WHAT: 45-minute webinar recorded on March 25, 2020

WHO: Melissa Jezior, Eagle Hill Consulting’s President and CEO joined by
Mary Dalrymple, Eagle Hill’s Services Lead

Transcript

Moderator:
Welcome to the webinar hosted by Eagle Hill Consulting, “Meeting the Needs of your New Remote Workforce During the Coronavirus Pandemic.” Logistics for today’s webinar as follows. All of our attendees are in listen only mode, but we do want your questions. Throughout the session you can use the question or chat function to type in any questions you might have. We are recording this session and you will receive an email with a link to a replay.

The information about this webinar and the report, the results of the polling that we’re going to share with you today will be available on www.eaglehillconsulting.com. We encourage you to share information on social media about this webinar. You can find us on Twitter @WeAreEagleHill. If you have any audio or technical issues during the webinar please call GoToWebinar at 1-800-263-6317.

Our agenda today is as follows: introductions, a review of new survey findings we’re releasing today, recommendations, and then we’ll take your questions. We have three speakers today. Melissa Jezior. She’s President and CEO of Eagle Hill Consulting. Melissa is joined by Mary Dalrymple. She is the services lead with Eagle Hill Consulting, and Millie Parikh, market research lead with Eagle Hill Consulting. And with that I’ll turn the session over to Melissa.

0:01:32

Melissa:
Awesome, fantastic. Well, thank you everybody for… [silence 0:01:36 – 0:01:43] …of your new remote workforce during the coronavirus. So today our plan is to focus on the employees’ experience. We recognize with this crisis there’s also financial, and economic, and all sorts of other impacts as a result of this pandemic. But for the next 45 minutes our goal is on helping our teams and our colleagues get through this together.

0:02:06

And our theme, as you will see, of the presentation is “we versus me.” And this extends to our broader community as well, including clients, and neighbors, and friends, because we’re all figuring this out together day by day and no one has all of the answers. So the experience of the individual employee and all of us being forced into an extreme telework situation overnight is really a shared human experience. So in the spirit of we versus me we wanted to host this webinar today. We want to share and discuss best telework practices and indispensible tips on maintaining your employees’ connectedness, motivation, and empowerment, even when you’re all working apart.

0:02:53

So some of the things we’ll share today are industry best practices, and some of the things are just things that we’ve been learning and adapting over the last week at Eagle Hill that we wanted to share with you all. But we don’t have all the answers, either, so we want to learn from you as well, and hear from you, so throughout this presentation we’ve built in some discussion questions as well, and we’d love to help each other out and learn from each other, so please join us in the discussion topics as well. So with that I will turn it over to Millie.

Millie:
Thanks, Melissa. So many employees are feeling into this crisis, and in this new remote work environment we surveyed over 1,000 employees across the U.S. between March 17th and 19th. The survey polled respondents on COVID-19 and its potential impact on their work experience and environment. Specifically, we wanted to learn three things.

0:03:59

First we wanted to learn how employees feel about their job security, second how prepared employees are to work from home, and finally how confident employees feel in their organization’s ability to navigate this crisis. As you might guess, the data we’re about to share with you is likely a bit more optimistic than the reality today. Since we conducted the survey just a few days ago many states have required people to stay at home, schools have announced closures for the remainder of the year, and the stock market, up until today, as you may have seen in the news, has continued to take a hit. So let’s take a look and see what employees are thinking in this crisis.

0:04:41

So the first thing that we found in the survey is that more than half or 55% of U.S. employees are worried or very worried about their job security in light of COVID-19. This is probably not surprising. I’m sure a lot of you have gotten questions from your employees related to this. Next we found that nearly half of U.S. employees are seeing an increase in remote work as a result of COVID-19, but only slightly more, as you can see on the next slide, have the technology, tools and training needed to transition to a work from home situation.

Finally, employees aren’t very confident in their organization’s ability to navigate COVID-19. Half or less of employees who took the survey believe their organization provides regular communication, is making changes to adapt to changing realities, has the resilience to navigate this crisis, has trusted leaders and managers, and finally, has a culture to foster collaboration and innovation to deal with COVID-19.

0:05:48

As we all know, this situation is constantly evolving. Employees aren’t very optimistic about their jobs, they don’t necessarily feel equipped to work from home, and they aren’t sure their organization can weather the storm. There’s a lot of fear and uncertainty out there. Our organizations are confronted with a dual challenge: first, how to keep the business moving and operating, and second, how to keep our employees engaged throughout this crisis. And that’s exactly what we want to talk about today, best practices on how to operate in this new normal and make the best of the new world of telework that we’ve all been thrown into so that we first reduce fear, second bring to life our core values in this crisis, and finally, keep employees engaged so we’re stronger when we get back to work as usual. I’m going to pass it back to Melissa and Mary next to share some of the best practices that we’ve identified.

