The spread of COVID-19, commonly referred to as the coronavirus, is an event that is increasingly becoming a public and workplace priority. Employers will be called on to take every possible action to protect workers while maintaining business operations. Here, you can find a roundup of up-to-date information on how businesses and HR leaders are handling the outbreak.
GENERAL INFORMATION FROM GOVERNMENT BODIES
- Global information and guidance on COVID-19 (World Health Organization)
- Coronavirus response in Europe (European Commission)
- Coronavirus response in the U.S. (CDC)
- Worldwide situation update (ECDC)
NAVIGATE THIS PAGE
- Workforce Management
- Employee Engagement
- Risk and Compliance
- Employee Screening
Evaluating the Role of Recruiters
Amidst the uncertainty of what lies ahead for the job landscape as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to remember that our workforce will recover, and when it does, recruiters need to make sure they have kept their candidate relationships intact.
While many working individuals are in crisis-management mode, recruiters can be their lifeline at the very least to keep them informed of the opportunities that lie ahead. Here are some best practices from BrightMove for keeping touch with candidates and planning for future business.
- Candidates in the hiring process still need reassurance and a timeline.
- Brainstorm with hiring managers on alternative work options for new hires.
- Create a daily blast of available opportunities – use text, social media, email, and podcasts to keep your network informed of what’s out there.
- Help candidates evaluate opportunities they would not have applied for.
- Remember the human side of recruiting.
From Interviewing to Onboarding: Five Tips for Contingent Hiring in a Remote World
The shift to remote work and social distancing presents unique challenges to the everyday tasks of identifying and hiring qualified talent. How can organizations hire and onboard qualified talent remotely to support their ongoing business leads? Lee Baldwin, global head of financial services at Pontoon, shares some best practices.
- Focus on the candidate experience. In a virtual world, the candidate experience is more important than ever. To ensure a positive outcome, HR leaders should leverage digital hiring tools to engage candidates, clearly communicate the employee value proposition, and come prepared to interviews.
- Define your remote onboarding process. Organizations should embrace a fully digital onboarding process while maintaining compliance oversight.
- Provide logistical support for new contingent workers. For any employee in a new role, questions will inevitably arise. HR leaders should create comprehensive documentation to guide the new process hire from start to finish, mapping out the hiring journey to answer questions before they’re asked.
- Design a virtual training plan. Training and team interaction within the first one to two weeks post-hire are critical to a new hire’s success. Managers should create a detailed training schedule for their new employees and measuring the outcomes to identify any skill gaps early.
- Manage employees remotely. Business leaders should schedule regular video meetings to speak with their new hires during the training period. They should also create a feedback loop so that hires feel comfortable in their new position.
Podcast: COVID-19 Impact on Recruiters
View this live panel hosted by Dave Webb, CEO of BrightMove, about the impact of the coronavirus on recruitment practices.
New E-Book: Protecting Health & Maintaining Productivity During the COVID-19 Crisis
No one could have anticipated the extent to which COVID-19 would profoundly change life as we know it—literally overnight. As the number of deaths and infections climbs, the world wakes up every day to realities that were previously unimaginable.
There’s no playbook for handling this crisis, but there is a growing amount of useful information from a variety of sources, with the CDC emerging as one of the most reliable outlets. While health- care professionals and government officials are on the front line of our pandemic response, employers everywhere have quickly moved to implement work from home (WFH) policies, cancel events, restrict travel and implement measures to ensure employee and public safety.
Organizational leaders who have stepped up to the task of creating and implementing COVID-19 policies and procedures will not likely discover any new ideas in this report from Engage2Excel. Nevertheless, it is intended as a checklist of topics that organizations should consider when developing and updating plans to protect the health of their employees and maintain productivity during the uncertain times ahead.
6 Tips for COVID-19 Communication Campaigns
In the face of the current crisis, employees rely on communication campaigns from their employers to deliver critical updates, prevention tips, and more. Here, the experts at Welltok share some best practices to deliver the most effective communication possible.
- TOPICS: Create campaigns dedicated to 1) prevention, 2) risk management and mitigation, 3) emergency preparedness, and 4) managing utilization. While COVID-19 specific news may be priority, also communicate with individuals about managing chronic conditions, adhering to medications, and supporting total wellbeing to keep people healthy and out of clinics.
