Utmattningssyndrom – så hjälper du dina anställda

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Leadership / Ledarskap on July 30th, 2020 by admin

Som chef har du en viktig roll när en medarbetare börjar arbeta igen efter att ha varit sjukskriven för utmattningssyndrom. Detta ska du tänka på.

Utmattningssyndrom drabbar ofta ambitiösa högpresterande personer med höga krav på sig själva. De har en stor tilltro på sin egna förmågna och puschar sig mer än vad som är rimligt. Det är inte stressen i sig som gör att man blir sjuk då stress i sig inte är farligt utan det är brist på återhämtning under en längre period som gör en sjuk.

Återgång till arbetet
Det vanligaste efter en sjukskrivning är att man börjar jobba deltid den första tiden för att därefter stegvis trappa upp. Ofta får medarbetaren tillbaka vissa stressymtom när hen kommer tillbaka till jobbet efter en lång sjukskrivning, till exempel hjärtklappning, ångest, sömnsvårigheter och yrsel. Det behöver dock inte betyda att hen har kommit tillbaka för tidigt.

Här är du som närmsta chef oerhört viktig. Första tiden handlar det inte om att medarbetaren ska prestera, utan gradvis vänja sig vid arbetsmiljön igen. Uppmuntra till att ta ett litet steg i taget och i hens egen takt. En viss dag kanske det räcker med att komma in till kontoret och sitta vid skrivbordet. Ha regelbundna avstämningar och stäm av hur hen mår och hur det går.

“Utmattning handlar om kognitiva symptom och utmärks av trötthet. Man blir väldigt, väldigt trött och kan inte vara “mentalt aktiv” under längre perioder. Det skiljer sig ganska mycket från annan sjukdom och påverkar hela sättet att tänka kring rehabilitering.”
Sofia Skogsliden, psykolog, på Previa i Trelleborg.

Institutet för stressmedicin ISM har tagit fram råd för att hjälpa arbetsgivaren med planeringen då en medarbetare ska tillbaka till arbetet efter att ha varit sjukskriven med utmattningssyndrom:

  • Börja med enkla definierade arbetsuppgifter, väl avgränsade i tid och omfattning. Initialt kan det vara helt andra arbetsuppgifter än de ordinarie
  • En sak i sänder utan tidspress
  • Aldrig dator och mobil samtidigt
  • Lugn miljö, gärna avskild arbetsplats, helst möjligheter att stänga dörren, patienterna störs av höga ljud och för mycket intryck
  • Möjlighet att kunna avbryta arbetet för vila

 

 

Källa: HRnytt.se, juni 2020
Länk

Tekniken inget problem för distansarbetande svenskar

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Technology on July 28th, 2020 by admin

Tekniken har inte strulat för de distansarbetande svenskarna, visar DN/Ipsos undersökning. Bara 5 procent tycker att den varit viktigaste invändningen.

Det stämmer bra med bilden hos den övervakande myndigheten PTS, som dock menar att regeringen inte kommer att nå målen för bredbandsutbyggnaden.

På undersökningens fråga om vad som varit mest negativt med arbete på distans svarade mer än hälften de sociala kontakterna/ensamheten. Själva tekniken verkar dock ha fungerat väl, enligt samma DN/Ipsos-undersökning.

Bara 5 procent tycker till exempel svag uppkoppling eller dålig utrustning har varit det värsta under distansarbetet. Samma siffra gäller för ett angränsande svar – att distansarbetet ”försämrar kommunikationen och samarbetet”.

Teknikfrågan ger bara marginella skillnader mellan män och kvinnor, 6 procent av de mellan 30 och 44 år anger tekniken som mest negativt, motsvarande siffra för dem som inte fyllt 30 är – 0 procent. Bara två procent av dem som bor i storstadsområden klagar på dålig uppkoppling eller liknande, mot 7 procent i övriga delar av landet.

På den ansvariga myndigheten Post- och telestyrelsen, PTS, nickar man åt den bild som undersökningen ger.

– Det har funkat väldigt bra. Alltsedan det bröt ut har vi haft en dialog i nationella telesamverkansgruppen, där flera myndigheter och större operatörer deltar. Bolagen började tidigt säkra upp med bland annat reservdelar, och vi fick bra prognoser , säger Ove Landberg, chef för enheten för robusthet på PTS.