0:06:45

Melissa:
Excellent. Thanks, Millie. So let’s talk about those best practices. All right, move to the next slide, please. Okay, so stay true to your culture. This is something that if you know anything about me or anything about Eagle Hill you know that we are all about culture. And I think that at a time of crisis it’s critically important to stay true to your culture as an organization. So let’s talk about the first kind of thing that will help bring this to life.

So I think it’s first relying on your core values as a guide. I think that, you know, you’ve taken the time, you have these core values, you’ve presumably written them down. Maybe they’re on a wall in your office somewhere. They can really be a foundational item for you as you’re trying to make hard decisions through this crisis, and they can also really help you lean on them because they should bring some aspect of comfort to your employees because it should be an air of familiarity and really help build that sense of community.

0:07:58

So at Eagle Hill one of our core values is family. So this is something we’ve been really drawing on heavily over the past week, not only reminding people that we need to support each other both personally and professionally, because for like in the first time ever our personal and professional lives have been clashing together. And clashing may not be the right word. But they are so intricately linked now, more than they ever have been. And so we’ve been trying to remind people to be supportive of each other as a result of that.

But we also are using it as a way to emphasize this we versus me and make sure that we really emphasize that we’re all in this together and that the only way we’re going to get through this is together. So a couple things we have done is we’ve been really encouraging our employees to post on like our central Microsoft Teams site pictures and videos and drawings of how their commute has changed.

0:09:03

And it’s something silly and simple, but it’s been a nice way for us as an organization and as a community to have kind of a shared moment, a shared break from a lot of the stressful things that are happening around us and really give us something to smile about as we see each other’s families or silly pictures of our colleagues’ kids. So it’s been really a nice way for a mental break and a reason to smile.

Another thing that we’ve been doing to emphasize our family core value with a lot of our teams. we’ve been on tons of video calls over the last week and a lot of our teams now have hosted MTV Crib style tours of their workplaces, so welcoming them into their homes and showing each other kind of what that looks like. So my point here is whatever your core values are, think about them and be very purposeful about how they need to show up at this time, at a time like this.

0:10:08

Okay, the second thing I want to talk about is setting a clear vision for the crisis. Now you might say to me Melissa, how can a crisis have a vision? Like that doesn’t make sense. But I think it’s so important right now, like we are all, like there’s so much misinformation, there’s so much information, there’s so much uncertainty, there’s so much stress that I think it’s really important as leaders for us to outline exactly what we’re trying to accomplish during this crisis.

So at Eagle Hill we’ve outlined three objectives that we’re focusing on. The first is we want to do our part to flatten the curve, so that’s our first objective. Our second objective is to keep our employees safe and well. And then our third objective is to keep the business as healthy as we can as we move into a potential economic downturn.

0:10:57

So once you establish these kind of objectives or your vision it becomes your, kind of your playbook for all the decisions that you need to make and your framework for what you’re communicating to your employees, so then they also know where your head is at, what you’re prioritizing, and you’re being very transparent in terms of what you’re working on and towards.

And then last but not least I want to talk about prioritizing employee safety and wellness. As you may remember from what Millie was talking about, only 31% of survey respondents said their organization is proactive about addressing concerns for the health of their workplace. So this is really an area I think for improvement for all of us. So I think the key here is that we have to be very deliberate about making sure that we state the priority loud and clear and then take very visible actions to make sure our employees know that they are being supported throughout this, and with the thought that if you support your employees they in turn will support your clients, which will in turn create a healthier business.

0:12:07

So back to the we versus me, it really helps emphasize that point. So a couple things we’ve been doing at Eagle Hill in terms of actions to support this. We’ve set up a page on SharePoint for all of our COVID-19 related resources so it becomes like a one stop shop for people so they know where to go if they need information about this. We’ve made sure that we’re putting cheat sheets together, etc., to make sure everybody understands their healthcare benefits right now.

We do things like, you know, we’re a laptop culture, but in our office we have big monitors at a hoteling type—we have a hoteling office as well, but we have a lot of big screen monitors, so we’ve been working on identifying who might need those in their home offices because of a health reason or maybe they’re just working through crunching a ton of data.

0:13:01

So we’re working on trying to redistribute those screens to people’s homes. We’re also working on identifying free resources and mental health resources that we can share with our employees. So I think it’s a key to take really good care of your employees and let them know that’s a priority.

So my question for all of you, and I would love to hear from you all on what you’re seeing in your own organizations that are reinforcing culture and core values during this time period. I would love to—so feel free to jump in. It would be great to start a discussion.

