Leading, Listening and Supporting Workplace Talent

My life has been filled with virtual presentations as of late. Clients, associations and businesses have asked me to present on topics such as Navigating Change, Connecting Five Generations and Growing Sales.

Recorded sessions, notes and a not-too-shabby memory from recent presentations have helped me put together an important list. With the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing, positive tests rising (partly due to more testing) and deaths reaching 135,000, there are concerns on several fronts that I’d like to address from both a professional and a personal level.

I want to be transparent. My posts are often my words, thoughts and opinions. However, this post contains information gathered from working professionals across North America

Are folks ready to send their children back to school? Here’s what they said:

This one garnered a lot of emotion, empathy and strength of conviction. Parents are rightfully apprehensive, scared, desiring of social and scholastic normalcy. There is concern for teachers, students, administrators, and substitute teachers health and insurance.

There is a need for education.

Online is just okay.

In-person is better.

Socializing is needed.

Students touch, hug, play and spend 8 hours in close proximity to one another.

Often said was- “Where is the vaccine”? “I have no daycare.” “Love my kids, but we need some time apart.”

The next topics had a lot of response as well.

With regards to working from home vs. in-person.

  • Many people like/love working from home and report putting in MORE hours than they do in-person.
  • However, they are not always keen on home schooling and finding things for their kids to do that are NOT on a computer.
  • It is nerve-wrecking.
  • Stress…Plenty of stress!
  • Stopping employee burnout is essential.

It should be pointed out that many stats show that productivity has risen since the pandemic began and folks were forced to work from home.

Adults miss the personal interaction with fellow employees, hugs, bringing in treats, office chat/gossip (I know) and events that bring staff together.

Leaders have a choice to make in order to retain talent and keep them safe

The news and science from around the globe seems to point to a long road ahead for going back to work in-person, full-time more of a 2021 reality then 2020.

The same holds true for education.

Yet, we can do so much to continue moving forward, as was discussed with me during the conference I presented at. They included:

1) Leadership that is flexible, open to ideas, listening to concerns and putting the best interest of people above business.

2) Employee willingness to show/prove that they are engaged, productive and working every day to get their assignments completed.

3) State officials listening to the concerns of parents, teachers, health experts and students.

I have presented at and facilitated 12 events in 2 months. I’ve walked away with a sense of individuals’ strength and determination, fear and worry as it pertains to health and COVID 19 and a desire to get through this crap and begin fully living again. But most of all, I listened and was impressed with the poise, professionalism and persistence folks displayed for one another and differences of opinions during these most unusual of times.

There is hope. There will be a vaccine. We will be strong again!