Han säger att näten stått pall över hela landet, och alla dagar i veckan:
– Väldigt fort började trafiken gå från bostäder i stället för från kontor, och flera dagar i veckan närmat sig det som är normalt för söndagskvällar. Operatörerna har klarat av att styra om datatrafiken.

Men pandemin har visat andra effekter, som PTS nu ska utreda åt regeringen. Det ena gäller bland annat hur digitaliseringen under krisen har gynnat respektive missgynnat skolelever. I den andra ska myndigheten ta fram åtgärder för att ge äldre bättre digitala verktyg.

Regeringen har flera olika bredbandsmål. Ett av dem är att 95 procent av alla företag och hushåll under 2020 ska vara uppkopplade till bredband med en hastighet på minst 100 megabit per sekund. Det räcker mer än väl för att strömma en Netflixfilm med högsta kvalitet.  PTS räknar i sin senaste granskning med vi att når 85-88 procent.

Ett annat mål är att 98 procent av företag och hushåll år 2025 ska ha möjlighet att ansluta till tio gånger snabbare bredband –1 gigabit per sekund – mot 92 procent i dag. Detta tror PTS att Sverige klarar, dock inte att ge merparten av de resterande 2 procenten 100 megabit.

– Vi kollar statistiken och jämför också med de investeringar som görs med både offentliga och privata pengar. Med dagens takt fattas det 22 miljarder för att nå målet till 2025, säger Jens Ingman, marknadsanalytiker på PTS.

Digitaliseringsminister Anders Ygeman (S) tvivlar på prognoserna och tror att kostnaden kommer att ”minska rejält” i nästa PTS-prognos. Men de vita bredbandsfläckarna finns, och regeringen har öronmärkt 650 miljoner för landsbygden till 2022. I år delas 136 miljoner ut till regionerna Blekinge, Västra Götaland, Värmland och Västernorrland.

– I dag har 89 procent av hushållen i tätort och småort möjlighet att koppla upp sig med 100 megabit per sekund. Motsvarande siffra är 48 procent bland de närmare 450.000 hushåll som finns i det som kallas glesbebyggelse, säger Jens Ingman.

Det svenska bredbandet byggs ut med fiber i allt från avancerade stadsnät till bykooperativ, i dag täcks närmare 70 procent av alla Sveriges enfamiljshus, enligt PTS.

Men nu kommer också 5G, ett mobilt höghastighetssystem som ska ge ännu häftigare onlinespel men framför allt koppla upp industrins maskiner direkt till nätet. Staten ställer inga krav på var eller i vilken takt 5G ska byggas, det bestämmer marknadens aktörer.

De stora svenska operatörerna har lanserat 5G i liten skala, men att döma av en rapport från en av dem, Tre, i veckan kommer det stora konsumentsuget att dröja. Två av tre tillfrågade visste inte skillnaden mot dagens 4G, bara 1 procent hade redan skaffat en 5G-telefon.

Five actions to boost your sales organization’s resilience

Posted in Aktuellt, Försäljning / Sales on July 7th, 2020 by admin
Efforts to squeeze out additional sales could be more profitably invested in the sales force. Here’s how to raise morale, build capabilities, and position your team for recovery.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, many sales leaders are facing a tough choice: drive as many sales as possible today or prepare for the future. Most sales leaders are trying to do both, of course, but the intense pressures they’re feeling as economies around the world pull back create an urgency to focus on the short term.That sense of urgency has led some companies to try to recapture lost revenues by increasing targets for their sales teams. Since many of these targets are unrealistic, they can further demoralize sales teams that are already reeling from the leap to remote selling. This state of affairs has exacerbated a tendency among sales leaders to focus on short-term performance in meeting targets and forecasts, achieving growth, and closing deals.

We believe sales leaders could better use this time as an opportunity to invest in their sales teams. By thoughtfully building up their psychological health and capabilities, sales leaders can ensure that their teams are ready to leap ahead of competitors as the economy recovers. Research and experience back this up. Recent McKinsey research into and analysis of the performance and growth strategies of approximately 2,000 companies between 2007 and 2017 reinforces how critical it is to stay focused on through-cycle growth. This is true not only to ensure long-term survival but also to generate total returns to shareholders (TRS) of 8 percent compared with their peers, who stay at about zero.

