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Employee Engagement & Covid Fatigue

 

Covid fatigue; It’s not just a clever name, the struggle is real.  For over a year now many have been working from home and often balancing homeschooling at the same time.  Now with this third wave and a fourth looming, how do we continue to keep our employees engaged, motivated and feeling valued? 

 

For some, work has been the only constant in their lives; they depend on that for their mental health.  That dependency makes it imperative for employers to do everything they can to maintain a sense of connection with their employees; and like many things in life, it’s those small details that can make all the difference.

 

Make communication a priority: Now, more than ever before communication is paramount.  Since every organization and culture is different, you should use communication channels that make sense for your teams; focusing on what is familiar and trusted. Whether it be a slack channel, instant messaging or video calling; ensure everyone has several options to have two-way communication with team members and leadership.  This includes accurate and timely employee updates; confidential means to facilitate communication for questions and concerns or to seek help and of course don’t forget ways to have simple water cooler chats. 

 

Ensure consistent touchpoints: Depending on your business, initiatives and priorities may be a steady state or perpetually changing.  Since the pandemic and not unlike most times of crisis we’ve all sharpened our sense of resiliency and our understanding that plans may need to shift, and quickly. Staying connected and offering real time clarity to your employees will help in times of uncertainty and ambiguity.  Short check-ins provide opportunity to get a pulse for how people are doing, get on the same page, manage workloads and connect.  These few minutes with your employees will help to boost morale and will encourage feelings of hope and purpose.

 

Encourage self care and promote wellness: Remember travelling?  You get on the plane and the flight attendant does the usual spiel and they tell you in the event of an emergency to affix your own oxygen mask first and then help others with theirs because If you don’t look after you, you’re no help to anyone else.  So be like the flight attendant and promote self care for your employees, promote health and wellness in all you do.  Don’t just point employees to the EAP program, engage with them in all interactions, business focused or culture focused in a way that spurs wellness. 

 

Find ways to celebrate: This is where we have to get creative and find the good in each day.  Whether it be a birthday; an individual/group/company success; a work anniversary or a major life event for an employee, celebrate it.  Focus on the positive wherever possible.  In the words of Wayne D. Dyer, “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”

 

Lastly, connect outside your organization and share ideas, share knowledge and help each other out.  I’ve seen more instances of this in the last year than ever before in my career and it reminds me of the human spirit and keeps me optimistic for the future. 

 

Stay well. 

Modesty Sabourin 

Director of HR, Operations

 

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Industries Fight Against Covid19

Everyday we receive updates, news and bulletins about what is happening around the world but what is happening here, at home, in the Ontario and Canadian manufacturing sector, to help combat and prevent COVID-19?

 

The truth is, there is a lot  happening.  Companies are retooling every day to provide the essential PPE and equipment for our healthcare system and workers. Companies have shifted focus away from their core products to make hand sanitizer for the masses. Everyone is doing their part and it’s heartwarming to see us Canadians and our Canadian companies band together during a major crisis such as this.

 

So, aside from retooling and manufacturing the necessary goods needed, what else is the Ontario and Canadian manufacturing industry doing to prevent the spread? Over the last few weeks I have been speaking with manufacturers all across Ontario, asking them about best practices, unique solutions or other programs implemented to minimize risk to their personnel and business as a whole. Below is the compiled list, however, I know this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to best practices during these difficult times.

 

Some of this is standard by now, but some of the other preventative tactics may be new and what is needed for you, your employees and your company. If there is anything your company is currently doing that is not listed below please “reply” to this posting with your idea, suggestion or current initiative.

 

I have also included a number of links to resources available to Canadian businesses at the bottom of this posting for reference. 

 

We are in this together!
 

Restricted Access & Physical Distancing

  • No outside visitors; employees only on site
  • Blocking doors open to reduce touching of handles
  • 6ft between personnel or workstations
  • Stopped all in person meetings
  • Only 1 employee in change room at a time
  • Staggered lunch breaks or specific amount of people allowed in break room at one time
  • No outside items allowed into facility (purses, bags, lunch boxes, etc) to reduce contamination potential
  • Individual pre-packaged meals being provided to staff

Sanitization

  • All staff required to wash hands upon entering facility
  • Lunchroom sanitized every two hours
  • Sanitize desk or workstation at start and end of shift
  • Increase in cleaning frequencies for whole facility

Scheduling

  • 30 or minute gap between shift start and end times
  • All capable of working from home have been mandated to do so

 

Education & Monitoring

  • All employees received training through an ongoing educational campaign; how does the virus spread, ways to protect yourself, preventative measures, company procedures and policies
  • Monitor any employees and send any employees home displaying signs of COVID-19 or Flu like symptoms
  • Staff can voluntarily go home if they request; staff who choose to go home and are not ill may be on unpaid leave (company dependant)

 

Supply Chain

  • Regular communication with supply chain to identify risks, alternate options (if needed), suppliers in trouble (how can you support your suppliers?), 
  • Determine which alternative suppliers can act as backups in the event of disruption

Resources:

http://www.chamber.ca/resources/pandemic-preparedness/BusinessPrepGuidePanPrep2020

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/preventing-covid-19-workplace-employers-employees-essential-service-workers.html

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/guidance-documents/risk-informed-decision-making-workplaces-businesses-covid-19-pandemic.html

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html#businesses

https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/ncov/ncov-daily-lit.pdf?la=en

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