In this the 3rd in a series of newsletters addressing Crisis Leadership, we’d like to help by sharing additional techniques being utilized by experienced, virtual leaders:

  • Recognizing the Increased Importance of ‘Your Employees’ Experience’
  • Preventing Your Employees from Feeling Detached
  • Leading from Home – by Not Acting Like You are Remote

Recognizing the Increased Importance of ‘Your Employees’ Experience’

COVID leadership necessitates an acknowledgment that employees are concerned about their families, health & jobs. And motivating those employees who are in a reactive mindset requires a proactive leadership style.

Protecting the jobs & health of employees while maintaining business continuity is the current role of leaders. But business for the near term is about employees versus profits & margins. There is no question that everyone’s revenue will take a hit. But if we remain focused on employees, it will allow us to successfully come out of this crisis sooner. Today is far from business as usual.

Effective leaders are sending the message that they care about their employees & have empathy for what they are going through. And the more time leaders spend addressing the human aspects of their organizations, the more likely their employees will be in the mindset to respond with the commitment that organizations need.

Preventing Your Employees from Feeling Detached

There’s a certain energy associated with working around other people. And when employees work remotely over a period of time, they lose that workplace energy & can begin to feel like a piece of machinery. And remote worker burnout is a real concern.

Leaders in some brand name organizations are:

  • Replacing that lost energy by reaching out to team members to see how they are doing emotionally in managing their new work environment & reduced social contact
  • Staying connected with remote employees on both a human & a professional level
  • Having more frequent one on ones, even if brief

Some organizations are:

  • Having senior leaders email announcements, record videoconferences & even better, joining departments’ virtual meetings
  • Asking team members to share pictures of their home workplaces, pets, children or hobbies. This might seem like a waste of your company’s resources but if the team were in the office, they would be doing some of these things

Employees’ ability to refocus & adapt to their current work environment is tied, in part, to their leader’s ability to respond to their new needs. Isolation on top of anxiety can take a massive swipe at a person’s well-being. 

Leading from Home – by Not Acting Like You are Remote

Leaders are also assisting by sharing up-to-date information from trustworthy sources. Many are purposely over-communicating using multiple channels – website, intranet, newsletters, emails – to help employees ‘hear’, understand & retain the information.

According to a very recent WorldatWork poll:

  • 35% of employers are communicating with their remote employees every few days
  • 29% every day
  • and 21% every other day

The topics being most frequently discussed are:

  • Telework tips – 19%
  • Health tips – 17%
  • Benefit information – 16%
  • Government reports – 15%
  • Motivational messages – 13%
  • Financial impact on the business – 9%
  • Useful resources – 7%

Stew Leonard’s Grocery Store in Norwalk, Conn. asked their employees to submit their questions pertaining to protecting themselves from the virus. The store then had a physician answer those questions in a video shown to all employees.

Information from leaders:

  • Provides employees needed guidance & direction
  • Reduces employee anxiety
  • Demonstrates that their leader is concerned about them, is knowledgeable & has a plan
  • Helps to minimize the tendency of some to make up stuff & gossip to fill the void of what employees don’t know.

Employees are anxious – so many leaders are demonstrating selfless leadership by communicating with their teams more frequently than ever.

Quote: “Gas is finally affordable, but we can’t go anywhere!”

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