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10 tips for staying connected with employees through the holidays and into 2021

10 tips for staying connected with employees through the holidays and into 2021

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In what has been an unprecedented year, employees’ concerns around health and financial wellness jumped dramatically in 2020, and rates of anxiety and depression are continuing to rise.

Employees reported a 38% increase in being worried about their own mental health, a 55% increase in being extremely worried about being able to take care of family, and a 140% increase in being extremely worried about their own vulnerability to addiction.  These troublesome statistics were reported in a Leading Indicator Systems Workforce Listening Study that compared how employees were feeling in October 2020 versus May 2020.

Continuing to support and communicate with employees around health and wellbeing is now more important than ever. And, with the constant influx of messages people receive, it’s important to get your key messages out regularly, and to present information in a way that’s easy to absorb.

Demonstrating how your organization can provide support will help employees and their families navigate through the holidays and into the year ahead on topics such as:

  • Mental health: A focus on mental health can be especially important during the holidays, when many people experience an increase in stress, anxiety, loneliness, or depression. Find ways to reduce stigma, re-promote the EAP and behavioral health benefits, and promote non-traditional approaches such as telemedicine for mental health help.
  • Emotional wellbeing: Encouraging employees to take the time to focus on mindfulness and gratitude can help to cultivate happiness.
  • Deferred preventive care: The data shows that routine and preventive care dropped significantly due to the pandemic, so remind employees of the importance of making up for missed care and doing so safely in consultation with their doctor’s suggestions.

Here are some ways to stay connected with your employees as you go into the holiday season and 2021.

  1. Use pulse surveys to assess how employees are feeling, gain insight into their top concerns, and identify where they need the most help.
  2. Increase the cadence of leadership messaging that acknowledges these challenging times and lets your employees know it’s okay to pause to take care of themselves.
  3. Support your managers’ communication with employees by previewing messages with them and providing them with talking points and Questions and Answers around key initiatives.
  4. Use testimonials that feature and employees sharing how they used your programs and resources to face personal challenges. Stories that connect with others on an emotional level can be a very powerful change agent.
  5. Share regular tips on topics that can help employees take greater control over their financial, physical, and emotional wellbeing.
  6. Take a multi-channel approach to communication. Consider recorded videos, live virtual meetings, texting, and short promotional eCards (short, visually driven emails) or postcards.
  7. Use pop-up websites to quickly and clearly share key information with employees. These sites can go up within days and provide a clean and visually appealing way to quickly get messages out to a remote and dispersed workforce.
  8. Many employers hosted virtual benefits fairs during Open Enrollment this year. These sites can be refreshed and serve as a year-round resource to keep employees abreast of what programs you have in place to respond to their needs.
  9. Create a short online quiz as a fun way to test employees’ knowledge of the resources available to support them.
  10. Find creative ways to support the unique needs of your population, for example, host webinars that are specific to employee needs and pain points. And/or consider hosting virtual social gatherings for teams who are accustomed to celebrating together during the holidays.

Whatever approach may be right for your people, as the year winds down and the new year approaches, take advantage of the opportunity to let employees know you are there for them, how you are supporting them, and that you will continue to stay connected with support and resources throughout the year.