To support their teams and get ready for the recovery, we recommend leaders take these five actions:

1. Reset and adjust expectations around scenarios

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on 2020 revenue targets. Sales leaders need to acknowledge that meeting the original targets may be almost impossible and then set more realistic expectations (which will, of course, vary by sector).

Given the uncertainty around economic recovery, companies should consider basing their new targets on a set of different scenarios. This approach will allow rapid and realistic adjustments to revenue expectations as scenarios shift in response to leading indicators and milestones such as the reopening of key markets.

Once companies define the range of scenarios and the revenues achievable in each, they should then break them down into realistic sales targets for business units and individuals. If possible, business-unit sales plans should be adjusted from the bottom up to identify territories and accounts with the most revenue potential. Similarly, individual performance plans and development goals should be updated to motivate sales reps to a reasonable level of performance while holding them accountable for their performance.

2. Rethink bonuses and incentives

Many sales reps receive a significant portion of their remuneration from commissions. A prolonged downturn will inevitably hit their income. Companies can help by doing two things: first, provide immediate financial security, and second, realign incentives for the longer term.

For example, a consumer-services company has more than 2,000 reps whose entire income is derived from commissions. The company rapidly deployed an emergency pay program that provided a percentage of monthly prorated pay based on last year’s earnings to offer security and reduce both anxiety and the potential for attrition. By guaranteeing earnings, the company was able to retain its valuable sales force.

Additionally, companies can shift their reward systems toward behaviors that will support the recovery process. For example, in the financial services industry, clients may not be readily signing up for new financial products during this period of uncertainty. Financial services companies can shift a greater portion of their incentive systems to reward new client leads (rather than new customers). This ensures that the front of the sales funnel is fully loaded with qualified leads that are ready to be converted and helps keep reps optimistic for the next phase.

3. Invest in sales-force capabilities for the recovery

The vast majority of B2B companies have shifted their go-to-market (GTM) model during COVID-19 toward digital and remote selling. Two-thirds of B2B decision makers surveyed believe that their new model is as effective, if not more so, than previous models. Looking ahead, B2B companies expect digital interactions to be two to three times more important to their customers than traditional sales interactions.

With this profound shift to digital, companies need to be thoughtful about what skills their reps need to succeed in this digital remote reality. In fact, some 77 percent of leaders indicated that retraining salespeople was very or moderately important, according to recent McKinsey research. Investing time and money in building up their skills tells sales reps unequivocally that they are important and valued, while also priming them to succeed in the digitally driven recovery.

One critical area of focus is around using data and insights to make better selling decisions. Some companies are investing in training their reps on how to use AI tools, for example, that provide next-product-to-buy recommendations so they can better cross-sell or upsell. Others are choosing to retrain field sales reps so they can adopt inside sales roles and provide customers with technical consultative expertise via their website’s chat function.

One financial-planning firm has found great success in using this time to modernize its sales practices by deploying a large-scale capability-building program focused on developing reps’ skills around digital technologies. The company rapidly put in place a cross-functional team of experts from learning, communications, product management, and sales to develop virtual learning modules and journeys tailored to reps in every layer of the sales organization. This training program helped reps adapt to the digital channels their customers were using and capitalize on demand to realize record sales over the last quarter.

4. Revamp tools and processes to support your salespeople

In a recent survey, B2B buyers indicated that they value three things above all from sellers: speed, transparency, and expertise. Sales leaders should therefore take the time to realign their sales operations (tools, systems, and processes) to equip their sales force to deliver on these needs.

For companies that have switched to virtual selling, codifying successful sales plays can help sales reps across the organization learn quickly and put into practice what works. For example, even in the world of remote selling, the sales play for selling life insurance to a tech-savvy young professional would be very different from the one for a baby boomer who may not be as comfortable with digital platforms. Consultative selling for the former may fully revolve around digital collaboration tools such as Box and Zoom, while the latter may involve physically mailing marketing materials and following up with phone calls.

