My kids came home from college last week, which would not have been a big deal any other year. But as you know, this year is different. Every night I ask each kid how their day was. I did this yesterday, and my son looked at me bewildered and said, “How do you think my day was? I haven’t gone anywhere since you last saw me, except the bathroom!” My kids are very different. My son is an introvert, and my daughter is an extrovert. The pandemic is affecting different personality types in different ways.
Early on in the pandemic, I was conversing with a client who describes himself as an introvert. I asked him how he was, and he replied that he was “great!.”
He then went on to tell me how awesome it was that he was no longer forced to engage in small talk whenever he walked into the break room. He liked being alone and felt at peace for the first time in a long time. Well, that was eight months ago. I checked in on him the other day, and his story has changed a bit.
He misses the people.
He misses the small talk.
He misses all the things he used to hate.
Quite frankly, he sounded depressed.
How many of your key employees feel this way?
Now more than ever, your people need to hear from you. They need to know that they are not alone and that you are available to help.
Here are some things you can do to be more visible.
Set up “office hours.” Set aside specific times when your people can reach you. One of my clients has recently embraced this concept and couldn’t be more delighted with the results.
Employees know that on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM, they can dial in and reach their boss. Time can be scheduled in advance, or people can just pick up the phone and call during these designated hours.
Remind employees they can reach out to you at any time and that “office hours” are there for those who want to ensure people know you’ll be there when reaching out.
Arrange for a monthly virtual lunch with your team. You can do this over Zoom. If your budget permits, consider having lunch delivered ahead of time. Your employees will be grateful that they’ve now got one less meal to prepare.
Use this time to ask people how they’re doing and share suggestions that may help others cope during this difficult time.
Record a weekly message and send it out to the team. A friend just told me about a product he’s been using to make his communication more personal. It’s called BombBomb.
You can use a service like this one to easily customize a personal message to an employee to commend this person for a job well done.
A video message from the boss is certainly more exciting than receiving an “atta boy” in an email.
There ya go. Three simple tips that cost basically nothing (just a little time) but will provide your team with so much value.
Your assignment this week is to pick one of these ideas and commit to doing it for at least for the next three weeks as we head into the holiday seasons. Keep me updated on your results (Roberta@matusonconsulting.com), and if you need any help, don’t hesitate to ask.