How I’m keeping staff engaged while business recovers

Everyone can feel stressed during a crisis, and that includes your staff. How can you make sure your team stays positive and focused? During a Zoom call on April 28, three MDRT members shared how they are connecting with their employees.

MDRT members:

Anant Jain, AFP, CFP

Miliana, CFP

Sherry Lee Ong

AJ: I personally believe, instead of pay cuts, we should actually give a little bit more help to them. Say if you’re paying X amount, add a certain amount maybe in kind, not in cash, and give it to them to keep them motivated. I mean, my driver is not here, he’s not working right now, but I can’t cut his salary or something. So I believe hand-holding at this particular point of time will make them slowly and gradually realize that this is the company I would like to work with and move ahead with me personally.

For my staff engagement, I’ve started up a Big Brother game. In India, we call it “Bigg Boss.” When there is a lockdown, there are a couple of celebrities in the house, and they are asked to do a couple of tasks. What we are doing right now in this particular time is giving all these staff members four tasks apart from the office work that they have to do. One is on their health, so they have to do the assigned yoga activity for 30 seconds. They have to share a video doing a particular activity with their family, say, making tea and serving them, or an activity of talking to a client or a colleague and explaining a product.

A couple of such activities are being shared every day just to keep them engaged, because everyone is free. Apart from the tasks that they have to do regularly, they are free. So I think just engaging them and keeping them motivated is helping.

M: Of course, now there are not so many things my staff can do, because all of the processes are online, where previously staff handled the documents for claims. My company has already launched the e-claim, where the client can just upload their document in the apps. So everything just goes online and virtual. Of course, I will not fire my staff member because I believe that, in this time, she still needs the money as well. So I tried to change the job description. I asked her to help me when I’m doing the Zoom meetings for my customer gatherings.

So she is the one who becomes the host and selects the people.

I also asked my staff to help me design my PowerPoint presentations, and edit my videos and recordings so that I can deliver them to my clients. These are the things where I need the support from my staff. But it is not so easy because my staff has no big plan for handling the IT things. So I asked my staff to learn how to do it.

SO: If there are company trainings available, then I enroll my staff to it, and then provide an additional benefit for health care. Also, the salary did not stop. I just want them to make sure that they don’t go out of their houses, and they will be healthy when things go back to normal. I’m also encouraging them to have online training for self-improvement. So I’m not really giving them the task to do the business right now. So I’m handling everything on my end as far as servicing. As far as the new applications coming, it’s me who’s handling it right now because I’m also aware of the data privacy that might be breached if I have to tell my staff to go online and facilitate the applications and the claims.

I’m also just making sure that they’re OK, asking how they are every now and then, because they have to feel important, and they have to feel secure about their job. Because, as I was telling my colleagues, if we need the money, they need it more. So it’s our way of thanking them also for their services by not really copping their income. We are not obliged to pay them if they don’t go to work, but this situation is different. So human compassion and humanitarian reasons come in — the social responsibility of helping. If we can donate to others who are asking for donations, why can’t we do that to people who are around us, and to people who help us with our business?

The first thing to do for me, before we help others, is make sure that our staff or the people that serve and help us with our business, should come first.

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