Additionally, companies should realign sales processes so that the sales force can replicate them at scale. For example, virtual sales require the same discipline and standardization as face-to-face sales. Sales leaders should set expectations on what the standard operating model should be in this new environment, literally spelling out what Monday to Friday should look like for reps—for example, how much time they should spend generating new leads and how much connecting with existing customers. Sales leaders can also help reps master the details of the virtual sales process through active coaching about, for example, how best to use social platforms such as LinkedIn to generate leads, or how to use sales materials to follow up a virtual meeting in order to increase conversion rates. Many companies have also adopted virtual ride-alongs, which actually allows managers to support more people than the real thing in pre-COVID-19 days.

Given the advances in sales technology, sales leaders also need to equip their reps with the tools to drive better decisions. For example, the increased use of inside sales as well as remote and digital channels has made it more critical than ever to ensure that customer-relationship management (CRM) is up-to-date and clean. Companies should consider investing in CRM modules that can automate data population and enrich CRM data with insights from external databases (for example, intelligence on key stakeholders).

5. Provide leadership with vision and clarity

It may be a cliché to say that leadership is crucial in a crisis, but too often sales leaders fall short. The best sales leaders focus not only on communicating a clear vision of where the organization needs to go but also on demonstrating a commitment to their people. Communication is particularly important now, when those working from home can feel isolated and disconnected. Keeping the sales organization focused and energized is crucial for laying the foundation for performance heading into the recovery.

Sales leaders should take pains to communicate at a strategic as well as personal level. Leaders can get ahead of their sales force’s concerns by being transparent about the company’s overall outlook and by sharing and celebrating wins. It is important to be authentic and keep communications from becoming rote and stale, particularly as remote working persists. One sales leader we know has implemented multiple “Ask Me Anything” sessions where the sales force can get updates on the business and ask absolutely anything. Questions can be difficult, but leadership has been clear that this commitment to transparency has built up confidence among sales reps.

Additionally, sales leaders should take the opportunity to connect with their sales teams on a personal level. For many, COVID-19 has impacted their livelihood. Leaders can support their sales teams by having one-to-one touchpoints via email, phone, or Zoom. For example, the leaders of one financial-services organization we know blocked out time to call each employee to check in, listen, and nurture. This not only provided employees with affirmation of their value but also allowed leadership to have “ears on the ground” and hear news from the front lines. In many cases, these calls can include coaching to help salespeople improve their performance. And don’t forget to try to have fun. Informal get-togethers or inviting outside speakers to talk about topics unrelated to business are important to maintaining morale.


The economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis has slashed demand. Sales leaders need to actively balance both short- and long-term performance. But in managing around the current crisis, they need to have a clear understanding of the diminishing returns of some short-term activities, and instead invest in their people so they’re ready for the recovery.

Source: McKinsey.com, 1 July 2020
Authors: Bertil Chappuis, Daniel Law, Maria Valdivieso and Ben Vonwiller
About the authors: Bertil Chappuis is a senior partner in McKinsey’s Silicon Valley office, Daniel Law is an associate partner in the Houston office, Maria Valdivieso is a partner in the Miami office, and Ben Vonwiller is a partner in the New York office.
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After COVID-19: How leaders can engage employees during a return to work

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Leadership / Ledarskap on July 2nd, 2020 by admin

As organizations embark on the reentry phase of the COVID-19 crisis, four practices can help them build trust and a sense of purpose for the long term.

When the COVID-19 crisis first erupted, organizations across the world were plunged into such uncertainty it was hard for many to know whether they would emerge intact. Now, though the road ahead remains difficult, leaders are shifting from whether they can return to how to do so.Leaders are also having to manage waves of unfore­seen crises, including the recent protests in the United States and elsewhere. These events can take as much of a toll on workers’ productivity and mental health as radical, rapid changes in the workplace. Employees will have to confront cycles of disruption and adaptation, driven both by pandemic-related health reasons and new business imperatives, ranging from reorganizations to further reductions in workforces or furloughs.This reentry and recovery phase of the pandemic crisis provides leaders with a compelling reason to engage and strengthen overall connections with employees. Recognizing and addressing the core human emotions of grief, loss, and anxiety in the workplace is a chance to rebuild organizational health, productivity, and talent retention. It provides a historic opportunity to overcome the stigma of mental and emotional health as taboo topics for workplace discussion, especially the feelings of isolation and shame that are attached to job losses and other employment casualties.Companies that have pledged to support their workforces and have delivered on that promise have demonstrated their reliability and bolstered their reputations. Now is the time to continue to maintain and build on that trust, as the focus shifts from public health in general to the specifics of each organization’s individual recoveries.Clear and inspiring communication is central to making this next unsteady phase a success. In addition to moving decisively on strategic changes, leaders need to help rattled workforces believe in the future. For many people, their employer has been a zone of relative stability during a time of chronic uncertainty. Employees have viewed corporate leaders as the most trusted source of information since the frantic early days of the pandemic, especially where state institutions have been less reliable in their responses.Communication messaging and activity in four overlapping phases will help employees move from loss to renewal. These steps—laying the groundwork, honoring the past, marking the transi­tion, and looking to the future—can help leaders design the right approach to communicating that works for their organization’s circumstances, culture, and history.Because actual experiences of the pandemic will have varied, we segment organizations into “survivors” (struggling to stay in business), “adapters” (having to change their business models radically), and “thrivers” (well-positioned because of extra demand or because they were already working remotely). Some of the ideas below will need to be nuanced differently for each segment.

