By Christine Van Der Heide, Vice President of Staffing Solutions
How do we measure the effects of the coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease on the work we perform? There are many different contributing factors to consider. Border closures could mean an inability to travel to a job site. The majority of workers, those that are lucky enough to continue working, no longer work in an office surrounded by co-workers. Teleworking from home surrounded by family and pets has become the new “normal” work environment. However, not all work can be performed from the comfort and relative safety of our homes. Communications services are essential to keeping businesses, government services, and classrooms functioning. Throughout COVID-19 quarantines and closures, the communications companies and the teams that ensure those services are provided, have continued operating.
As a staffing agency, ADEX has been providing experienced, talented communications professionals within the Caribbean for more than 25 years. What many do not understand about staffing agencies is that we are, at the heart of it all, a Human Resources services company.
The Human Resource department is often overlooked and undervalued. However, it is responsible for managing all those little things that can mean the difference between a good or a bad employee experience. Now, more than ever, they are responsible for supporting the emotional well-being of a company’s staff. Most of the world has been trapped in a prolonged state of heightened arousal manifesting social anxiety and fear of the unknown resulting in depression and PTSD. Clear direction from the Human Resource department is essential to the continued work and prosperity of every company to assist in reducing these feelings.
How does the Human Resource department support us as we keep working through quarantine? Have a clear plan of action. First, defuse workforce fears. Review and update employee policies and procedures. Provide clear, concise, and accurate information to all employees. Review the details with each employee or employee group to ensure they understand the information. Answer all of their questions to your best ability. Remember, we are not doctors and should not pretend to be. Employees should address specific medical concerns with their physician.
Second, acknowledge each individual’s feelings and do not claim to understand each person’s individual circumstance. We can’t possibly understand exactly what each person is going through and how they are feeling. However, we can make sure each person knows they are being heard. Set a schedule to have a manager or Human Resource representative regularly check in with each employee. Sometimes the key to a person getting through each day and moving forward lies in having someone listen to their concerns.
Next, develop innovative solutions to getting the job completed. Re-evaluate job descriptions and daily functions as it’s time for process improvement that could increase productivity while reducing costs. Remember, collaboration between the Human Resource department, management team, and employees is crucial when re-evaluating job descriptions and functionality. Process improvement might require investments in new equipment or technology. Safety comes first and not all position evaluations will result in process improvements. Be open to the fact that new jobs may need to be created to safely move forward with work.
Take advantage of the many tools that have been developed to allow us to video chat. These tools aren’t only for business webinars and demos. They also ensure continued social interaction with co-workers. Schedule group chats and structured team building video chat events. Humans are social creatures and continued personal interaction is essential to our emotional health and well-being.
Finally, eliminate the stigma towards those who are tested and those who test positive for COVID-19. Many are afraid to get tested if they start to show symptoms of the disease. They fear they will lose their job, even temporarily. They also have concerns that friends, family and co-workers will continue to socially avoid them long after they are no longer contagious. Make sure they know their co-workers will not abandon them.
Work towards a goal of making all these changes a new normal. Support the teams of people who work remotely as well as in the field performing installation, repairs, and maintenance of our communications networks. ADEX is a Human Resource services valued partner ready to support network improvements within the Caribbean, both locally and remotely throughout the pandemic. We are especially conscious of these client needs to ensure continued communications services through the current hurricane season. Contact us today for essential support services.
Christine Van Der Heide, VP Staffing Solutions