The One Thing you need to Tell Your Employees Right Now
Hint: Your employees give no fu*ks about business continuity and productivity
I have spent this entire week thinking about the Covid-19 and its impacts, and helping my clients do the same.
I one hundred percent understand why they are focused on maintaining business as usual and setting people up for remote and virtual working. These are important and noble pursuits, and attempts at trying to get ahead of economic impacts.
They just can’t be your starting point if you really want to keep your employees engaged.
And here’s why: people are simply afraid and anxious. In other words, they are in lizard brain (aka survival) mode. They are worried about the health of their families and loved ones, they might be worried about their ability to access the basics like food and water, and they might also be worried about their financial well being — whether they can afford to stick out a shut down. In other words, these are all basic Maslow’s Hierarchy things — as in the bottom level. So in order to help people move past their emotions, you have to help them deal with them first.
And that is why your employees can’t even hear what you might say about restoring your supply chains or securing workplace productivity. There is too much emotional noise right now.
So the one thing you need to do with your employees is empathize. Ask them how this is impacting them — personally. Listen without trying to solve. Share stories of your concerns. Let them know that you care about them as non-productive humans first.
Help your employees feel safe and cared for and you won’t need to ask them to be productive or go the extra mile during these unstructured times.