Moderator:
Yeah, so just as a reminder to everyone, you do have comments. Just type them in the comment box and we can read those out loud or in the chat box and we can read those out periodically throughout the session.

0:14:12

So it looks like we have a couple comments coming in. Just a note that cultures may be evolving for the positive during this time such as increasing [trust] in collaboration as a result of remote work.

[Millie]:
I would agree with that.

Melissa:
Yeah. I think it’ll be really interesting to see how the world changes with teleworking after this big experiment.

Moderator:
The next one we have. We don’t always talk about our culture and core values so we have found this to be a good time to reinforce these things.

Melissa:
Yeah.

Moderator:
And [put them in] the context of the crisis and new normal of remote work.

0:14:57

Melissa:
I think that’s great. I think that would be—that’s a huge po—that would be a major positive or silver lining, I would say.

Moderator:
Great. We’ve got a couple more. I’ll keep reading those. We just started a wellness series where we brought in a professional coach to help talk through those topics as chosen by the team members.

Melissa:
Ooh, I love that.

[Millie]:
That’s great.

Moderator:
Another one. We’re having weekly meetings with our CEO to check in and see how everyone else is doing.

Melissa:
That’s one thing we do at Eagle Hill as well. Yeah, I think that’s really important during times like this.

Moderator:
It’s been a great time to focus on the self and make sure the team carves out time to think about self-help and self.

Melissa:
Mm-hmm.

Moderator:
We are a face-to-face organization so we are using video rather than just audio as much as possible.

Melissa:
Yes. So are we. I think that’s hugely important. That’s something Mary will be talking about in a couple of minutes. But I think video is essential for keeping us all connected.

0:16:00

Moderator:
Just another one. My team is setting up a weekly huddle where we connect as human. Discussions are focused on how we’re doing, no business talk. This replaces water cooler conversation.

Melissa:
That’s fantastic.

Moderator:
It’s important at this time to keep us all weekly, biweekly one-on-ones. If nothing else so staff knows that they’re not alone, their managers are thinking of them.

Melissa:
Yes.

Moderator:
We use Basecamp as a project management tool. Our leadership created a space for us to try to continue our culture using that platform so we have announcements, updates and woo boards where we can share updates, pictures, and are even doing a social distancing spirit week.

Mary:
Cool. Very cool.

Moderator:
[Could be a creative sock day.]

Moderator:
A couple more I’ll read. Some colleagues weren’t able to telework before and told that this can’t be done, so it’s a silver lining. It is possible and that many tools exist to help provide staff members the opportunity to telework even post COVID.

0:17:07

We also remind people that their priority at the moment may not match what is going on with someone else [in the] home. One more. We’re doing virtual happy hours and scheduling group workout classes over lunchtime.

Melissa:
Oh, I love that.

Mary:
Cool.

Moderator:
Yeah, so that was great. Thanks, everyone, for all those great discussion points. We’re going to move on to the next slide here.

Melissa:
That sounds great. Okay, so the next recommendation that we have is showing up as a real person. And that is really speaking to our leaders and our managers. So you remember from the data that Millie had talked about, she said we saw in the survey that only 50% of employees felt that they received regular updates from leadership and only 32% of employees felt that they had trusted leaders and managers to navigate a crisis.

0:18:04

So I think these two statistics really point to a big gap in communications and a need to build more trust with employees. And I think to do this more than ever employees are looking for authenticity. And I think it’s incumbent upon leaders to show vulnerability because I think this continues to promote the we versus me. We really, truly are all in this together, and it’s such an unprecedented time that we need to learn from each other as humans, and we as leaders need to help set new norms. So I think we can do this by being vulnerable and showing the human side of ourselves to help kind of built that trust and build that we versus me. So a couple things I want to talk about.

0:18:54

The first is communicating early and often. So I think to help build trust and lower anxiety you should be communicating, I mean, over communicating. For example, last week we were communicating with our employees every single day as to what was happening, and we were being personal and we were being transparent and telling them what we knew, what we didn’t know.

So, for example, we set up a weekly now COVID-19 meeting on Mondays. It’s with the entire company. I lead the meeting and we go through kind of the three objectives that we talked about earlier in terms of flattening the curve, keeping employees healthy and safe, and then keeping the business healthy. And we talk about updates and priorities in each of those areas and actions each of our employees can take in each one of those areas. And then we answer all sorts of questions that employees might have.

