Hello, and welcome to another installment of HR Intervention! At this point we are three years into 2020, and it looks like we have another seven or eight to go before we’re finally done with it.
If you’re like me, then you spent the first few weeks of the apocalypse trying to put a bright and happy spin on everything – more time to work on the yard, more time with my family, fewer people soliciting while you’re having dinner – but by now you’re probably over it.
I mean, how many games of Candyland is my son going to need to play before he realizes that the game involves absolutely no skill or chance of any kind? (The answer, if you’re curious, is a billion and six.)
The point is, you are almost certainly dealing with a workforce that is in various states of fatigue, frustration, boredom, loneliness, and anger. And while that sounds like the perfect recipe for the final act of a feel-good movie about scrappy underdogs who manage to pull off a last-minute miracle and win the war or trophy or over-sized stuffed animal or whatever it is they’re trying to win, it probably doesn’t sound like a great recipe for your business.
But what exactly can you do? You can’t end the pandemic simply by snapping your fingers, and you may not even be able to see your employees face-to-face in order to cheer them up. But that doesn’t mean you’re out of options.
Here are a few simple ways to inject some energy and vitality into your team.
Pick Up the Phone
Unless you work for a videoconferencing company whose existence depends on its widespread use, then it’s understandable if you’re sick of video calls. They’re good in small doses, but dealing with too many technical issues and glitchy screens and broken conversations and people looking not quite at you can ultimately cause more harm than good, at least when it comes to building rapport and camaraderie.
So consider replacing a few of them with old-fashioned phone calls.
More personal and in-depth than texts or emails, less intrusive and less likely to malfunction than video chats, phone calls are a remarkably simple way to maintain a personal relationship with each of the people you work with. And they’re free. And you can do them while doing other things. What?!?!
Record a Video
Or 63 of them. During the Great Depression, President Roosevelt’s fireside chats were broadcast over the radio to millions of people across the United States and were instrumental in helping him connect with a public desperate for their hardships to end.
You can do the same, and you can do whatever you want. Company updates, a fun thing that happened to you today, even sharing your own frustration about the situation we’re all in – all of it can help create a connection between you and the people who watch it.
A pre-recorded video will allow you to script yourself, so that you can say exactly what you want to say, and you’ll also avoid the potential technical glitches that can happen on a live video call.
Start Talking About New Best Practices and Exciting Future Plans
At this point, you and everyone you work with have probably analyzed every possible element of your business to see where you can cut costs, enter new markets, do things more efficiently, reach your customers, and everything else.
A lot of those ideas may have been born out of desperation, but some of them should now be looking pretty good even when things do return to normal.
So start talking about the positives that have come out of all this. Showing people that you’ve found some diamonds in this Year of Endless Coal might help your people shake off this seemingly eternal present and start thinking about the exciting future that will eventually get here.
Thanks for making it all the way to the end of another installment of HR Intervention. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to call some of my former clients to let them know that I plan on delivering all future keynote speeches in song. I haven’t decided what language I’m going to sing them in yet, but that won’t matter – I’m quite confident that I will be equally tone-deaf in all of them. Should be fun!
If you could use some guidance on being a virtual leader, check out our free webinar where two remote leadership experts answer questions from people like you!
Jeff Havens is a speaker, author, and professional development expert who tackles leadership, generational, and professional development issues with an exceptional blend of content and entertainment. He is a contributing writer to Fast Company, Entrepreneur, BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal; and has been featured on CNBC and Fox Business. For more information, or to bring Jeff to your next meeting, call 309-306-1781, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit Jeffhavens.com.