I took on the little challenge a few weeks ago to pen a piece that spoke to how things had changed for me on a personal level, be it my little microcosm of life, and where I thought the real gold was – by the way, I’m panning for more as the days roll on.
I’m acutely aware of the amount of content flying around and the words that have been used of which I’m trying desperately not to invoke, those that spell out the captain obvious of things. So, this time I wanted to share some of my observations that I have encountered throughout the last few weeks, from industry thought-leaders, IT leaders to business owners.
There’s been plenty of organisations that are now facing their biggest challenge, some may say that they have already closed the doors and will never return. Some businesses have pivoted to an area which may have never been considered before. One that is front of mind, and no I’m not drinking one at this moment, is Four Pillars Gin, who is now making hand sanitiser. Who would have thought only a few weeks ago Matt Jones and the team would be doing such a thing?
Looking a little deeper, I asked several people for their views on the changes. There was an overriding consensus that many had to rethink their drive, motivation, success along with the connection to clients (either external or internal). Was there a slight pivot in the workings? Some said that it was this time that they found solace in the fact that change was here and they better grab it with both hands. Some also mentioned that they picked up the phone and called every single client and reassured them that they were ok and that they would assist them wherever and whenever.
Interestingly, Jennifer Christie who is head of Twitter’s HR said
We’ll never probably be the same. People who were reticent to work remotely will find that they really thrive that way. Managers who didn’t think they could manage teams that were remote will have a different perspective. I do think we won’t go back.
Adding to this, several key technology people can attest to receiving a call from a C-level executive to respond with technology solutions – those platforms that haven’t been ratified or tested – need to be ready within days. Or instead of having just a few offices, all employee’s homes were now a branch office – oh the complexities. The change has been swift and there’s never been a time like this that we’ve had to reassemble teams remotely for such a prolonged period of time. This is uncharted territory for so many.
Which brings me to my final point of employee engagement, from individuals to small teams and the broader workforce, which PwC has summed it up well.
Engaging with your workforce is no longer about parroting company policies or delivering a new update. It becomes a strategic and critical practice that can boost flagging morale and inspire confidence.
As I’m entering the 5th week of #stayhome, I’ve been fortunate to observe many businesses, including the one I work in, and others from a distance.
The overriding themes that I’m watching play out, and seem to be working right now, are when leaders provide clarity, with purpose, and have fostered a community of collaboration. Sure, this may sound like it’s business as usual, however, when they have purposefully gone about this, I’ve witnessed strength and cohesion unlike before.