Insights

When a crisis hits, employees wish for more clarity and transparency

HR needs to find a way to work together with both managers and employees to ensure that people feel supported.

May 6, 2020
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6
min. read
Photo by AllGo on Unsplash

Like many other organizations around the world, the office lockdown during the corona crisis took us by surprise.

It was not so much about the (literally) overnight switch from working from our lovely office on Amager to working from our home chairs (and sofas). Fortunately enough, our company culture has always welcomed flexible working hours and remote work.  

It was more that neither of us really thought that the office lockdown would last so long, and that this state of high uncertainty would not only challenge our perceptions about company culture and the ways we (used to) work, but would also hit us emotionally.

Suddenly, we all became that one CNN journalist whose juggling between his daily job and his family life got witnessed by so many people.

As for me, I saw people putting their socks on during a formal interview. There were calls with babies waving at me. Meetings with screaming kids and other noises in the background.

That’s all fine.

The truth is, many of us had no choice but to change some of our priorities and needs during this time.

Maybe it was due to our own (admittedly, mostly fun!) realizations that we wanted to learn more about how other people around us have experienced the office lockdown.

More importantly, we wished to offer HR and managers insights about employees’ satisfaction with the support that they have received from their employers thus far, and what they would like to see more of in the future.

Looking back at the last 7-8 weeks since our office doors have closed, we know that such data would also help us when we had no choice but to transition to online.  

Employees are satisfied with the managerial support they receive during the crisis

We reached out to friends and colleagues in our professional networks to ask them about their experiences with organizational support during the corona crisis.

Over 137 respondents working across various industries got back to us, with 101 of them qualifying to be included in this research. The majority of them (76) listed Denmark as their country of residence.

Employees shared that they are fairly satisfied with the support they receive from their immediate managers during the corona lockdown, our study shows.

Out of 62 female and 38 male representatives, we see no major difference in gender when it comes to employees’ satisfaction with the managerial support.

Need for more clarity and transparency from employers

While employees generally feel positive about the support that they receive during this time, what they would like to see more of from their employer is clarity and transparency.

In fact, more than 30% of employees said that they would welcome clear communication about job security and appreciate more transparency about the company performance.

About one fourth of respondents would like to receive more mental support, for instance, in a form of meditation classes, a psychologist, or wellness subscription.

Monetary support for establishing workstation at home (whether by receiving money for desks and screens or office items delivery) is also put relatively high on the list of things employees would like to see more of.

Opportunity for HR to do more to support their people

We were also curious to hear what our respondents have to say about the supportiveness of their HR departments in the times of crisis.

HR’s role and responsibilities vary from company to company (including, depending on the size of the organization and the industry they are in), making it difficult to make fine conclusions about how satisfied employees are with the support by their designated HR person or team.

Still, we could not help but to notice that, as seen from our results, respondents tend to be less satisfied with the support by HR compared to the managerial support.

While one should go deeper into reasons why this might be the case, such indications nevertheless open up interesting (and much needed) discussions about the role of HR during crises.

One is for sure: HR needs to find a way to work together with both managers and employees to ensure that people across the organization feel supported, appreciated and listened to when and after a crisis hits.

Learning and conversing about people’s priorities and needs during the turbulent, uncertain times is the first step in being able to reach this goal.

Written by
Neva
Stumberger