The Human Resource: Engaging the workforce in a crisis

As business leaders, it is more critical now to demonstrate strong leadership values and ethics in how you treat your employees and how you create and maintain a life-work balance. That includes the safety and protection of the workforce while building sustainable processes and practices that enable you to continue providing your products and services to your customers and clients.

The Human Resource: Engaging the workforce in a crisis

WARREN COOK

By Warren Cook -President and co-founder of SymbianceHR

The COVID-19 crisis has impacted us all in ways that may take years or a lifetime to reflect upon and understand. As businesses begin to reopen and emerge from the shutdown, our workforce — the employees we value and need to succeed — are emerging from a stay at home lockdown that can be a traumatic experience.

The myriad challenges today include returning to a new normal work environment with changes to working conditions. Those changes include moving from remote locations back to the regular physical office and dealing with the stress of civil unrest, protests or riots, on top of a Covid-19 virus that has no cure, and the risk of death. They all combine to create a traumatic situation for many of the people in our community.

As business leaders, it is more critical now to demonstrate strong leadership values and ethics in how you treat your employees and how you create and maintain a life-work balance. That includes the safety and protection of the workforce while building sustainable processes and practices that enable you to continue providing your products and services to your customers and clients.

Three important considerations as we emerge from the stay-at-home lockdown to support your strategy for success.

Employees will have genuine, valid, and realistic fears and concerns when asked to return to a physical work location. Do not demonstrate a disrespectful attitude or communication style by “ordering” people to return to the work location. Instead, develop a communication strategy and alternative working conditions that allow these concerns to be addressed and resolved collaboratively. Treat all employees fairly and collaborate with them through an interactive process to determine how to achieve a win-win situation for the employee and the business.
The employer, as always, has a legal obligation to provide a safe workplace for their employees. This means following all local, state, and federal guidelines and regulations to meet safety standards in the workplace. This includes but is not limited to social distancing, remote work when possible, disinfecting the worksite, monitoring the health of the staff, and communicating timely and honestly about positive test results in the workforce that require quarantine or migration back to remote working conditions to avoid the spread of the virus.
Establish policies to handle the new work processes and practices and provide training to all people leaders and the employees. Failure to communicate consistently, transparently, and timely with trust, respect and engagement could lead to employee relations issues that you don’t need right now on top of all the other challenges your business is facing.
Remember your obligations to keep certain matters confidential, to protect the rights of your employees, and to ensure their safety while under your management. The more effective you can be as leaders during this crisis, the more evident it will be that you become an employer of choice who treats people with dignity and respect, which leads to community approval and sustainable business success.

Wishing you all good health and safety during these challenging times.
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About Warren Cook
Warren is the President and co-founder of SymbianceHR and provides strategic oversight for service delivery, business operations, and technical guidance on consulting engagements. He is a human resources subject matter expert with over 25 years of experience as a strategic human resources business partner, project manager, and people leader across private and public sectors organizations. Warren is responsible for the strategic planning of all client consulting engagements from initial needs assessment and compliance review through delivery of customized strategic solutions that meet the client’s business goals. He has a proven track record of providing executive coaching and guidance to business leaders and human resource professionals at all levels including the C-Suite of Fortune 100 companies. Warren is also the Chief Talent Officer and cofounder of SymbianceHiRe, a Symbiance company dedicated to providing direct placement talent acquisition services and temporary and contract staffing solutions to the business community. Warren holds a B.S. in Human Resource Management, an MBA in Project Management, and a M.S. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Warren is the author of “Applicant Interview Preparation – Practical Coaching for Today.”

Beyond the Covid 19 Shutdown, Returning Workers will be Judging “Workplace Culture”

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Workplace talent drives success. It is not products, not marketing, not demand that ultimately make a company competitive. Don’t fall victim to fear and culture failures during these times. It will inhibit the future health and growth of your company.

Beyond The Covid19 Shutdown, Returning Workers will be Judging “Workplace Culture”

By Gary Occhiogrosso
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

As companies continue to evaluate their business in these challenging times, one of the areas many small business operators, and CEO’s of large companies, are investigating is workplace culture. As we ramp back up, many companies will be seeking employees. Many workers will be very focused on how companies treated their employees, vendors, and customers during the pandemic shutdown. Returning employees will also want to know that they, their work, and their ideas, make a difference. Make no mistake; the job market will be so robust that workers have the opportunity to pick and choose for whom they will work. Companies should take this time to revisit, and if necessary, reinvent their workplace culture if they intend to compete for the most qualified employees. Workplace talent drives success. It is not products, not marketing, not demand that ultimately make a company competitive. Don’t fall victim to fear and culture failures during these times. It will inhibit the future health and growth of your company.

Please review this article in the Harvard Business Review. It clearly and expertly advances the concept of workplace culture and how to improve your approach and practices to best advance your company in the upcoming turnaround.

Excerpt:

    Today’s workforce wants to know that they’re making a difference within their companies. While work cultures are unique to every organization, the foundation of what enables a culture to thrive is the extent to which employees are empowered to be engaged, feel valued, and be heard. This is where leadership comes in.

Read the entire article here at Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2020/04/build-a-culture-that-aligns-with-peoples-values?utm_campaign=hbr&utm_source=linkedin&utm_medium=social
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