Managing through COVID-19: What your Employees Need Most

We are in the thick of an unprecedented time where all aspects of everyday life and business are dictated by the Coronavirus and fear.  Unemployment is at an all time high and businesses have been forced to close their doors.  While this negatively impacts most businesses, the effects to small businesses are most detrimental. For businesses that are deemed essential, it is imperative that leadership rise to the occasion during this global pandemic to inspire hope and resiliency in place of anxiety and uncertainty.  In order to move employees from a place of fear to a place of confidence and engagement, business leaders have to present a clear path forward. 

A forerunner in employee engagement metrics, Gallup, performed a meta-analysis that found four components that employees require of business leadership in times of crisis.  These four components or needs include: trust, compassion, stability, and hope. From their research that reviewed the findings of past crises and applied it to the impact of COVID-19, five actionable practices were derived to act as an audit tool to gauge just how well you are providing your employees with what is needed most in this time of crisis.

1.My leadership has a clear plan of action. During trying times, it is important that employees have faith in leadership to guide them through the obstacles in place.  They need to be able to trust that there is a clear path forward. However, Gallup has found that only 39% of American workers feel that their leadership has communicated a clear plan of action. 

2. I feel well-prepared to do my job. Having the tools you need to do your job is very     important and painfully obvious. With social distancing in play and working from      home becoming the new normal, this is even more important. For those who work in customer facing roles, PPE has become a necessity in addition to the tools needed to do their job.  Those who are new to working from home, now need to ensure they have proper equipment and a conducive home office setting.  In adapting to these new working condition, Gallup has found that 54% of Americans feel they are well-prepared to do their job.

3. My supervisor keeps me informed about what is going on. Communication and transparency are key in dealing with crisis management.  An organization’s response to COVID-19 should be clear and communicated across the entire organization.  However, it is the manager or supervisor who is responsible for providing understanding of the response and helping their direct reports adjust to the changes.  This includes flexibility as well as managing expectations.  Gallup has reported that only 48% of American respondents feel that their  supervisor or manager keeps them informed about what is going on in response to COVID-19.

4. My organization cares about my wellbeing.  A key component associated with employee engagement is employee wellbeing. During this pandemic, many employees are working from home with the added stress of having school aged children at home due to school closures. Flexibility and compassion from employers is imperative with the new normal in work-life balance during this crisis. Gallup has found that less than half of Americans, about 45%, feel like their organizations care about their wellbeing with respect to the impact of COVID-19.

5. Over the past 24 hours, how often have you been practicing social distancing? Don’t be part of the problem. It has been shown by the CDC and other governing agencies that in order to lessen the spread of VOVID-19, social distancing must be practiced continuously and consistently. We live in a time where technology is a vital part of everyday live, and we are fortunate enough to be able to use technology to stay together while we stay home. However, Gallup has found that only 26% percent of Americans reported they ‘Always’ practice social distancing and 40% reported that they practice social distancing ‘Very Often.’

It is highly recommended that you use this free tool to evaluate the pulse of your workforce as soon as possible.  Gallup provides free access to the COVID-19 leadership audit here.  They have found that a high response rate can be achieved in just 48 hours.  If you find that you do not score in the higher range, look at this as an opportunity. Work directly with your employees to find out how you can better provide them with what they need most in terms of trust, compassion, stability, and hope.

Millennials and CSR: An Infographic

This infographic was created as a supplement to my dissertation proposal defense last weekend.  It provides a high level overview of the significance of corporate social responsibility in the recruitment and engagement of millennial employees.

This infographic was created as a supplement to my dissertation proposal defense last weekend.  It provides a high level overview of the significance of corporate social responsibility in the recruitment and engagement of millennial employees.

Millennials and CSR

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GIVE Pgh: My Experience Building a PWA

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As a tech for good fellow with Net Impact, I was tasked with creating an impact project that would reach at least 250 people. The impact project I created is a progressive web app (PWA) called GIVE Pgh. The purpose of this app is for simpler charitable giving to non-profit organizations in the Pittsburgh area. The app will feature a new non-profit organization each month allowing users to donate through the JustGiving donation platform. This app aims to showcase the lesser known charity organizations in the Pittsburgh area that get overlooked.

The GIVE Pgh app aims to address the lack of support for smaller and lesser known charitable organizations in Pittsburgh. According to the 501c3 registry from the IRS, there are over 4,000 tax exempt or non-profit entities in the area. However, there are only a handful that get continuous recognition from the larger fundraisers throughout the region.

The GIVE Pgh app uses the JustGiving donation platform to provide simple and secure charitable giving. The simple donation integration API was used to achieve this. The app was developed with the GoodBarber app builder. The entire process was spent developing and designing the application. In addition, time was spent working with the JustGiving development team to get all the branding and necessary information for the app.

The GIVE Pgh app was published on April 29th, 2018. I have tested the app, but would like it to be tested by potential end users. The app has been downloaded by people in my personal network and I am awaiting feedback. I plan to take all feedback received and make adjustments to the app if necessary.

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With the help of the feedback from users, the GIVE Pgh app will give smaller charitable organizations the opportunity to have their missions spread across a different demographic. This exposure will help raise funds to continue to carry out the visions of these organizations.

The GIVE Pgh app will be sustained past this fellowship by becoming a non-profit organization. Currently I fund this project out of pocket as a progressive web app. However, I would like to upgrade the app from a PWA to a native application that would be available in the Google Play store for Android and the Apple App Store. I understand this is not an easy feat, however, I plan to file tax exempt status for GIVE Pgh and collaborate with interested people to grow this impact project.

There was a lot to learn during this process around patience, expectations, and the complexity of app building. Building an app, even if it is a progressive web app, is time consuming and takes both financial and technical wherewithal.

Continue reading “GIVE Pgh: My Experience Building a PWA”

CSR Initiatives Attract Top Talent

Competition is thicker than ever when it comes to the job market.  More and more candidates have advanced degrees and certifications that would, in the past, provide an advantage in the hiring procesimagess.  This leads one to believe that the job market has turned into a seller’s market over the years, where quality job seekers come a dime a dozen and employers have their pick.  While this may be the case for the average job seekers simply looking to get their foot in the door.  This is not the case for top talent with their own set of requirements they expect from an employer.

Top talent, especially those that are millennials, demand to work for innovative organizations that have more to offer than a decent benefits package and a competitive salary. Many want to work for a company that is socially responsible and focused on engagement of their employees.

Surveys administered from Gallup , Deloitte, and Net Impact, to name a few, show that job seekers and current employees prefer to work for organizations that are committed to CSR. They want the organization they work for to share their personal values and make a sociological-environmental impact.

Therefore, in order to attract top talent, many companies have changed their brand strategies while ramping up CSR initiatives. Sustainability and corporate social responsibility are not new philosophies in business.  That is why the focus now is not on whether or not a firm has a CSR initiative, as most companies do.  It is the extent to which the organization incorporates CSR in their framework and the sincerity of the programs that attract top talent.