Lay the groundwork: Be sensitive to employees’ needs

Before thinking about reentry at scale, leaders should understand where people are mentally and prepare accordingly. Some will be enthusiastic about returning to the office, while others will not want to venture back yet. Still others may want to reenter in theory, but worry about risks to their health and the safety of their loved ones.

Teachers from Lombardy to the United Kingdom to New York are a good example of how leaders have to weigh these concerns. Many want to return out of a sense of professionalism and because they miss their students; on the other hand they must think about their own health and that of their families if reopened schools become new vectors of transmission.

In addition to immediate risks to their own health and safety and that of their loved ones, people are facing long-term uncertainty around lockdowns and job insecurity: Will their employer go under? Will their retirement savings be wiped out by a new depression? Based on stress syndromes from previous pandemics and early surveys from Asia during COVID-19, there may be a 25 percent stress syndrome incidence rate.

Practical steps include:

  • Survey employees regularly so you know which camp they fall into. Focus on psychological readiness, and seek to identify practical concerns. Know who wants to come back as soon as possible, and who will need more time to be comfortable—whether because they are in high-risk groups or because they no longer have reliable childcare, or for some other reason. This will depend to some extent on job categories, with some people having less choice about when to return. Here too inequalities will need to be addressed with sensitivity.
    • For survivors, show how returning to work will increase the chances of a quick return to viability.
    • For adapters, show how the new ways of work­ing will continue to help the organization.
    • For thrivers, show how the return is a consolidation of and a reward for everyone’s efforts.
  • Make your return planning processes transparent. Indicate who is working on the plan, how they are thinking about it, and when announcements will be made. Make it clear how you will be thinking about phasing and who will fall into which phase. Where possible, put bounds on the uncertainty: What do you know is definitely happening, what is definitely not happening, and when do you expect to have firmer answers?
  • Offer information about the practicalities. How hard is it to travel to your site(s)? What has changed in terms of public transport? What will being back at the site look and feel like? This might be a combination of written materials and videos.
  • Solicit feedback from all stakeholders on a recurring basis. Some have put together task forces to simply process feedback; others have set up recurring dialogues with employees.
  • Clarify how people can get their questions addressed.

Honor the past: Address emotions directly

Research into post-traumatic growth suggests that companies that move effectively to address trauma, grief, loss, uncertainty, and anxiety can rebound more quickly and experience stronger success. Throughout the pandemic, employees have experienced varying degrees of trauma and loss, both in their workplaces and in their personal lives. As grief experts have written, acknowledging and addressing loss helps people build resilience.

Leaders need to invest time in cultivating open, compassionate conversations about what has been lost in the pandemic. They should validate that there is an emotional impact and that it can be a topic of discussion in the workplace. While conversations about the emotional toll of the pan­demic may seem uncomfortable or unnecessary, they help strengthen ties with employees, who appreciate leaders’ openness.

Top teams that skip this step risk the appearance of being tone deaf or callous, thereby undermining their authentic concerns about moving the organization forward. Leaders should be sure their efforts are authentic; acting empathetic without showing true compassion can, in some cases, make things worse. Precise messaging will of course depend on the circumstances and the context.

