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Weathering COVID-19: Leadership and trust

Employees Have Low Trust in Their Organization’s Leadership and Ability to Weather the Storm

In just a matter of days, US employers have gone from struggling to find and keep employees, to deserted offices and dire job loss forecasts.

The coronavirus global pandemic has created an unprecedented level of stress on workers and employers, with no end in sight.

New polling finds that employees are pessimistic on many fronts, but organizations can lean into their culture to overcome the many obstacles on the uncertain road ahead.

“Culture is what holds an organization together,
so it’s never been more critical to lean hard into culture during these tough times to build a sense of community and support among the workforce.”

– Melissa Jezior, Eagle Hill Consulting President and CEO


Here are strategies employers can implement to support employees through the crisis, and enable them to better perform and more effectively work together both now and post-crisis.

Set a clear vision for the crisis:

An often-overlooked component of crisis management is taking the time amidst chaos to articulate the end goals. Doing so sets the stage for everyone to explicitly work towards the same objective and ensures actions and decisions are aligned to the priorities of the organization.

Eagle Hill Consulting’s COVID-19 Crisis Vision Statement

  • Do our part to help “flatten the curve”
  • Keep our employees safe & well
  • Focus on helping our clients

Lean on your culture and core values:

Now is the time to lean into your culture and core values to guide how you and your organization will achieve your vision. Draw out specific core values and culture elements in your verbal and written communication—and encourage leaders to do the same. Model a “We vs. Me” mentality.

Show up as a real person:

More than ever, employees are looking for authenticity. Use personal storytelling to connect with others at the human level. To help build trust and lower anxiety, strive to communicate these various stories early and often. Be as transparent as possible, explaining what you know and what you don’t know.

Empower employees to find creative solutions:

Your employees know best what they need in this moment, so bring them into the conversation. Listen to their challenges and encourage them to play an active role in solving for those challenges. Seek out employee perspectives on how the organization can meet the objectives of the crisis vision.


The 2020 Eagle Hill Consulting COVID-19 Workplace Impact Survey was conducted online by Ipsos from March 17-19, 2020, and included a random sample of 1,032 employees across the United States.

How can your organization make the transition to remote work as smooth as possible for employees? Our two must-watch webinars have the tips you need.