- OUTREACH: Leverage multiple channels to rapidly deploy important information and updates. For example, interactive voice response (IVR) and SMS text messaging are a scalable ways to share updates and engage with your community.
- CONTENT: Use authentic, localized and language-specific voice talent for IVR campaigns as computerized recordings will feel generic and disconnected. Tailor communications for high-risk groups to increase relevancy and engagement.
- DATA: Leverage both clinical and social determinants of health data (e.g., demographic, income level, household composition) to identify and target high-risk individuals and those with critical needs.
- RESOURCES: Provide germ-free “handshake” links (aka proactive recommendations) when possible to connect people with available resources like hotlines and EAP programs – mental health is especially important with high stress levels and social distancing.
- PRIVACY & SECURITY: Any partner you work with must be HIPAA compliant and HITRUST certified to ensure that all messaging meets applicable standards for data security, privacy and legal compliance.
Webinar: 7 Tips for Remotely Managing Your Team
This is a time full of unknowns… especially in the workforce. Strict restrictions have been put into place by state and federal governments to combat the spread of the coronavirus, leaving most people working from home without any rules, explanations, or even guides. While some companies still cling to the archaic belief that business can only be done in an actual brick-and-mortar office, today’s new age workforce demands more.
New Research Reveals Risks of Open Offices
A new survey from Bospar found that more than half of Americans (55.3 percent) are worried about contracting the coronavirus this year, and 49.4 percent are planning to cancel trips due to the spread of the virus.
Just as concerning are results that indicate the number one reason Americans fear contracting COVID-19 is working in an open office. In fact, 52.9 percent of survey respondents think open offices will lead to an uptick of the coronavirus infection and 41 percent think their office will be affected.
“Open office spaces are among the worst for COVID-19, particularly if they are sealed office spaces without open ventilation and the air is just recirculated within the building,” said E Hanh Le, senior director of medical affairs at Healthline. “That’s because, like with other communicable airborne illnesses, COVID-19 is spread from coughing, sneezing, or talking as the virus travels through respiratory drops. Current data suggests that the virus may also survive on surfaces for several hours, if not days, but we do not know that definitively yet. To reduce the risk of spreading infection, concerned companies should enforce work from home policies to keep contagion down.”
More than a third of Americans (35.9 percent) think companies should immediately make their employees work from home to avoid the spread of the coronavirus, and 51.4 percent think that viruses like COVID-19 and the flu will lead to more companies adopting virtual offices.
Free Micro-Course: Leading Virtual Meetings
The coronavirus outbreak is causing many businesses to adjust their routines to ensure their employees’ safety. One of these adjustments may include working remotely—but according to DDI, this can introduce a slew of concerns. While 70 percent of employees work remotely at least one day a week, 21 percent feel lonely, 21 percent struggle to communicate and collaborate, and 16 percent get easily distracted at home.
To help business leaders meet their business goals during this difficult time, DDI has partnered with Dr. Steven Rogelberg, the world’s leading expert on holding effective meetings and author of “The Surprising Science of Meetings,” to develop a free micro-course on leading virtual meetings. It aims to help anyone in the organization address the challenges of working remotely, including how to manage distractions, maintain audience interest, and evaluate the efficacy of meetings.
Study Reveals How Organizations are Tackling the Virus
With headlines repeating the warnings about the spread of the COVID-19 virus, organizations are taking steps to protect their business and employees, both locally and abroad. According to a new survey from Mercer evaluating the business response to the outbreak, companies are generally taking a wait and see approach before implementing any dramatic policies.
- Thirty-three percent are monitoring the situation to determine the need to work remotely.
- The majority (58 percent) are closing their offices and plants in China—most with a specific date in mind (February 10, 2020).
- Seventy-two percent are curtailing or postponing non-essential travel to countries with confirmed cases of the coronavirus.
- Almost all companies (91 percent) have recalled travelers from China and 38 percent plan to ban travel to China.
- Fifty-eight percent are introducing options to work from home.
- Self-quarantine is becoming a common request, with 58 percent requesting self-quarantine from staff that has traveled to mainland China and 43 percent instituting mandatory self-quarantine.
- Companies are providing hand sanitizer (68 percent) and masks (48 percent) in the workplace.
