Facebook How I should consult with staff - Healthy Working Lives

COVID-19 and engaging with staff

Information on engaging with your staff during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

​It’s important that you take the time to involve your workforce in understanding the potential issues and identifying solutions to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace, and agree on the best ways to implement these. 

The pages below will help you do this.

  1. Why I should engage staff in consultation
  2. How I should consult with staff
  3. How I should carry out meetings
  4. What topics I should discuss with staff
  5. Other sources of help and support

2. How I should consult with staff

Conversations should be two way, listening to employees/representatives concerns and suggestions and reaching a position where the business can begin to operate safely.  We’ve developed a toolkit with templates to help conversations. 

Employees who may be considered as vulnerable, should be consulted on a more personal level to help determine how and when they can safely return to work.

The way that you communicate with your staff will vary from organisation to organisation and be dependent on your size and set up.

Some useful tips are

  • make sure that you are able to reach all employees, think about those without access to internet or smart phones
  • make sure important updates reach all employees, this may involve more than one method of communication from texts to mobile phones, use of landline calls and written letters to home postal addresses
  • consider how to involve those working on different premises, shifts or work patterns, full and part time and those self-employed that work for you regularly
  • think about accessibility issues, for instance language barriers or visual impairments and how you might address these with translators or other support services
  • do you have a staff intranet that can be accessed by staff at home that could be used to communicate?
  • where possible use telephone or video conferencing (such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom) which can be accessed on laptops, tablets and smart phones
  • update employees through email, making sure that the information shared is timely, accurate and factual. Some email providers have a voting option built in, you can use this option to quickly capture views on simple questions
  • you could consider setting up a workplace WhatsApp group if your employees have smart phones. Remember that WhatsApp is widely used for social messaging and some people might prefer to keep their social lives and work separate.