Below, T. Maccarthy Kpaan, a Recruitment Manager at Last Mile Health in Liberia, draws on his experience responding to Ebola to provide tips on supporting colleagues during times of uncertainty.
With the global spread of COVID-19, I have found myself recounting the experience of living and working during the unprecedented Ebola crisis in Liberia and the impact it left on our workplaces and society as a whole.
We learned during Ebola that supporting, encouraging, and inspiring an organization’s most critical resources–its employees–cannot be overemphasized. It’s easier to replace your material and financial resources than it is to replace your human resources or the people who further your mission. A dear colleague, a top talent, or someone with institutional memory is irreplaceable.
That is why, during this period of uncertainty, you must prioritize your staff. Make sure they know how much they are valued and supported. You don’t know how much a colleague needs to hear words of encouragement. Personally, I’m saying the following to my colleague: “Be strong!” “Hang-in there!” “All is not lost!” “Stay safe!”.
The world is going through fear, stress, pain, and agony. While we have all had to adjust to a new way of life, “social distancing” is not the usual way of life, we also have an opportunity to change how we connect with friends, loved ones, and colleagues.
As we adjust to the mental health implications from the virus, there is no better time than now to ensure the psychological health of employees. It is essential that employees and employers alike are able to keep safe while supporting the organizational mission. In times like these, staff will feel encouraged to keep the wheels of the organization turning (remotely, or from offices if they are essential staff) if they know they are being supported to remain resilient in the face of uncertainty and during this time of anguish and estrangement from families and loved ones.
We can all take to care of our colleagues by:
- Sharing regular updates on the Covid-19 situation
- Supporting staff to work successfully from home
- Providing a platform where staff can remain consistently connected and engage with each other
As countries expand restrictions on social contact, I am more confident than ever that this, too, shall pass. Eventually, things will return to normal. Our world will be healed and happy again.
Until then, we must continue to do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19 and unite around a shared commitment for a healthier, safer world for everyone.