01 Apr Six Messages Your Employer Should Be Sending YOUR Way
In the hours after the tragic events of 9-11 employers across the country went into scramble mode – how to deal with an event that’s shaken everyone to their core?
What’s the new normal going to look like?
What will our response be – and how can we be certain that we help employees move forward and not exacerbate the panic?
Even that terrible disaster pales in comparison to the obstacles we all face today.
The silent killer that separates us physically has the potential to do much greater damage – separate us as a people.
Which carries us to the responsibility of every employer – and a singular truth.
We can’t afford to quarantine leadership.
We can’t quarantine human decency – human compassion.
The organization that signs your paycheck – we’re about to see whether those beautifully worded value streams and the vision statements that adorn their company binders are real – or simply figments of some staff person’s latent desire to be the next great American novelist.
Best in class employers will separate themselves in the days ahead.
Unfortunately, mediocre ones will too.
Here then are Six Messages that will likely distinguish the former:
- “We value you as a person, not just an employee.” Your safety, your family’s safety, and your team’s safety is priority #1. We will demonstrate compassion – acknowledge the scope of the struggle and not simply default to “how do we still drive productivity?”
- “We plan to treat you like an adult” – not a frightened child who cannot handle straight talk. That means we will ensure open communication channels – talking with you AND listening to you in order to optimize your talents and your insights.
- “We will make certain that TRUST is more than an ideal.” As with so many of mankind’s higher characteristics, trust is a reciprocal arrangement – give it in order to receive it. In my client relationships I share a learning that was imprinted on me decades ago…..trust’s parents are truth and transparency. Without both the child will never grow.
- “We will take action – not simply hunker down and wait for brighter days.” Progressive companies own two things their reactionary counterparts do not – they have (1) a crisis strategy and (2) a crisis communication plan.
- The former outlines WHAT the company plans to do; HOW they will do it; WHO will be impacted by the actions; and finally, the anticipated IMPACT. Leaders who are out front, highly visible, and engaged will help make sure that strategy transfers quickly to execution.
- The latter outlines how we will talk with you – ensuring a consistent voice – not the scattershot approach many companies default to.
- “We will honor our values – and use this crisis to make them come to life.” Experience taught me that “people will read the words on the card but they’ll believe what they see when things get hard.”
- Ask the average employee to recite your values, or your vision statement, or even your mission and expect less than 5% to know them. They’re words – nothing more. Introduce a crisis and they can become real – or slip forever into the dustbin of “corporate speak.”
- “When we don’t have the answer we will say so.” I once watched a leader asked a question that befuddled him – and he then added insult to injury by stumbling through a rambling response that was barely decipherable. No one knows the exact impact of the Corona Virus. No leader carries a playbook that offers all the answers – but a page that every one should tuck in their back pocket – and rely on often, is titled “ I don’t know.” It’s OK not to have all the answers – it’s not OK to pretend you do.
The days ahead will build your company’s culture even stronger – or they will reveal its vulnerabilities.
What message is YOUR employer sending you?