- The vast majority (96 percent) are not ending expatriate assignments, but are managing the situation regarding the evacuation of expatriates (48 percent).
Taking Common Sense Precautions
As the coronavirus continues to cause panic in the media, Karen Elliott and Clare Gallagher, two labor and employment attorneys with the law firm of Eckert Seamans, share 10 basic precautions that organizations can take to limit the spread of the virus.
- Until COVID-19 is declared a pandemic, engage employees with virus-like symptoms on a case-by-case basis, being careful when asking about their specific health issues. After a declaration of imminent threat, employers can be more direct.
- Limit or eliminate non-essential business travel to countries or areas with high incidence rates of COVID-19. Check travel advisories daily to monitor updates.
- Create or update policies regarding working remotely, mandatory closures, and leaves and absences.
- Use an email or text messaging service to share updates with staff.
- Permit employees to work from home for up to two weeks if they exhibit symptoms.
- Post signs and resources about virus prevention practices and places to seek treatment.
- Educate staff on the nature of COVID-19 to avoid potential stigmatization, misunderstanding, or overreactions.
- Post signs about proper hygiene practices in common areas and provide hand sanitizer, tissues, masks, and no-touch receptacles.
- Sanitize the workplace regularly.
- Limit the number of non-essential visitors in the office.
How to Celebrate Employees From a Distance
Recognition is a critical element of the employee experience, but with such a large portion of the workforce working remotely, showing appreciation can be challenging. To keep employees engaged from a distance, Rideau Recognition suggests 10 best practices.
- Talk with staff to get a behind the scenes look for deeper appreciation.
- Acknowledge the risk taken as well as the work.
- Thank people for self-isolating themselves.
- Express gratitude to those accepting to work from home.
- Celebrate work anniversaries no matter where employees are.
- Make career milestone anniversaries extra special.
- Sing happy birthday greetings virtually to employees.
- Create e-cards to celebrate specific actions.
- From grocery store clerks to doctors, stop and thank everyone for all they are doing to get through this crisis.
- Learn to be double specific with recognition, clearly identifying the recognized action as well as the impact it has had on others.
Free Social Connection Software from Workhuman
To help mitigate isolation during the COVID-19 disruption, Workhuman, a leading provider of social recognition platforms, announced it is offering Life Events® and Conversations® software products, part of Workhuman® Cloud, free for 12 months.
The pandemic has forced physical isolation for employees around the world. The Workhuman®Cloud provides companies with a tool that empowers and encourages social and emotional connections during a time of crisis when people need it most.
- Life Events – Strengthen team bonds, especially in today’s dispersed working environment, to celebrate life-affirming events, such as weddings, new babies, human acts of kindness and much needed well-wishes. Recognize and celebrate that life continues during times of crisis. Enlist the crowd through social support to boost organizational morale and belonging.
- Conversations – Facilitate remote connections through scheduled check-ins with managers and peers to ensure that teams connect often to navigate the uncertainty. Stay aligned on fluid priorities and short-term goals.
Employees who have a simple regular check in with their manager (on any topic) are more than twice as likelyto trust and respect their manager and five times less likely to be disengaged, according to Workhuman’s research “The Future of Work is Human”.
Free Employee Engagement Software Offer
Butterfly.ai, creators of an employee engagement software built for the frontline workforand feeling ce, announced on March 25, 2020 that it is offering free access for its industry-leading pulse survey tools in order to help companies keep frontline employees connected, informed, and engaged amidst workflow and environment changes caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Butterfly software can be put in place in less than 24 hours, enabling managers to see results immediately and providing organization-wide reports that help assess bigger trends across the workforce. The free license lasts for 90 days, allowing managers to send pulse surveys to their desk-less employees to measure things like employees’ preparedness to do their jobs effectively, employee recognition, and employee happiness.
Surveys can be completed quickly and anonymously via text, email, Kronos Workforce Dimension, and many other systems. Responses are collected instantly and are accessible for managers through a dashboard.
To start using Butterfly for free, please email email@example.com.
Webinar: Mitigating the Organizational Impact of the Epidemic
Register for this webinar to hear from a panel of R3 Continuum‘s industry experts as they discuss ways organizations can mitigate the financial, human, and operational impact in the wake of an epidemic crisis.
