No person could have foreseen the challenges that we are experiencing on a global scale stemming from the pandemic.
As leaders help navigate through unsteady waters and deal with their own uncertainties, one thing remains unchanged: People rely on them for support and to keep their hearts and minds engaged in their work.
For insight on how some of the best are doing it, I reached out to four leaders to uncover the ways they have been able to get the best out of their people amid the pandemic.
1. Don't lose sight of your company's culture
Michael Kirban, CEO and co-founder of All Market, which owns beverage brands Vita Coco, Runa, and Ever & Ever, says moving to an indefinite work-from-home lifestyle was a major adjustment both personally and for his team. As a company that's built on interpersonal relationships and has a strong familial atmosphere, Kirban has made an effort to not lose sight of company culture.
"It's just as important to stay connected and find ways to do the things that were so endemic to your culture in real life," he said, "like doing a weekly happy hour on Zoom or having employees host live-streamed yoga classes."
Kirban also found new ways to connect with and engage his customers and communities, especially for the long-term health of his business. "We quickly shifted our content strategy to focus on ways to add value to our customers at home through our social channels, partnering with fitness studios to stream workout content and developing new recipes to inspire more creative smoothie making," shared Kirban.
"All in all, despite the uncertainty, we've made it a priority to continue to be customer-centric, maintain our connected culture, and remain committed to providing better-for-you products to those who need them," he said.
2. Be authentic and transparent with your employees
This crisis has made companies really consider how effectively they are communicating with their employees. It's important for leadership teams to update employees in real time as much as possible and maintain a consistent dialogue with their teams at every level of the organization.
Chad Jensen, president of TCC, one of the nation's largest authorized Verizon retailers with over 900 locations nationwide, believes the pandemic has ultimately motivated leaders in companies to identify how they can improve their employees' experiences during such an unprecedented time. Effective communication, starting at the top, also defines new organizational goals in this new normal.
"As we navigate this new landscape, we have made it a priority to be transparent with our team, providing them with frequent, honest updates during our weekly all-company videoconference calls," said Jensen. "These virtual calls help us stay connected with our TCC family, even more so than we were before!"
3. Acknowledge the past. Build for the future
This crisis has taught us that unexpected obstacles can arise at any time and completely disrupt organizational structure long-term.
According to Aman Brar, CEO of the industry-leading talent acquisition suite Jobvite, a return to what was previously considered a normal workforce may not be in our future. Therefore, establishing new starting lines is vital to ensure enterprises are ready for life after the crisis.
"As leaders, it's our job to ensure our teams are being taken care of professionally, mentally, and emotionally during this difficult time," said Brar. "To do this, it's important to reestablish trust by acknowledging that this crisis has impacted all of us, yet still proactively preparing for the future."
Brar added that this may include implementing new remote work protocols, adopting technology that helps team members adapt to work environments more seamlessly, and communicating major changes to ensure organizational buy-in and support.