“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” -Socrates
We are never going back. Back to where? To normal. We can try and find the ‘new normal’ but what does that really mean? (And a lot of people really hate that phrase anyway!) As we move out of 2020 and into 2021, we need to take a look at what we learned this year from the pandemic as employers, HR professionals and human beings. Here are a few key things we learned from you, our members:
Resilience comes in many flavors – So many people did amazing things to stay resilient this year. From company pivots producing PPE and vaccine-related supplies to individual employees shifting to remote work in 48 hours and doing so while supervising school kids at the kitchen table. PEOPLE ARE AWESOME! It was horrible some days and we had no idea what we were doing but we did it – And for the most part, it really worked out OK! More than an honorable mention goes to our HR professionals who absorbed a huge amount of the shock from all of this and maintained their grace, professionalism AND positive attitude. HUGE KUDOS. Because nobody is more resilient than you are.
People have really cute kids and pets! I know, we all have zoom fatigue. Major, serious zoom fatigue. But it’s been so great seeing everyone in their ‘natural habitats’! Crowded kitchen tables, kids screaming for lunch, pets walking on keyboards…Come on. We have been officially humanized and that, my friends, is a GOOD thing! Technical issues? No problem. We’ll deal with it. Our ultra-professional, rigid meeting formats gave way to zoom happy hours, virtual talent shows, zoom themed meetings and more! We know more about each other now. More human facts. Let’s keep that going!
Our weaknesses have been exposed – And that’s not fun. But it’s real. If your managers had weak people skills, that probably got worse. Did you let your company’s technology lapse over the past few years? You felt that too. Can there be a silver lining to COVID? You bet there is. Looking ahead, we have the opportunity to take these vulnerabilities and make them stronger in 2021. Here are a few ideas on how you can start that process.
- Reset the wellness button. I’m not talking about fruits and vegetables here. (Do that too!) I’m talking about the mental and physical health of your employees. Focus on creating a workplace that puts employees first. Create a culture that focuses on high communication, clear accountability and plenty of resources like your EAP and other enhanced employee benefits such as financial counseling, elder affairs planning and flexible scheduling.
- Train your Managers. They are the front line to your troops. They will have the highest impact on the success or failure of your organization, financially and otherwise. The skills most lacking in managers that we hear about at EANE? Empathy and communication. They go hand in hand. As you build your training plan for the upcoming year, assess your current team of managers and set some goals. Create performance plans and stick to them. You can’t afford this type of weakness on your team.
- Enhance your Infrastructure. Our vulnerabilities have been exposed. Now is the time to fortify the walls. How is your compliance set up? Are you confident that you have firm policies in place, good job descriptions, a solid performance review plan (with regular check-ins and not just an annual meeting)? What about succession and workforce planning? It’s imperative that you’re taking the time to rebuild some of the things that may have fallen off your ‘to do’ list this year. Make your list, check it twice. You got this.
As you embark on reframing your company culture for 2021 and beyond, reach out to the team here at EANE for help! We have so many great resources here and can provide support along your journey. We’re in this with you and we are blown away at what you’ve handled this year. 7,300 hotline calls and counting! We thank you for your trust in us and our entire team salutes you for being resilient, dedicated and committed to the well-being of your employees and organizations. Cheers to you this holiday season and here’s to a bright, successful 2021!