How did you find out your pay was going to be cut, your workplace was temporarily closing, or that you would be furloughed? It is not what happens but the way in which it happens that everyone remembers.
Not every company has the endless cash reserves of Apple or Microsoft to be able to fund generously taking care of your employees, but it also goes beyond how you pay.
The May Labor Market Outlook report from CIPD and Adecco Group shared that hiring plans are at the lowest level for over 15 years and a quarter of all private sector companies are planning to reduce staff levels in the next three months. This will cause employees everywhere to wonder if their job is safe and consider if you really do give a damn about them.
What matters more, profits or people? With a global pandemic, those choices become rapidly more significant.
It is easy to write “our employees are our most important asset” in your annual report, but if your actions don’t match your words every day it will impact your profits significantly. If you don’t show your employees you care, another company will.
Here is how you can immediately demonstrate that you care:
Know your employees
If you are working remotely you likely know more about your team through video calls than before. Make sure you remember the name of their pets, kids, and what is happening in their family. Keep a list so that you can recall if your team member is dealing with an ill family member or has just adopted two boisterous dogs and you will build a stronger bond.
Keep talking even when you have no news
Silence is deafening when you are remote. If you don’t hear from your boss, don’t get replies to your email, 1-1s are cancelled, or they aren’t giving you insights into what is happening in your company and your industry it is easy to conclude that they do not care. Don’t be that boss, even if you think you don’t have new news to share, be available to answer questions.
Ask what they need from you
“How can I best help you right now?” is the best question to ask to show that you care. Even if you don’t get an immediate response, you open up the door to allow someone to ask for help if they need it.
Consider what is in the best interests of your people
Frasers Group, owners of Sports Direct, House of Fraser, and Lilywhites decided to fund full pay for furloughed and non-furloughed employees in April and May as reported by Drapers. The goodwill this will have created for their 29,000 employees will be in place long after customers return to shop at their stores. How are you deciding actions that impact your employees? Are you putting short-term profits before your people?
I’d love to hear how you are showing that you care, because I truly do give a damn about your success.
Val Wright is an innovation and leadership consultant working with clients including Starbucks, LinkedIn, Microsoft, the Financial Times and the LA Lakers. She is a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal, CNBC Inc, Business Insider, Fast Company, MSN, Reuters, the LA Times.