Consider the Positive Impacts of COVID-19 on your employees and company culture.
As an HR Leader, I have been at the forefront of this pandemic. To date, I have helped companies navigate the consequences of its adverse effects, such as layoffs, securing government-backed loans, calming employee anxiety, mitigating employee isolation, and developing crisis management and communication plans.
However, there are positive effects that are going unnoticed, which are occurring as people innovate, adapt, and pull together as a community. Watching these transformations happen—companies moving entirely virtual, getting creative in their approach to work, and an openness to change—has given me inspiration to think deeper from a company culture perspective. What if, after this is all over, we keep the right parts of this pandemic, parts such as an improved way of working, connecting, supporting, and delivering? What might that look like for you and your business?
From an HR perspective, I have seen more innovation and adoption of change at a higher rate in the last four to six weeks than I typically see over years. As I work with clients to implement HR best practices, innovate, and create culture transformations, I find that most people thrive on a routine. Asking business owners, leaders, and employees to consider a different way to do things can often be paralyzing. However, the pandemic has forced a change to survive. Here are just two, of several, impactful areas where you can retain and capitalize on the innovation and culture transformations that are now underway:
Innovation & Documentation
Employees are creating new habits to deliver results and meet client expectations. First, reinforce their innovative thoughts. Such changes should be appreciated, acknowledged, and discussed as permanent changes.
Next, ask employees to document their innovations, processes, and habit changes. When people sit back down at their desks in a few weeks—they will inevitably return to their old habits and processes. If they have the updated process documented, it becomes permanent. This reinforces that it isn’t just something done during a pandemic.
Creating and Maintaining a Community
Companies are hyper-active on creating forums, virtual events, and discussions to keep employees engaged and connected to replace the day-to-day interaction found in an office. However, just because two employees sit next to each other every day doesn’t mean they connect or even speak to one another. The forums that are connecting people during this time aren’t replacing in-person “normal office interaction”—they are creating an entirely new connection that will improve work experience. These touchpoints are the connections that make a company a “best place to work.” Utilize your HR team to develop ways to capture these types of employee experiences through topic discussions, continuous group learning, charity work, and celebrations.
Additionally, leaders have an opportunity to show up authentically during this shared experience. Seize this opportunity and carry it forward. Leaders can show they don’t have all the answers during this uncertain time, but leaders also have the opportunity to instill certainty for those good and popular changes that employees now want. Safeguard this shared experience, maintain the genuine connection you are making with your employees through regular updates, expressing your values, and showing your steady calmness through day-to-day operations.
How will you capture the positives of this pandemic for your company’s future? Unsure? Global Solutions’ Human Capital Practice can help.
Note: This article is the first of a series on the positive evolutional impacts of COVID-19 on small businesses.