Here’s a quick tip for organization leaders managing through the COVID-19 crisis: Take a look at your organization’s employee handbook and see what adjustments can be made to manage expectations and anxiety throughout your teams. 

Updating the policies within your employee handbook is a quick way to protect your organization by establishing expectations for all employees; make the employee experience consistent across teams; and remove employee anxiety if and when a personal, local, or global emergency arises.

How will you know what updates need to be made?

Whether it’s a sick leave/personal time off policy, flexible work arrangement policy, or emergency preparedness policy, the most important question to start with may be:

“How have our expectations for our employees changed from the pre-COVID-19 days?” 

Then, continue the discussion by asking yourself and your leadership team the following questions to understand what, if any, specific changes need to be documented:

  1. Is there room for flexibility for the criteria and time allotted for sick leave?

  2. When and how will you honor FMLA during times like this?

  3. What is expected of an employee if they or a loved one falls ill? For employees who are working parents, how can they be supported when schools are closed?

  4. Are your policies consistent with current public health guidance?

  5. What are the expectations for business as usual in the event of an emergency?

  6. What roles are essential for continued operations? At what point do all operations discontinue?

  7. When “acts of god” occur, what considerations will be made regarding time off, payroll and benefits, technology, equipment, layoffs, etc.?

  8. What professional or community-based resources can be provided for your staff who may need housing, legal, mental health, or any other service to help cope, for example, with the stress of a pandemic or the death of a loved one?

  9. What are the new local, state, and federal regulations for sanitation and safety?

  10. How often can employees take advantage of remote work once the curve has declined?

Of course, remember to immediately and clearly communicate any changes in expectations to your organization. Also, consider if there are any differences in expectations for full-time employees, part-time employees, interns, or contractors.

Need help facilitating this conversation with your leadership team?

Horizon Advisory Group provides collaborative and interactive facilitation services for non-profit and small business leadership teams. Contact us today to determine which level of service is right for your organization.