Managing Employee Stress in Difficult Times

It’s been a year like no other for all of us, and your team of employees has no doubt been feeling the stress. Besides working remotely, maybe for the first time ever, many are simultaneously trying to handle a full-time job and supervise online learning for their children, or caring for preschoolers or older relatives.

Among their concerns: how they’ll be affected by the changing benefits scenarios wrought by the pandemic and even the coming election. It’s vital that employers communicate openly, and often, about any foreseen changes in benefits. With open enrollment approaching, this is an excellent time to begin planning those communications.

The CARES Act passed in response to the pandemic enacted changes to family and medical leave, among other things. Make sure your team understands the new rules. Obviously, any changes as a result of a new health plan enrollment year should be covered as well.

Some general best practices:

  • Reassurance is more important than ever. Remind employees of their value to the company, and of your wish that they remain healthy and happy.
  • Remember that most of your employees are not included in your decision-making processes, and in the absence of information may tend to assume the worst. To the greatest degree possible, be open about your decision-making and invite suggestions.
  • Highlight any voluntary benefits that employees might have forgotten about. There may be options to help with financial stress or mental well-being.
  • Communicate your vision for the future often, and via as many channels as possible: meetings, newsletters, intranet sites or individual email communications.

Understand that every employee’s situation is different, and that you are likely not seeing the entire picture. Encourage them to ask for help if they need it. A little empathy will go further than ever in these difficult times.

Questions about employee benefits? Contact Consolidated Insurance.