As the saying goes, ‘every cloud has a silver lining’…
“…the enemy is here, invisible, untouchable, and is advancing”. Although these chilling words from Emmanuel Macron highlight the severity of the coronavirus (Covid-19), a changed mindset can turn a pandemic crisis into an opportunity for finding smarter ways of developing and sustaining a highly engaged workforce, leaving ‘a mark, not a stain!’ (Schwab, 2005) on organisational performance.
When work meets home (priorities get muddled)
Organisations (both small and big) are feeling the ‘pinch’ of the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. Many have been forced to close their offices and work from home. Picture the scene. Dr Robert Kelly, a professor in South Korea is being interviewed live from home by BBC news about the country’s impeachment scandal. The home office door opens (he forgets to lock the door), his four-year old daughter walks in, followed by his son in a (squeaky) walker. Jung-a Kim, the mother then comes rushing in to collect the toddlers, accidently knocking off a few books and falling down on her way out. Here is the link to the interview (if you’ve missed it):
Home distractions like this can make it difficult for employees to stay on the top of their game (i.e. remain engaged in their jobs) when outside the work office environment (Sardeshmukh, Sharma &, Golden, 2012). A heavier reliance on virtual meetings as result of the government’s imposed social distancing measures to ‘flatten the curve’ of Covid-19 are also likely to have amplified feelings of isolation, worsening employees’ sense of connection with their organisation (i.e. line manager, team and department). The crisis has made work feel almost meaningless as people are fearing for their lives and ‘the unknown’. Thus, there never seems to have been a more critical period in history for employers to embrace and implement Human Resource Management (HRM) policies and practices aimed at improving employee engagement for the ‘patient’ organisation.