Keeping the normalcy alive

Provide an outlet for your team to keep people engaged and positive in a crisis

Now, more than ever, it’s crucial to keep team members engaged, connected and positive. With so many unknowns spiraling around during this global pandemic, it’s essential for employees to feel like they have normalcy, safety and an outlet for communication within the workplace and among peers.

As a business leader, you want to create an engaged and positive environment and outlet for your team. Here are some suggestions to help your team cope with their stressors, while keeping them engaged and positive.

Be fully transparent. Tell your team how the business is doing, whether it’s good news or bad. Be open and honest with how you’re personally feeling, to build a strong connection.

At COE Distributing, I sent out daily emails with business updates and numbers, ideas for the company that I want input on and positive messages. I also sent out two video recordings each week that let team members know what’s happening in the company.

Stay in constant communication. Have daily huddles among departments, facilities and the entire company. Use these huddles to discuss problems, find solutions and check in. Daily huddles are critical for a department and business to run efficiently, and they are even more critical when they’re the only way team members working from home can have face-to-face interactions.

Have fun. At COE, I’ve been offering two live breakaway sessions each week, where the COE team members and sales reps can come together and talk about anything from what shows they’re binge watching to anything business related. I’ve also hosted Friday evening happy hours.

Bring your team members in on ideas and solutions. Allow them to share their opinions and offer suggestions. You never know what you will hear that you can use to help business grow.

Keep employee engagement opportunities in full swing. At COE Distributing, book groups were still done virtually, along with birthday celebrations, Warrior Helmet ceremonies, Employee of the Quarter announcement, and the Rising Stars Program meetings and projects. COE Distributing is also an employee engagement partner of the Pittsburgh Penguins, so the company hosted webinars and book groups with the partners at the Penguins as well.

Always have an open-door policy. Let your team members know that you’re there for them and that there are other resources available that allow them opportunities to talk through their thoughts and feelings.

Help employees feel safe. If your team is coming to the workplace every day, make sure the proper guidelines are in place and you supply them with the PPE to make them feel secure. If team members can work from home, encourage them to do so, but supply them with the tools needed for success and, once again, communicate always.

While the world is experiencing a new normal, there are still ways to keep the old normal in your company. Provide your team members with stability, transparency and engagement, and you’ll be surprised how much your company still flourishes, even through a pandemic.

J.D. Ewing is president and CEO of COE Distributing