In addition to individual or team conversations, look for ways that companies can honor the past. For instance, companies that have dealt with workplace violence have found ways to mourn the loss of employees through memorials, establishing scholarships, holding fundraisers, or volunteering together for a cause that resonates with the team.

Practical steps include:

  • Lead conversations with individuals and teams about emotional impact.
    • The CEO needs to be prominent here; this is not work to be delegated. Our experience is that employees are more eager than ever to hear from their organization’s top leader. This may well involve attending multiple smaller groups.
    • Normalize emotional concerns of employees at all levels. Hold top team conversations about real and perceived losses from the pandemic, how it has affected us and recognize the contributions that the team and all employees have made. Define this as an important and open conversation to have. Ensure that other leaders work with their teams similarly, and cascade the conversation throughout the organization.
  • Take time to celebrate and reinforce the values the company stands for, and how they were demonstrated in the company’s pandemic response.

For example, a century ago Lysol marketed itself as a weapon against the Spanish Flu. Today, employees are being encouraged to see them­selves as frontline workers helping to keep people safe. Several hotel chains in the United States and some universities and hotels in the United Kingdom have offered their prop­erties to medical personnel who needed a place to rest while caring for COVID-19 patients in nearby hospitals.

  • For survivors, stress the long history of the organization and how it has weathered storms before.
  • For adapters, stress the ways in which the organization has reinvented itself in the past.
  • For thrivers, stress the ways in which current success is built on long-standing values.

Create company-wide recognition efforts to honor employees who:

  • died in the pandemic (recognizing those who have passed away is crucial to normalizing loss and grief)
  • served on the frontlines during the crisis (medical personnel, volunteers)
  • kept the organization moving (the “quiet heroes”)

In some cases it will also be appropriate to honor clients, partners, suppliers, and customers who may have died or served on the crisis frontlines. Being explicit about these recognition efforts will stop the losses from becoming a great unmentionable. As grief expert David Kessler says, “What everyone has in common is that no matter how they grieve, they share a need for their grief to be witnessed.” Leaders are important sources of resilience for their people—and also important factors in post-traumatic growth following crisis.

Showing gratitude (as well as receiving it) is also important for mental health. For example, during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, first responders who reported stronger feelings of gratitude subsequently reported higher levels of resilience and life satisfaction. During COVID-19, people across the globe have honored hospital workers and first responders by cheering together at an appointed hour. Hospital workers have also gathered to support patients being sent home after recovering from the virus. These examples provide an indelible sense of everyone being in the crisis together.

  • Create an ecosystem so employees can maintain relationships with those who have been furloughed or lost their jobs, presumably for economic reasons and not for lack of perfor­mance. Isolation from others in the pandemic, coupled with the stigma of job loss, can have a devastating impact on departing employees.
    • Let retained employees know that it’s OK to have a relationship with former colleagues and reach out to provide support in their job searches.
    • Launch or expand an alumni network to main­tain good relationships and foster a future talent network. These networks are a natural connection point to continue relationships.
    • Link these stay-in-touch efforts to company values such as respect and collaboration.
  • Survey employees after these activities to assess how well honoring the past has worked. Con­sider measuring employee health factors such as burnout, job satisfaction, and psychological safety. Some elements may need to be repeated, or integrated as part of the new ways of working.

Mark the transition: Recognize the power of ritual

Rituals create a sense of familiarity and reassurance. They help us navigate loss and celebrate joyful events in our lives: births, graduations, weddings, funerals, and more. People often turn to rituals because the psychological processes underlying them have been shown to have a stress-reducing component.6

Likewise, COVID-19 has created unprecedented upheaval in the lives of our organizations. New rituals, along with company values and a renewed sense of purpose, can serve as pillars of psychological safety and normality.7 They can help employees process what has happened and rebuild social capital—and hopefully replace some of what people have lost. And rebuilding old rituals will be just as important. All rituals are a way of communicating to employees that the losses they have experienced are collectively acknowledged and are manageable.

The workplace provides a relevant and powerful source to help people put traumatic situations into a more motivational perspective. As furloughed employees return to employment and people return from remote working to office- or site-based working, rituals will help mark the start of a new phase in the organization’s life. In terms of Kübler-Ross’s model of the five stages of grief, this is where employees will start to move from depression to acceptance.

