Keeping employees is a challenge even in the best of times. It takes a lot of work on the part of your Human Resources department to make sure that people are able to work as a team, that they are getting paid fairly and that they are healthy and happy at work.

When there is a recession or a global pandemic, it is harder than ever, but also of utmost importance that your employees are taken care of. After all, without them you wouldn’t have a business.

Motivating them when their minds are justifiably elsewhere is crucial as your business is facing some serious hurdles to stay afloat and employees that don’t have their heart in it could sink you. Then there is the task of making sure they can work safely when there is a pandemic going on.

In this article, I will go over several ways that you can keep your employees focused and happy so you can get through the crisis with as little damage as possible.

1 – Make sure they are paid

Besides their health, employees worry most about their money when there is a recession or crisis. Feeling like they might struggle financially is anxiety inducing and can end up causing health problems related to stress.

When they know they are going to be paid what they are owed, paid on time and will continue to be paid in the future then they will feel less anxious about their situation.

This also extends to their insurance in case they get sick. Make sure to have good policies in place that don’t end up costing your employees a fortune in deductibles and copays. Having a form of disability that covers them if they are going to be out of work for a while is also important. Make sure to check your disability policy and make any upgrades necessary to keep them paid if they end up getting sick.

2 – Make the workplace safe

If you are going to be open for work and expect your employees to come in, then you have to provide a safe workplace for them. If they don’t feel like their safety is being managed then they are likely to either move on, or take vacation or sick leave until they feel it’s safe to come back into work.

Have the workplace disinfected and give employees the equipment and material they need to not spread or catch germs. Also, have a solid plan in place and communicate it to your employees clearly so they understand what is being done to keep them safe.

3 – Allow work from home

Having employees work from home when possible is a win-win for both your and them. They can stay safe and healthy in the comfort of their home and still get the work done. You get the benefit of being able to keep your office down to a skeleton crew to reduce the chance of a contagion spreading through your workforce.

You can also save money when more of your employees are at home by using less resources to keep a full office up and running.

Not having a commute can also add to their peace of mind. Long commutes correlate with a lower quality of life in many studies. If an employee can cut that out of their life they are happier overall and are far more productive. Plus, they are wasting less time on their way to work that can be spent working.

4 – Recognize their sacrifices

It may be unavoidable to have to cut workers’ pay when you are dealing with an especially acute recession or crisis. You don’t want to lose them so make sure this is a measure of last resort and is temporary. As soon as things turn around you need to pay them full salaries again.

Make sure they understand all of this and that you appreciate the hard work they are doing. You may even try to negotiate some discounts on items that you can then give to your workers as a sign of your appreciation and to extend the goodwill.

5 – Let them help make decisions

Just like there are no stupid questions, there are no stupid suggestions when it comes to brainstormingfor ideas to weather the storm.

Let your employees also be part of the decision making process. They will feel more valuable if they think their concerns are heard and are part of the solution that works to keep the company afloat and their jobs safe.