“One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone.” - Shannon L. Alder
Unprecedented situations like COVID-19 compel everyone to practice social distancing and work from home to avoid endangering the lives of others.
And like many of you, I am spending my days and working hours sitting at home with my laptop, occasionally scrolling through my insta feed and catching up with the world without stepping outside.
As the uncertainty looms over how long we might have to follow the social distancing norms and work-from-home, it does not imply that we fall flat in communicating with our co-workers. In fact it has become more important to stay connected amidst such unprecedented times of the pandemic. As much as, if not more than, staying connected with your family.
The situation has brought a paradigm shift to the working style and norms as something we might not be used to. My intent of writing is to showcase the significance of staying in touch with your colleagues in the organization.
It can done through various means and open leadership forums like Open Door meetings, allowing employees of the organization to express themselves openly via various Q&As to the leadership of the organization or even just expressing themselves or sharing their experiences, without any feeling of being judged.
How Srijan Employees are Staying Connected
Srijan recently conducted All-hands Meet where over 200 employees (total headcount~300+) joined the call from across different demographics. Organized quite frequently, these sessions are scheduled for both mornings as well as evenings covering possible timezone from different locations.
And not only this we have similar to these sessions happening almost every week. The topic of discussions range from:
- insights on the markets business trends
- impacts or project projections and account updates
- impacts on the organization and seek preventive measures that can be taken
- some are just open door sessions addressing Q&A of the various employees
- training and learning sessions
- And even morning meditation sessions
These kinds of forums really help employees to stay connected and above all show that we are in this all together. Holding All-hands together still maintaining social distancing :)
How You Can Also Keep Your Employees Connected-
By providing such platform to employees, organizations allow themselves to:
- Be transparent and authentic: Be open, transparent, and authentic in these forums is of critical importance. Be open in showcasing the impact on the business, the preventive measures we are thinking of as leadership, seeking alignment, feedback, and buy-in, taking ideas and suggestions, thereby mining the collective intelligence. Be authentic and real with what fears you have or challenges that you can foresee, enabling them to be better prepared, instead of pretending that we have figured out all the answers.
- Communicate constantly: Not just CEO but the entire leadership should keep constant check-ins with team members and across all departments, including admin which might be siloed during this time. This really helps to receive or share the signals preventing any kind of isolation.
- Be accepting and surrender to the current state: Accept the current state as it is and build/share plan for things you “can control “ and surrender the rest.
- Keep teams engaged with facetime chats, creating events like #shareyour work from home pics, personal video/virtual connect with people like even talking to their locked-down kids, pets. It helps let them stay positive.
- Empathize: Considering the psychological state that each one of us would be going through, we should empathize with each other and enable ourselves, in whatever ways we can. A very simple and good start can be asking your teams or clients how are they doing. These days, “It’s getting very difficult” is the most common response, I hear. I make sure to take at least 2 mins to understand and be accepting of their situation.
It’s all within us how to make the experience for us, no matter whatever the situation is. This reminds me of the quote by Sadhguru “The nature of life is such that if you allow it to flow, life is a beautiful experience. If you hold back, it becomes misery”.
In all these forums happening in Srijan, we saw a lot of innovative ideas coming from the team members on how to keep engagement level high with the remote working like playing online team games (Cross-word, Tambola, counter-strike ...etc) to even people expressing their personal experiences which further strengthens our relationships.
All such vents make me proud to be part of such an organization where our purpose “Happy people, great work” is not just a vision or a quote hanging on the wall, it holds true value to us.
Or the Team (Sangha/ Community) values like being responsible; putting human-ness first; being long term- liberally approve training for growth and self-improvement; being guru - mining 'collective-intelligence' of people from top to bottom in the hierarchy for ensuring togetherness, even in times of the pandemic makes me content.
I will leave you here with some further quotes, as food for thoughts and action.
"None of us is as smart as all of us."
– Ken Blanchard
Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.
— Stephen R. Covey, Author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.
- Anthony Robbins