The panel will walk you through a potential real life example of what can occur to an organization following an epidemic crisis, and share best practices that can be used to ensure you are providing the right level of protection, support, and resources to your organization
Leadership Tips: Managing Fear While Encouraging Hope
In a time of incredible uncertainty, fear and even panic are unavoidable—but business leaders can play a critical role in mitigating this fear and helping employees feel safe and confident. Most business continuity preparedness plans focus solely on logistical, operational, and medical issues, neglecting the emotional impact of a crisis. This is a gap that business leaders must fill to ensure the continued operation of their company and their people.
Here are some leadership tips from R3 Continuum that have proven effective to manage fear and encourage hope and resilience in past public health challenges:
- Task 1: Maximize employee trust and effectively communicate risk and health information.
- Task 2: Maximize adaptive behavior change.
- Task 3: Reduce negative social and emotional impact and improve healthy coping.
- Task 4: Support key personnel in critical functions.
Best Leadership Practices in an Outbreak
The outbreak of the coronavirus has already cost businesses billions of dollars of lost revenue, and experts estimate that this is only set to continue. In this time of panic and uncertainty, corporate leaders must step up to secure supplies, keep fearful employees motivated to work, and keep their business plans on course.
According to Korn Ferry’s professionals, leaders can help their organizations navigate the outbreak by adopting six best practices.
1. Lead with agility and humility. Senior executives must lead from the front, exhibiting the values and behaviors they expect from their team. They have to be agile in a crisis, willing to rely on the opinions and decisions of other experts and alter their leadership style depending on the needs of the workforce. For example, a participative style of leadership where decisions are made through consensus is best in the early stages of the outbreak, but a more directive approach may be in order once the virus has run its course.
2. Prioritize explicit and transparent communication. Leaders have to communicate clearly and quickly to be in the front of potential issues and counter misinformation. Communications should be targeted to each stakeholder constituency based on their unique set of concerns—whether it is employees, partners, vendors, or investors.
3. Keep the business running securely. Right now, the focus of executive teams should be to keep their employees feeling safe and secure so that operations can continue without pause. Leaders should also find supplementary suppliers to fill in the supply holes created by the shutdown of Chinese companies.
4. Manage remote workers effectively. With schools and factories closing in countries across the world, business leaders will need to invest in capabilities that allow their workers to work remotely and stay productive. In addition to engagement issues, this could bring up another dilemma: keeping company property and networks secure.
5. Focus on engagement. Leaders already struggle to keep employees engaged, but gathering employee feedback through pulse surveys can help. There are three keys to effective surveys: listen to employees, act on the feedback, and communicate what has been done as a result.
6. Embrace a shared sense of purpose. It can be easy to abandon company values when profits are on the line, but organizations should work to leverage a short-term tragedy that hurts their organizations into a sense of purpose and community that strengthens culture in the long term.
Majority of Leaders Feel Prepared for Outbreak Response
According to a recent Paychex study of 300 business leaders, 66 percent of U.S. business owners say they are prepared should the coronavirus become widespread. Additionally, the research shows that 59 percent of business owners have a business continuity plan in place to address potential business disruptions.
To date, the business impact of the coronavirus has been limited, with 51 percent of respondents saying it has had no impact. Those who have felt effects cite concern among employees as the top impact (25 percent), followed by business travel delays (16 percent), and supply chain disruptions (13 percent).
Businesses are generally prepared to contend with any business effects, with 83 percent reporting that they would continue operations or and 84 percent ready to withstand a temporary supply chain delay with no repercussions. Seventy-five percent say they have enough cash or credit to survive any interruptions in operations.
Webinar: Navigating the Complicated World of Absence Management and Leave Laws
With so many federal, state and local leave and accommodation laws, employers are struggling to manage them all. Join Fasion Group along with Marjory Robertson, AVP and Senior Counsel at Sun Life Financial, to learn about the major risks and liabilities employers can face as a result of recent EEOC rulings related to ADA. Marjory will also present some common scenarios, which highlight the pitfalls of ineﬀectively administering FMLA and ADA leaves.
The webinar will stream on April 9, 2020 at 2pm EST. Attendees have the opportunity to receive both SHRM and HRCI credit at the completion of the webinar.
