It seems the U.S. is entering a ‘transition’ phase of the global pandemic quarantine. This week a few states are starting the process of getting back to business, some states never really appeared to close in the first place, and other states are extending their ‘shelter in place’ orders. In general, there is much discussion and confusion about when our businesses will re-open, and when our eager employees can return to work. This transition phase could re-ignite the insecurities of your employees if they are not clear on their position within the organization. This week, I was surprised by the number of people that reached out to me asking for advice about whether they should start searching for a job now in case they were not brought back to work. Many of these people are talented on multiple levels, well-versed in the company’s product offerings, and they consistently achieved or exceeded their previous sales goals. While these redeeming qualities alone can’t guarantee they will be brought back to work, I can say with certainty, it would be costly and time-consuming to replace their position. My point being, that even tenured salespeople are experiencing insecurity during this time, and it is more important than ever for us, as leaders, to keep the relationship bigger than the problems.
How do you do that, you might ask? Even though you might not ‘be allowed’ to speak with your furloughed team about work because they are not currently employed, it is important to remember you have developed a relationship with each of these individuals. Before this pandemic, you were spending 8-10-12 hours a day with these colleagues, getting to know them, not just in a work setting, but on a personal level, too. You do not have to abandon those relationships just because you are not working shoulder-to-shoulder every day. We talked about the importance of frequent communication a few weeks ago, but I want to encourage you to reach out this week and just say ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’!
Thank these individuals for flattening the curve by staying home, thank them for being a part of the team, let them know they are not forgotten, and they are appreciated. The when/if they will return to work may remain unknown, but a simple expression of appreciation can go a long way to foster goodwill and ease concerns. Remember to communicate in a way that is natural for you as an individual. Some great examples we have seen used:
- Send a greeting via video in a text message. Seeing your smile goes a long way and video apps such as bombbomb.com make it easier than ever to personalize a text or email video.
- Send a photo collage of everyone holding a sign with a single word that put together creates a message
- Send a plant or flowers with a thoughtful note. Support a local flower shop that is still delivering or take advantage of national delivery with uniquely curated designs from a company like Bouqs.com
- Send a personalized care package: Companies like Spoonful of Comfort ship charmingly bundled care packages that are perfect for quarantine comforts.
- Send a Handwritten card: nothing beats the timeless simplicity of a handwritten note. The art of paper engineering, however, has taken greeting cards to the next level and you can be sure that these cards will surprise and delight your recipient! Check out resources such as LovePop for three-dimensional cards that colleagues will be sure to cherish long after the quarantine ends.
A simple gesture can go a long way this week in keeping the relationship bigger than the problems. One of my favorite quotes by Dave Ramsey says:
The antidote for fear is generosity
In the spirit of generosity, we at Hospitality Marketing Solutions would like to share the 1st complimentary training video in a series available through the end of May. We will be sharing 1-2 videos per week for you to share with your team, or use internally, to keep skills sharp during the furlough.
You may access this week’s video here.
This is my message to Directors today. Be generous in your communication. We WILL get through it together.
Author: Kate Foster, CWC, CMP