I had the opportunity to speak at a conference to discuss the return phase as the PH economy reopens in spite of rising covid-19 cases. I addressed the question of how might the PH companies return stronger and safer in the next normal.
I dived into the 3 strategies and key practical actions:
1) Commitment of the organisation to safety, wellbeing and effectiveness.
Emotions are information and signals to us what we should pay attention to. Companies can hold mental wellness breaks where your teams can "take off their shoes and enter into a cosy and safe space to relax." This can be like meditation, mindfulness session, games, art or fitness activity.
To foster trust and bring out creativity, bosses can create metrics and system where the desired outcomes are clearly articulated so that employees are able to work at their own pace. This way, the productivity can be monitored efficiently, everyone can work productively and feel positively.
With no clear delineation between work and home during the lockdown, a household without domestic support and with kids learning from home including caring responsibilities to elderly parents, bosses should consider that even your great employees will not be able to do productive work in this context during this time;
2) Build on trust and affiliation – We have seen that empathy is a leadership quality and vital in building a positive environment. It is very difficult to navigate your team through your goals without understanding their pain points. Checking in on your people is as important as any kind of work-related discussion. It will significantly help to prioritise actions that would address a broad set of needs for the majority of your employees. Also, encourage them to engage with their fellow employees and allow connection to develop amongst them. As we know, in threatening situations, the human beings' evolutionary response is fight or flight but also our response can be to seek a community for support and understanding. In studies, it showed that access to a social network increases human capability. Inclusion and belongingness after all is a psychological need. We naturally find a trusting community to fill this need. And this is particularly true to those employees who are far from their families during the lockdown.
3) Connect your people to values that are higher and bigger than themselves. With no solution yet in sight, reframing the events and emotions to find productive alternatives empowers employees to tell a different narrative. So, linking employee conversation to the why, the bigger picture and to how this will be implemented in practise can be a turning point. The silver lining of the covid-19 pandemic is that leaders are born in crisis. So, you can watch up for people rising to the occassion. For that reason, chunking up the conversation is particularly compelling as employees will be able to see how they can play critical roles not just in the business transformation but also in personal matters in the next normal.