Leadership Lessons From The Pandemic
I have always been interested in the organizational development of companies and how their culture can affect employee productivity. Over the past year, I’ve been watching and learning from the changing job market, both as a recruiter and also from a personal perspective.
Here are some of the top takeaways which I think can help everybody going forward. Lessons from 2020 that both job seekers and businesses could find useful – even in a less tumultuous year.
Safety Measures Say More Than We Might Think
COVID gave many business owners a crash course in how to respond to a crisis. Many businesses developed creative solutions to keep their employees and customers safe. Others, not so much.
In a recent webinar from EHS: Leadership Lessons from the Pandemic, the presenter, Travis Lance, brought to light how companies reacted to COVID in both positive and negative ways. He outlined his experience supporting companies from this past year and suggestions for companies across the US for a healthier and more compliant work environment.
He highlighted how the changes companies had to make on the fly had unforeseen repercussions that affected not just the safety of their employees and customers but also their:
- Brand (both internally and externally)
- Employee relations
- Competitive edge
During normal times, these are all areas that many companies work very hard to maintain. But an organization’s real worth is rarely fully visible during the good times. It’s when COVID pressure-tested businesses that many of their true colors were revealed.
Communication, Transparency and Trust
Many of the companies who made the best decisions during the COVID shutdown shared four common values:
- Strong communications through the organization
- Emphasis on input from employees
- An expanded approach to servant leadership
- Commitment to building continuous trust
On the other hand, many businesses who reacted poorly to COVID shared unappealing commonalities such as employee lawsuits and audits from OSHA.
During non-covid times, many of these businesses claimed communication, transparency, and trust were values they held near and dear – all values that could have helped them through the crisis. So what happened?
The overall culprit seems to have been a lack of empathy. So, in spite of what companies claimed were values they held near and dear, more often than not, it was a lack of empathy that demonstrated otherwise – and that which may have caused many businesses irreparable damage.
Why It’s Not Too Late for Businesses to do The Right Thing
Just over a year ago, OSHA submitted its first response to COVID, and it applied to only 3 industries. One month later, OSHA adjusted its response and expanded COVID guidelines to all industries. Even today, OSHA is continuing to adjust and update its response to COVID.
We are entering a new phase now. One where we are both continuing to deal with a global pandemic, but also coming back into the light. As more workers become vaccinated and businesses begin to re-open, this is a very optimistic time, but also a very uncertain time as well.
Hopefully businesses take note from those “lessons learned.” Now is a time to follow through on their values and lead with empathy. And not just because it makes sense from a business perspective. But because we have a unique opportunity to – in what we hope are the last days of a time we are all eager to put behind us – keep one another safe and healthy going forward.
Recruiting Top Leadership is Key
We know how important it is to have the very best leadership at the helm of your company. If your business needs a leader who can guide your team through good times and the bad, contact the recruiters at Versique today.