recommended to assess how employees are feeling right now. This gives companies valuable feedback from employees during the outbreak and helps them to prepare for the future.

What are the things that should be asked from employees during a crisis?

Trust in the company and top management are tested in challenging times. Change often causes uncertainty and therefore transparent and honest communication becomes especially important even if you don’t have all the answers. In a crisis like this, it is important to get employees’ feedback on company’s overall response to the pandemic, the effectiveness of the measures taken and the communication regarding the pandemic.

Offices have been nearly empty for the past months with most employees working remotely. A sudden shift to working outside the office has tested companies’ technology and systems to enable remote work. It is important to get employee’s feedback on effectiveness of remote work overall; do they have the technological resources and equipment needed and access to the information they need in order to do their job well.

Finally, it is important to get employee’s feedback on the well-being aspect. A lot of people are working in isolation and may feel disconnected from their colleagues and managers. This exceptional situation touches all of us in some ways, whether it’s worries about health or job security, financial struggles or stress about juggling work and childcare. It is important that employees get the support needed, stay connected to their work community and feel that company values them and cares about their well-being.

In these uncertain times it is more important than ever to listen to employees and invest in the feedback culture. Contact us at Eezy Spirit to discuss in more detail how we can help you to gather feedback from your employees during these challenging times.

Johanna Lagos

The writer is organisation’s development professional in Eezy Spirit.