We recommend nominating a specific date, or timeframe, that the organization will collectively treat as the start of the “next normal” and around which rituals can be enacted. Of course, not everyone will reenter physically or psychologically at the same time or pace. Things could go awry because of public-health concerns and consequential disruption. Starts are likely to be staggered and involve shifts and cohorts.

For that reason, any date will be in many respects arbitrary—as it is for a wedding—but it is still important to set one. This is the point at which the social ties that bind the organization together are refreshed and reinforced and renewed.

Throughout this phase, focus messaging on discovery as a way simultaneously to look back and ahead. Essentially answer this question: Through the crisis and our response, what have we learned about ourselves, each other, and our organization that can help us in the future?

Practical steps include:

  • Make the focus of communication the well-being of employees, not work.
  • Set a specific timeframe of events (exhibit) for the organization to pivot from past to future.
  • Provide a “welcome back” kit, consisting of what employees need to navigate the new normal. This might include equipment as well as rules of the road for meetings, elevator use, and so on; medical experts can offer specific guidance on the most appropriate products to include. The University of Virginia, for example, will offer returning students a welcome-back kit that includes masks, hand sanitizer, and a tool to help open doors and press buttons.
  • Be sure people continue to know where to turn for help and continue to communicate the availability of resources, including employee assistance programs (EAPs).

Look to the future: Embrace a new sense of purpose

Leaders may be tempted to withdraw into small, tight decision-making task forces to make key decisions as quickly as possible. Instead, they can use this moment to define and demonstrate a common sense of purpose with employees, who will be looking for leadership and ways to engage themselves. Purposeful leaders will want to share execution plans broadly with staff to solicit input and engage them on the challenges the organization faces.

Taking the time to reflect on purpose can have an array of benefits. At the organizational level, purpose­ful companies have been shown to out­perform competitors on equity returns and have more engaged employees. At the personal level, reconnecting to purpose has been shown to be a critical factor in coping with crises and trauma. When decision makers align their decision making and communication messaging with a sense of purpose they may help support their employees’ potential at a time when leadership needs it most.

Use this period to create a cultural conversation across the company and a positive outlook about its future. Many of the recommended activities above will be appropriate for small groups, perhaps spread over a few weeks or, where possible, held simul­taneously on a single day, with options for people to participate remotely.

Practical steps include:

  • Start or renew discussions on corporate purpose, based on discoveries from the crisis.
    • For survivors, how do we retain our purpose in a changed world?
    • For adapters, how do we move quickly to new ways of working?
    • For thrivers, how do we maintain our current success as the world slowly returns to normal?
  • Show how this purpose feeds into strategic direction—the “Where are we going?” Articulate how to strengthen the connection between purpose and business actions, for instance, how we display the value of “customer first” in specific actions, such as offering a comprehen­sive customer experience, that we have never taken before.
    • Managers and team leaders should speak with their teams about how the work they’re doing contributes to recovery; they can ask people what motivates them and gives their work meaning.
  • Set the strategic direction in context by develop­ing, articulating, and sharing the organization’s new/refreshed change story—the “How do we get there, and why will it be worth it?” This will help people understand what the future looks like:
    • What has changed over the last few months?
    • What has stayed the same? (This includes the enduring values story.)
    • How do we prioritize?
    • What are new expectations of leaders? Of employees?
  • Commit/recommit to organizational health. This could include new or updated diagnostics and surveys.
  • Showcase stories about “living your purpose,” both personal and organizational, in internal communications: through the company intranet, news stories, and town halls.
  • Continue to monitor the effectiveness of communication over the course of a few months; evaluate and adjust as needed.

All of the practical steps we recommend above stem from the need for clear, empathetic communi­cation that keeps people optimistic and hopeful, but also resilient and prepared for further disruption. This stage of recovery will challenge organizations’ communications functions to become even more agile, as they shift between crisis response mode and normal, more future-oriented strategies. Leaders will not know all the answers, but as long as they communicate openly and candidly, employees will respect being brought into the conversation.

 

Source: McKinsey.com, 26 June 2020
Authors: David Honigmann, Ana Mendy and Joe Spratt
About the author(s): David Honigmann is a client communication expert in McKinsey’s London office, Ana Mendy is a partner in the Southern California office, and Joe Spratt is a client communication expert in the Chicago office.
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