The Only Way Forward Is By Putting People First

Posted in Best Practice Thoughts & Culture

by alicia

Now, more than ever, organizations need to prioritize their people.

 

Right now there isn’t a single person who is unaffected by the current state of the world. This is an unprecedented situation on a global scale. Organizations are facing challenges that three months ago were unimaginable.

We are all in this together and as a global community we’ll be banding together to navigate our way through these uncertain times. We want to let everyone know we are in this with you and we are here to help.

While no one has all the answers right now, we are committed to finding and working on solutions that benefit everyone.

That’s why we, as a team, decided it was so important to address the situation and share the strategies we’re using to get through it.

At the end of the day we’re all human and we’re all facing the same challenge.

Let's be united and not lose sight of the fact that now, more than ever, we need to look after each other.

 

How resilient are your people?

It's a difficult time for organizations trying to balance their business needs while also supporting their employees' wellbeings.

Right now many CEOs and board members are wondering ‘how resilient is our business?’ but we believe the real question organizations should be asking is ‘how resilient are our people?’

Because it’s your people who are going to get you through this.

Prioritizing your people is not only the right decision - for business objectives and employee wellbeing - but it's critical to get through this uncertain period.

 

Your people already trust you

According to an Edelman Trust Barometer survey, people are more likely to believe their employers than government websites, traditional media or social media when it comes to information, and they believe their employers are better prepared than their countries to handle the pandemic. 

"[This] represents an opportunity. If you focus on your people in a competent and ethical way, and you listen to their needs, you can drive up trust, teamwork, and resilience," says Josh Bersin.

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A defining era 

For years, world-leading companies such as Hivint and Apple have understood that it’s their employees who make their organizations successful.

But now it’s crucial for organizations to not only accept the idea  – but to also walk the walk.

It’s not enough to claim that you’re a people-first organization on paper. We are all being put to the test and we can’t fudge the answers.

“These are the kinds of times that define the character of a company. People want to work for an employer that cares about the bottom line and the well-being of its employees,” said Brad Smith, President of Microsoft.

The time is now. This is the opportunity for organizations to create trust, solidify connections and build employee loyalty.

Don't let your employee experience fall to the wayside, in times like this it needs to be front and centre.

 

Don’t discount your employees’ emotions

We are currently living in a state of vulnerability and no one is exempt from it.

People are battling levels of anxiety the workplace has never known before. There is universal uncertainty around health, wellbeing, livelihoods and the future.

A recent study by Forrester revealed over half of the US workforce are concerned about the personal impact of corona virus. 

Your people have never been more vulnerable and ignoring that will set you up for disaster.

As we’ve said before, moments of vulnerability are when you will have the biggest impact on someone, for better or worse.

Those who fail to support their people are building a negative experience for their employees – and it’s one they’ll never forget.

 

A new approach

It seems as though everything has changed overnight and we’re living in uncharted waters. Right at this very moment, we’re undergoing what will probably be known as the largest work from home experiment the world has ever seen.

Businesses are being forced to adapt and try new practices whether that’s government mandated or a proactive approach to keep their people safe.

Whatever the reasons are, it’s ludicrous to believe that old methods and mentalities will hold up in our new business climate.

This new business climate demands a new way of working and a new way of leading.

It’s time to shed traditional types of leadership and embrace a new way forward.

It’s time to lead with empathy and courage.

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Create a culture of safety

Managing people during times of uncertainty and stress is never easy, it’s also not something a lot of managers have experience with.

The most important thing you can do for your people is create a culture of safety.

Let the world be uncertain, but let your organization be a safe place.

We aren’t saying you need to have all the answers. You don’t (and let’s face it, you won’t). But you set the tone for your team and in order to have any cut through amidst the noise and uncertainty, you have to lead with conviction.

Approach every situation and concern from a place of empathy. Your job isn’t to fix, it’s to listen. Your goal is to empower your people and make sure they don’t feel like they’re alone in this.

Checking in with your team has never been more important and asking “how are you?” has never carried more weight.

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Be authentic 

We’ve long championed the concept of being your authentic self in the workplace. But it’s no longer a revolutionary idea, it’s a necessity.

It’s harder than ever to leave your personal life at the door and put on a professional face in the workplace. Don’t expect it from your employees, instead create an environment where it’s OK to be human.

This starts from the top down.

Research into resonance has proven humans are unable to ignore authenticity. Our brains are wired to read each others’ expressions and internally echo what those around us are doing and feeling. It’s so automatic that it happens below our awareness, but it’s important to understand.

If your people are exposed to chaos, panic and inauthentic leaders, they’re going to internally register this and subconsciously behave in the same way.

This creates a breeding ground for negativity. From there it’s a slippery slope to catastrophe.

Organizations need to empower their leaders to be themselves, in every sense of the word, so that they can lead authentically.

There is only one way to facilitate authentic leadership and be a reassuring presence during this time, and that’s to truly be a people-first organization.

Remember: we may not be able to control this situation, but we can control how we respond to it. 

 

Enboarder, as an organization, has decided to close our offices and all staff are working remotely from home. We understand that not everyone has this option, but for those that do we will be sharing what we're doing, how we're doing it and the insights we are learning along the way in the hopes that it will help other organizations in the same position.

Week 1: Three ways we're maintaining human connection while working remotely

Our Remote Work Best Practice Workflow is available free to all customers.