10 Strategies to Manage Corporate Risk During Coronavirus
What do U.S. companies need to know in order to minimize the immediate and long-term effects of the coronavirus outbreak on their bottom line? Federal Attorney Nick Oberheiden shares 10 strategies for a proactive response.
- Monitor the most current and accurate information to avoid overestimating or underestimating the risk.
- Look beyond the company and assess the risks associated with contracted suppliers, both within and outside of the U.S.
- Do not neglect to consider the risks associated with second tier and third tier indirect suppliers.
- Maintain internal and external transparency if the company encounters an issue linked to COVID-19.
- Evaluate and execute pre-established risk avoidance and disaster management protocols.
- Do not lose sight of ongoing statutory and regulatory compliance obligations. Continue to maintain compliance at the local, state, and federal levels.
- Make decisions with the necessary breadth of perspective, taking all relevant factors into account.
- Be prepared to adapt the response plan in the event that circumstances change.
- Respond immediately in the event of an actual or potential crisis.
- Maintain a long-term, growth-oriented perspective so that the company is prepared to resume regular operations at the end of the outbreak.
“While the risk to human life is obviously the greatest concern linked to any type of outbreak, companies need to think in practical terms, and this means consciously assessing the risks of the novel coronavirus for their bottom lines,” Oberheiden says. “Stock prices are tumbling across the board, and while the market will eventually recover, some companies will undoubtedly fare better than others.”
Combating Labor Lawsuits
As the coronavirus continues to prompt quarantines and disrupt the global supply chain, companies are facing another looming threat: virus-related labor lawsuits.
“For employers, a potential pandemic raises significant employee safety and health issues and the possibility of employer liability, and we haven’t seen a new illness that is this contagious in a very long time” says Sloane Ackerman, labor and employment litigator in the New York office of international law firm O’Melveny & Myers.
She recommends several practices to combat the threat.
- Take reasonable steps to protect employees by informing them on compliance with occupational safety and health requirements.
- Consider limiting larger meetings and encouraging employees to telecommute. Alternative schedules are another option that could prevent employees from taking public transportation during rush hour.
- Limit non-essential business trips and overseas travel to coronavirus hot zones. Companies should also require employees to report personal travel to certain CDC-identified countries (China, Iran, Italy, Japan, South Korea) to a designated company official.
- Require employees who may have been exposed to the virus to stay home for the 14-day incubation period. Maintain flexible policies so that employees are not forced to stay home without pay or use valuable vacation and sick time. If they fail to take these measures, organizations run the risk of employees hiding pertinent information from their employer or failing to quarantine themselves.
Prepare for the worst and update contingency plans.
Checkster Offers Free Reference Checking for Coronavirus Front Lines
As the number of coronavirus-related job listings surge, Checkster is making it easier for government, health care and nonprofit employers to battle the pandemic by opening up all of its services free of charge to any organization hiring to help combat the rapid spread of COVID-19.
Organizations eligible for free reference checking services include:
- Healthcare organizations needing to ramp up hiring
- Biotech and testing organizations
- Retailers opening up their parking lots and staffing to accommodate the drive-thru testing units
- Government agencies working on setting up screening and testing zones
- Nonprofits helping out those in need
- Research organizations
Checkster’s checking and onboarding tools will be offered at no charge throughout the pandemic with no cap on the amount of free tools available.
To benefit from this program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Podcast: The Coronavirus and Your Mobile Workforce
The Coronavirus is challenging HR and corporate relocation managers in unprecedented ways. In this webinar, Weichert‘s subject matter experts discuss the virus’ impact on mobility, offer timely advice for keeping employees out of harm’s way, and provide insight to how other companies worldwide are tackling this problem.
Latest Updates on Coronavirus and the Mobile Workforce
The novel coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19 is a global issue, and its impact on talent mobility evolves quickly. Given the unprecedented response to this virus, Weichert has developed a resource to provide all corporate mobility professionals with the latest best practices and strategies for managing mobile employees in the face of Coronavirus.
Breaking News in Global Talent Mobility
With over 700,000 reported cases of the coronavirus, its impact is growing—and so are its global economic effects. In an attempt to halt the spread of the virus, companies have begun relocating their China-based employees and canceling annual events in surrounding areas. Europe has also felt the impact, with Italy becoming the first country outside of China to completely restrict travel within and across its borders.