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Keeping Employees Resilient During a Pandemic

Keeping Employees Resilient in a Pandemic

In the time of COVID-19, many organizations were thrown into unforeseen challenges without much warning. As an HR professional, I often think about the long-term impact this moment in history will have on our team members and IntelliShift.   

I view this as an opportunity to live our values as an organization.     

This challenging time allows us to build deeper loyalty and trust with our employees so that we can all come out stronger and wiser on the other. During a time of crisis, the actions we take as an organization serve to recognize our team’s continued professional dedication to keep employees positive, productive, and, most importantly, resilient.   

Here are the actions we have taken on behalf of our employees:   

Providing Resources   

While the need for social distancing has shifted us to a remote environment, we, fortunately, experienced a smooth transition. As a technology company, we were ahead of the curve since most of our team’s work could be done remotely. However, we had to make sure all team members had the necessary tools to make this happen as smoothly as possible.   

Our strong IT team was key to our success. They worked diligently to ensure all team members were equipped with the resources they needed – from VPN access to equipment and ongoing one-on-one support.      

I am happy to say our team members acclimated to their new remote world without a hitch!   

Ongoing Communication and Social Connection   

The daily hustle of our pre-COVID world left little time for team banter outside of internal departments. After the pandemic hit, we wanted to make sure everyone felt connected, even if we could not physically work together.    

While it certainly can be a challenge to take a step outside the norm, we thought through how we might make more use of the current systems in place. We figured out ways to make them more robust and more comfortable for employees to use to improve ongoing communication effectively within our new virtual set up.    

Employee Coffee Chats     

Video conferencing has facilitated remote communication and camaraderie. Team members have an opportunity to sign up for “virtual coffee/lunch dates” using a free service called Lunchmates. Each week, team members who sign up are randomly matched with other team members and chat for 15-30 minutes over lunch or coffee — virtually, of course. As a participant myself, I learned so much about our team members.   

Every Friday, we have a “Coffee with the CEO” call where the entire organization comes together for company updates and some fun banter!   

The response from employees on all our communication initiatives has been positive. Many team members want to keep these chats happening after the pandemic passes, and we plan to do so.   

Internal Social Feeds

Our HRIS (Human Resources Information System) of choice is Namely. We use it for employee data management, payroll, benefits enrollment, and much more. What we had not used it for in the pre-COVID world was communication. Now we do, and the platform has helped us enhance our sense of community.    

We keep our momentum going by making frequent posts – essentially, this space is a new “water cooler.” Team members share photos of their remote work office, pets, family members, activities they have been doing while in quarantine, and much more. We found that this heightened employee engagement and communication even if we cannot physically be together.    

Work/Life Balance   

One of the best perks we offer employees is exceptional work/life balance, which we demonstrate by providing flexibility. We believe family is important and want to make sure our team members spend time with their loved ones. We are happy that in these uncertain times, more work has given our team members more family time. Plus, to ensure staying healthy is a priority, we have provided our team members with additional sick time, so they can take the time to heal if ill and be at their best when they return to work.   

Professional Growth Opportunities   

With the absence of a commute, we have encouraged our team members to expand their knowledge with professional growth opportunities supported by the company. Our team members have shared online learning programs, and some have taken advantage of these opportunities to learn skills to help them become better professionals.   

Peer Recognition   

All our team members work extremely hard. During this time of reflection in quarantine, we find it is essential to not only acknowledge but support each other as one community. Using our communication platforms like our Namely HRIS social feed and LinkedIn, we have rallied team members to thank each other for their hard work and support.   

Appreciation spreads like wildfire and goes a long, long way! It has been amazing to see team members giving colleagues the extra support needed. As destabilizing as this crisis is for organizations worldwide, our company must let employees know we are behind them through life’s challenges. We are.  

As an HR professional, it makes me proud to say that I believe our organization has strengthened the trust, productivity, and engagement of our team members through small but impactful changes that support employee resiliency.    

Gina Iacobacci leads Human Resources at IntelliShift. For over five years, she has worked in the HR industry in various industries, such as fashion, entertainment, and technology. She focuses on onboarding, offboarding, performance management, training, career development, recruitment, and more. In her spare time, Gina enjoys practicing yoga and volunteering weekly at North Shore Animal League.