Why building resilience and team spirit during a crisis is decisive for a company’s future
In times of crisis, the employees and their ability to cope with the difficult situation are of big importance for a company’s future development. Workflows and processes change drastically, and a leader must support his employees in such times. Appropriate support can be challenging since communication is restricted. Yet, communication is a major factor in keeping up a company’s vision and spirit in tough times. Also, strong social relationships at work relieve stress and anxiety and facilitate the workflow. A crisis can be frightening but with the right approach, a company will have the ability to face and emerge stronger from the crisis by building resilience.
There is current uncertainty among employees all around the world due to COVID-19. Those worries concern topics like job- and therefore, financial security. In the meanwhile, many employers have sent their employees home. Companies, dependent on projects and contracts worry about their future and workflows have changed drastically. The employee as the driving gear is in the centre of all those dramatic changes. How does a leader accomplish to keep his employees at it in times like these and how can a team emerge from the crisis not only undamaged but strengthened?
Real-time, honesty and openness are keywords in terms of crisis communication. Care should be taken not to spread more uncertainty, but facts that concern the company and its future should not be glossed over. Transparency about future perspectives is a must and employees need to be informed quickly and comprehensively via newsletters or online-meetings as soon as changes occur that apply to them. Furthermore, open and empathetic communication will help employees to cope with the situation. The feeling that the company has their back will relieve anxiety and facilitate the workflow.
Keep up the Spirit
A long-term study by Collins and Porras empirically demonstrates the importance of corporate visions. Companies with a vision outperformed the overall market by 15 times. Those “Big Hairy Ambitious Goals” as Porras and Collins say, are of huge importance for a company’s team spirit.  Having a goal in sight will facilitate the process of achievement and a shared vision unites employee and employer in times of crisis. A great vision is meaningful, motivating and action leading.
Meetings are held online, and people work out of the remote. Personal relationships at work do no longer exist in the way they used to as colleagues do not have the possibility of a little coffee break and a quick chat anymore. The factor of social relationships at work used to be one of the most important in terms of job satisfaction and loyalty. In times of home office and reduced working hours, it is difficult to offer a similar social network experience to employees, yet it is more important than ever. Strengthening personal relationships is possible throughout the distance: Open and empathetic communication via phone or video call on a regular basis is what nourishes a relationship. Problems and worries want to be heard and a leader should be willing to listen.
The emotional stress caused by the pressure of crisis may lead to a drop in performance. In the beginning, the confrontation with the triggering situation can be shocking. This is followed by a phase of conflict. Especially in this stage, it is important to strengthen the cohesion of a company. As soon as the changes and the associated losses due to the crisis are noted, the real work can begin. With creativity, optimism and willingness to take risks, a company will have the ability to materialize crisis like COVID-19 and develop resilience. Those stages can be frightening by times and not only employees need support in present days. The Happiness Management Institut offers a training, tailored for managers and leaders to improve leadership skills that are necessary to give employees the required support in times of COVID-19 in such a way as to enable a team to emerge from a crisis not only undamaged but strengthened.
 Collins, J. C., & Porras, J. (1994). 1.(1994). Built to Last: successful habits of visionary companies. New York, FHarper-Business.