The role of HR is more important now than it has been throughout your entire career. In every industry throughout this pandemic, HR leaders like you have held the cumbersome role of being the bearer of bad news while remaining calm for employees. With layoffs, pay cuts, and other structural changes at stake, your position has been far from easy. It’s been primarily on you to keep your employees healthy and safe.
With all of the unexpected short-term planning you’ve taken on, it may seem difficult to even think about what life in your office will be like post-pandemic (if you will be going back to an office). Despite future uncertainty, it’s time to think smart and begin planning what your office life will look like once working in an office becomes a reality again.
While this feels tough, there is one thing you CAN prepare for when your team is back together — kindness. Promoting care and generosity amongst your employees will help your company get back to normal again by boosting overall morale and innovation through increased collaboration. We’ve developed an easy-to-follow framework to help you make the most of this non-ideal situation by using it as an opportunity to give your company culture a healthy makeover and promote kindness in the workplace. Giving yourself the reputation of ‘one of the best places to work’ in your community will strengthen your success in the long run!It's a challenging time for #HR. Remind yourself why you got into it in the first place and use your passions to guide those in your organization that need you. Learn more about #spreadingkindness in the #workplace in @RedBranch’s article: Click To Tweet
1. Re-evaluate Your Pre-Pandemic Office Culture
Be honest with yourself — was your company’s culture where it needed to be before our lives were suddenly disrupted? You may have already had a winning office culture; or, you didn’t. And that’s okay. View the current climate as an opportunity to revisit and fix your culture. If you were working under a toxic work environment, use this time to take a step back and reshape what it truly means to be a part of your company.
Why does evaluating your culture matter even more than it did before? Toxic workplace culture will kill your business. In a study conducted by the Harvard Business School, 38% of employees ‘intentionally decreased’ their work quality as a result of their toxic work environment. An even scarier statistic — 25% of employees treated poorly by colleagues knowingly reported taking out their frustrations on clients and customers. With businesses holding on extra tight in today’s fragile market, it’s more important than ever not to be THAT business.
Kind Culture Tip #1: Remember that a positive workplace culture begins with your leadership team. The way you treat one another and those working beneath you sets the tone for the entire organization. Think of it as a ripple effect. How can you show kindness to one another through your daily interactions?
2. Continue Clear and Transparent Communication
While working remotely, chances are your team has been extra mindful of communication. Perhaps your organization has never telecommuted before, and learning a whole new means of communicating has been a challenge.
From transparency to over-explaining things (never hurts to do so), ensure that these are not just temporary practices, but a permanent strategy you can learn from. When communications between colleagues fall through the cracks, their relationships become tense, and there may even be backtalk or cold, aggressive language that stems from something that was simply a misunderstanding.
An essential part of employee communication is to be sure every employee feels that they can share their stance (respectfully) and feels heard. Not putting this into practice can result in bitterness and resentment of others — taking us back to our not-so-beloved toxic workplace culture. Happy employees make for a positive and successful workplace!
Kind Culture Tip #2: What communication strategies have worked best for your team thus far? Consult with other company leaders and generate a list of practices you may have already followed in addition to new protocol put in place to keep communication consistent.Worried about your company’s future during #COVID19? Follow these tips from @RedBranch to ease fears and #spreadkindness at your office: Click To Tweet
3. Connect With Your Community Through Volunteering
To be a genuinely kind team player amongst employees, you also need to put kindness into practice outside of your organization. Taking the time to reflect and help out your community is not only part of your corporate responsibility, but an easy way to allow employees to express positivity and act out of selflessness. Researchers have proven that volunteering can make you happier as it increases levels of serotonin in the brain.
Your community might be hurting more than it has in its history. Once it’s safe for us to leave our houses again, take the opportunity to help and be present with those nearby.
Here is a list of volunteer ideas that you can implement at your office to truly connect with your community and support through your available resources:
1. Create ‘care packages’ including healthy snacks, toiletries, and winter clothing items to distribute to those who are homeless
2. Park or beach litter clean-up
3. Host a fundraiser event (ex. to help displaced workers or the healthcare community)
4. Sign up to volunteer at your local food bank
5. Creating ‘positivity cards’ for children battling illnesses
6. Leverage resources available to your company to temporarily offer free goods or services to an affected population
Kind Culture Tip #3: Your company’s fate starts with its leaders. And, how they set the stage has a ripple effect on your employees! Getting leadership buy-in for your company’s volunteer program is one of the first steps to long-term workplace kindness.
Through times of such uncertainty and fear, we need to take care of one another. Whether they’ve lost loved ones due to the virus or suddenly face financial hardships, almost everyone is hurting in some way right now. It’s highly likely that the mental health of many of your employees has sharply declined. Check-in with them and make sure they know you’re there to help.
While this is an incredibly challenging time in the HR world, it’s your time to remind yourself why you started your journey into Human Resources in the first place and use your passions to guide those in your organization that need you. If there’s one positive that should come out of this pandemic, it’s the powerful ability of humans to connect and empathize with one another. Kindness is king and is at the heart of everything your organization does. Spread it. Live it. Own it.
Beyond spreading kindness, there are numerous ways you can promote the wellness of your employees and company as a whole through this crisis — even from home. Download our free COVID-19 swipe file for easy access to health and safety tips, a work from home practices guide, and informational resources to stay on top of the latest COVID-19 updates.