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Aghatise: What employers must do for employees to survive COVID-19

Aghatise: What employers must do for employees to survive COVID-19
August 05
00:07 2020

Onyeka Aghatise, human relations manager with one of the big four international energy companies, has prescribed how Nigerian businesses need to do to maintain the wellbeing of their workforce throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Speaking via TheCable Live interview with Oge Ekeanyanwu on Saturday, Aghatise said employers must recognise that this is a difficult time for employees and should act accordingly.

“For employers, recognize that this is a difficult time for employees. Let your employees see you are showing empathy. Pay attention to changes in productivity, either upwards or downwards, and listen to the polls of your organization,” she said.

“Invest in some training; free resources. Provide support when you can. Physically, also reduce the exposure at work, control, and mitigate. Give the employees the assurance they have a safe working environment.

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“Stay connected. Ensure people know how the business is going, what the business is experiencing and ensure they understand what they are contributing.

“Generally, stay connected, make sure you are making provisions for mental wellbeing, invest in it. Finally, ensure people understand where the business is and what they are contributing”

‘2020 IS THE GLOBAL YEAR OF CHANGE’

Speaking on how employees can maintain social and personal wellbeing in the light of working from home, the HR guru said 2020 has been the year of change, suggesting that employees learn how to handle change.

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“One of the big things having this impact on wellbeing is change. It is one of the biggest hazard,” she added.

“If you take out the physical hazards and threat to your physical being as an employee, change is one of the biggest causes of stress for employees.

“If 2020 had a tag line, it would be the year of change. In terms of solutions, I would say work within your sphere of control and influence.”

‘TRAIN HR MANAGERS TO IDENTIFY MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES’

She said one way to survive the times is for businesses to also make sure “we get our managers trained to identify mental health concerns”.

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“The way we see mental health in Nigeria is highly stigmatized, it is something people find hard to share. The reality is one of every four persons in the world at some point will struggle with mental health.

“If you step into a room of 10 people, two and a half people at some point will have struggled with it. Employees will struggle as long as they don’t see that space where they can have that conversation.

“Replacing social interaction with something virtual is very important. Making sure you continue to build that team culture.

“Whatever team culture you’ve established can be undone in the pandemic. Encourage employees to call each other offline. Ensure you create an environment people can continue to stay connected.

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“Engagement, productivity, mental wellbeing are all interlinked. Many bodies of research support that an employee in good mental health will be a productive employee”

You can watch the full interview here.

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