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Supporting Your Workforce in a Pandemic Environment (Conclusion)

Offering encouragement, making yourself available are among best ways to help

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. — It’s been nearly a year since the coronavirus pandemic was declared a national emergency and COVID-19 became a term everyone is familiar with. No matter where your laundry is located, it’s no doubt been impacted in some fashion.

“Unfortunately, we don’t know how long the pandemic will go on but we do know that business owners and managers need to be prepared for this to be a marathon, not a sprint,” says Abby Schmidt, partnership development manager for Paychex.

Her company, a nationally known payroll services and human resources solutions firm, presented a webinar for the Coin Laundry Association on supporting your workforce impacted by COVID-19.

Part 1 of this article looked at a business owner’s priorities while managing through the pandemic and how employees think managers can best help support their mental health while working under current conditions. Let’s conclude with some specific tips to motivate and hold onto workers:


Offering encouragement to employees and making themselves available to staff are among the best ways that managers can show their support during this time, says Cindy Sechrist, a human resource consultant for Paychex, citing a recent poll performed by the company.

Sechrist offered five tips to motivate and retain employees:

Demonstrate Your Commitment — Employees are generally more motivated when they feel a strong sense of support from their employer and they know where the business is heading.

“In these circumstances, it’s important to place value in your employees and believe that they have the ability to help your business move forward and achieve its goals,” Sechrist says. “Help them to understand how they can contribute every day and let them know what is expected of them.”

Solicit Employee Feedback and Act on Their Ideas — Perceptions of favoritism and/or lack of consideration for ideas can occur in some environments, including family-run businesses that include non-family employees.

“By taking the time to listen, either in person or via surveys or feedback sessions, you can demonstrate that employees’ opinions and ideas do matter and can be worth implementing. Employees feel motivated when they believe that they’re part of what the company is doing rather than feeling that they get paid to do just what’s in their job description.”

Compensation Counts — Compensation is indeed a key motivational factor for employees, Sechrist says.

“We suggest that you design compensation strategies that have a variable component based on incentives and performance bonuses,” she adds. “Incentive compensation cost should be structured in a way where achievement of target results in both a win for the business and a win for the employee.”

Equally important is letting employees know that you’ll be delivering their paycheck on time and accurately.

Recognize Accomplishments — Employees may not respond favorably when you say, “Great job.” They might not even know what you’re referring to.

“Instead, specify what they have done well, so they can continue to improve on that aspect (of their job).”

Celebrate Individual and Team Achievements — Let employees know that their personal and team efforts have contributed to the growth of your company.

“The more they understand how meaningful their jobs are, the more motivated they’ll likely feel to keep up the good work,” Sechrist says. “Take time to formally celebrate the completion of a major project or initiative. Commend employees on their job milestones. Highlight promotions of individuals who’ve come up through the ranks. All of these activities reinforce the sense that we’re all in this together.”


During a question-and-answer period at the end of the webinar, an attendee asked what they could do to build more flexibility and resiliency into their laundry business to counter a new wave of COVID-19 infections and word that new variants of the virus causing the disease are emerging.

“If you don’t have one already, I suggest that you create a business continuity plan,” says Abby Schmidt, partnership development manager for Paychex. “This can forecast timelines and scenarios, if you have to do a full closure, possibly a partial closure. With each, you can identify staffing needs for those different situations.

“This would include determining if furloughs might be necessary, having employee communications in place to determine in advance the notices that might be required. You can also identify state unemployment compensation agencies and the dislocated worker units.”

Paychex is working to put together additional webinars to help familiarize clients like the CLA with the pandemic relief bill signed into law in December, including the availability of enhanced unemployment benefits and small-business loans.

Missed Part 1? You can read it HERE