Managing in the pandemic?
We've talked about this before, but being transparent and vulnerable goes a long way. Here's a few words from someone that did just that earlier this week.
"This week was the most difficult of my career. I can rationalize business decisions and I’ve let go of hundreds of people in my career, but this time feels very different.
After we notified all of the impacted employees we communicated to our broader team what we had to do, why, and how we’re going to move forward together.
We told the team we would prepare for the worst but hope for the best, and that in these times what is important is that we come together and feel connected to each other and our clients, and be human. Be aware that the world we are living in today is not and will not be the same world we knew a month ago and that the more empathy and compassion we can have, the better we will all be for it. It was really difficult and our CEO was tearing up on the call, and our CFO (my boss) cried to us after that. We showed humility and unity, and the transparency made people feel whole. We did not sugar coat at all and I think our team appreciated it.
I was incredibly humbled by the number of employees who reached out to me to say, I’m sorry I know this must be so difficult or telling me they’re here if I need someone to talk to or asking how they can help me in the coming weeks. In HR we are accustomed to being the support for others, being the messenger for difficult decisions and unfortunately sometimes being the face of those decisions and seen as the enemy. But this week, I have never felt more supported, even from those who I had to let go."
And if you're fortunate enough to keep your staff, but with challenging conditions (pay cuts, reduced hours, etc), consider what we talked about in the story where a firm replaces raises with bonuses and then skips handing out the bonuses: make sure the people at the top carry most of the burden, and that you over-communicate this up front.
One company decided to hand out pay cuts based on level, where C-suite executives took a 75% cut and junior staff took a 5-10% cut. This isn't a great situation for anyone, but if I were working here as a junior staff member I would be highly motivated and engaged, knowing that the people I work for recognize their privilege and are making significant sacrifices to keep the ball rolling.
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