Motivation for employees in times of crisis

December 06, 2021
Motivation for employees in times of crisis

By: Isamari Castrodad

Motivation is the set of factors that determine, in part, a person’s actions. In labor terms, motivation is a company’s ability to make its employees feel committed to a positive development and optimal performance that is aligned with its business objectives.

Ideally, the goal is to always maintain a favorable work environment, but in times of crisis this is even more important because challenges are greater. We have faced countless events during the last years and, recently, the workplace underwent a dramatic transformation due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Because of this, it has been necessary to implement protocols and changes in employee management to maintain efficiency and, in many instances, ensure business sustainability.

A crisis causes a profound change, it’s an abrupt break in continuity; therefore, it’s inevitable that it generates transformation. In any crisis we can notice signs that alert us about the impact it is having on workers. Some of the signs are: low productivity, absenteeism, careless appearance, changes in behavior patterns, discouragement, and resignations.

Choice theory states that we cannot control what happens, but we can control how we react. At the workplace, being proactive and designing a prevention and motivation plan could make the difference between a business’s success or failure.

Here are some options to motivate the work group in times of crisis:

  • Set protocols and clear contingency plans that consider the company’s needs as well as those of employees. This transmits trust, security and empathy.


— Have emergency drills and share up-to-date information on disaster prevention and protection
— Provide insurance options for employees and family members
— Set up support alliances to cover basic needs in case of emergencies (food, gasoline or basic items)
— Establish a system so payroll payments can be more flexible in the event of an emergency

  • Create an incentive plan that could include financial bonuses as well as other rewards like recognitions, job flexibility, promotional items, tickets to events, snacks, and gift cards.
  • Maintain effective communication and open communication channels. Promote a culture of open doors, constant access, and less rigid hierarchical relationships in which employees feel comfortable sharing their concerns, suggestions, or worries. This will promptly address situations that could otherwise get out of hand and become problems. In addition, it strengthens the concept of teamwork, reduces anxiety, and promotes healthy interactions.
  • Add flexibility to aspects that do not compromise security

— At the office:

  • Provide options to make physical workspaces more flexible, as well as the dress code or any other aspect that doesn’t affect the operation

— In remote mode:

  • In virtual meetings, reduce constant on-camera exposure as it can increase anxiety and not everyone has a suitable or flexible environment
  • Provide technological tools like phones, laptops, support material such as headsets or extra batteries
  • Respect non-working hours
  • Make vacation time and leave more flexible, as necessary
  • Provide support resources such as a confidential psychological helpline, motivational talks, development workshops and training opportunity for job growth.
  • Transform the physical workspace to make it pleasant.
  • Encourage employees to share ideas that improve productivity and implement those that are in line with the company’s values and policies.
  • Promote social responsibility and involve employees in service tasks.
  • Reinforce the sense of belonging and highlight good work practices with messages of recognition.
  • Clearly review the company’s mission and objectives and make sure that the management group leads by example.

Effectively implementing these and other workplace practices will allow any organization to have a group of employees who are motivated, committed, and willing to grow with the company. These actions will redound to benefits for all parties.

Isamari Castrodad has served as corporate communications and business development executive. Currently heads the positive communication platform MÁS con Isamari Castrodad, and produces and hosts television projects focusing on wellness and quality of life. In addition, she is a strategic communications and content development advisor, an opinion columnist in the Buscapié section of El Nuevo Día newspaper, and author of the book Un propósito, historias de fe, bienestar y esperanza (A Purpose: Stories of Faith, Well-being, and Hope). Through the Guías con Propósito (Guidelines with a Purpose) project, she offers motivational talks and workshops on personal development, effective communication, and corporate training to reinforce service and teamwork aspects. You can get more information at

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