The global Covid-19 pandemic has profoundly affected our economy, social life, and the way we do business, putting extraordinary stress on HR. Employee health and wellbeing has been at the forefront of company concerns in many industries, but how best to address these issues can be an elusive goal.

In recent conversations with HR executives from more than 160 companies*, every HR leader in the working groups suggested the need for a new support structure for employees at all levels that included better message delivery, lots of listening, surveys, and better feedback.

How about offering additional support to employees through a program of improved, one-on-one communications? Can such an individualized program be conducted safely during the current COVID crisis? The short answer to both these questions is Yes.

One company recently completed a “Financial Well-Being” program during which experienced benefit counselors met individually with almost 2,000 retail employees in 81 locations, employing safety measures to minimize or eliminate any virus exposure. Counselors also offered access to optional, voluntary benefits during each meeting. Letting employees know the company values their contribution by providing a personalized financial message and access to excellent voluntary benefits made the program an unqualified success. Here are some examples of management responses:

  • “Counselors were professional, prompt and observant of all COVID health and safety measures during an incredibly busy time.
  • “Having the appropriate coverage is always reassuring and provides additional peace of mind.”                                                                                     
  • Ensuring we maintain as many regular, routine programs as possible is important – letting folks know we value their contribution. . .was very helpful.”

The ability to help reduce psychological distress among frontline employees was one of the most satisfying rewards for conducting this customized campaign – and HR really appreciated the help!

  * Information from Josh Bersin Academy

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