0:19:52

Then we do another meeting, a 15 minute meeting on Wednesdays, again with the entire company, to make sure that we’re keeping that communication really flowing. And then we also do things like I sent a one minute video out after I went on a walk with my kids and talked about that and then gave a couple of updates. The head of our people and culture team also sent out a video as well. So we’ve been really trying to make our communication drumbeat consistent and often. And I can’t say that enough. If you think you’re communicating enough you probably need to even still communicate more.

0:20:31

The second point I want to talk about is demonstrating empathy through storytelling. So this is also kind of tying it back to this we versus me and being personalized. So an example, last week on one of these phone calls I just mentioned we had all 250 people of Eagle Hill on the video call and in the middle of the call I hear from downstairs, “Mom! Mom!” And I realized my 9-year-old was making a cake and needed help taking the cake out of the oven. So in the middle of this phone call I looked at everybody and I said guys, I’ve got to go downstairs for a minute and get this cake out of the oven.

0:21:12

So I put my computer right on my chair where I’m sitting right now, I ran downstairs, put the oven mitts on, grabbed the cake, and then ran back upstairs. And I think we all need to be able to share moments like that, and tell stories like that, and be really open, because that is the new norm. I think in our old lives many times we would be mortified by that or trying to hide something like that, but I think that is the new norm and we need to embrace that.

So we’ve been, at Eagle Hill, asking people to share stories of what it’s like to be coping through this. So one examples is we hosted a parent only call last week where we got all the parents at Eagle Hill together to start talking about how do you manage working while you’ve got kids now at home who are distance learning—and I say that in quotes. [Laughs.] So I think storytelling can be very powerful and a really nice way to be able to help connect as humans and build the we versus me.

0:22:14

And then last but not least it’s two-way dialogue. This is so, so, so important. So every time we get Eagle Hill together we’re not only telling them look, we want to communicate with you as much as we possibly can and be as consistent and open and transparent as we can, but we also need to hear from you all. So that’s like a consistent message we keep saying, is keep telling us what concerns you have, keep telling us what questions you have, keep telling us what ideas you have because the only way we’re going to get through this is by communicating with each other.

The other thing we’ve been trying to do is we have an open survey link. It’s just through SurveyMonkey, but we leave it open all the time and it gives, it’s like a—not a suggestion box, but it’s kind of almost like a virtual suggestion box, but it’s our virtual question and answer box, and so people can submit questions any time.

0:23:05

And those are the questions that we use in all of our all company meetings. And one of the keys that I would recommend with questions like that is we read them in the entirety as they show up in the suggestion box, so to speak. No matter how uncomfortable or sticky the question might feel, we still read it out loud in its entirety because we believe that’s building trust and building transparency. And I think at a time like this that’s just incredibly important.

So with that I’m going to turn it over to some more potential group discussion if people are willing to answer. What other leadership communication strategies have worked well or have you all seen work well in your organizations?

0:23:49

Moderator:
So just as a reminder, like the last time, if you have any comments or thoughts just type them into the question box or send a chat and we’ll read those aloud. It looks like the first one we have coming in, random check-ins, pinging people and asking how they’re doing, individualized communications across the company, not necessarily within the same function team that we work with on a normal basis. Another thought. We check in and communicate with our teams even if there are no updates to share.

Melissa:
Mm-hmm. I think that’s very important. You don’t have to say much or really anything at all, but I think it’s important to continually just communicate.

Moderator:
And then another comment. It’s important [to have] clarity and messages that are based on facts. And it looks like a couple more are coming in. Let me just read those. Just a comment. The cake situation just really demonstrates authenticity.

Melissa:
[Laughs.] Can’t get any more authentic. At least my 9-year-old would agree.

0:25:05

Moderator:
Informal video check-ins from leadership have been really fun to see. Regarding empathy and honesty, it’s important not to pretend it’s business as usual. Verbally admitting [things] are likely to hurt with as many dollar specifics as possible is helpful. Let’s see… Leaders at different levels from the CEO on down need to be aligned and consistent on key messages.

Mary:
Yes, I would agree with that as well.

Moderator:
Okay, that’s all we got in, so we’ll move on to the next.

Melissa:
Fantastic. Awesome. Well, over to Mary.

Mary:
Awesome. All right, thanks, Melissa. So we saw in the findings earlier that only 24% of employees felt their organization’s culture fosters innovation and collaboration.

0:26:00

So that really tells us that the majority of organizations are really not leveraging their employee ideas to deal with this crisis. So our recommendation here is to empower your employees to creatively solution. And we think that if organizations are leveraging everyone’s ideas and really making it a team effort they’re going to be more successful than if they were to just rely on leaders alone.

So here are some specific tips on how you can empower your people. The first one here is offering multiple idea sharing channels. So your employees really know best what they need in this moment, so it makes sense to bring them into the conversation, hear about their challenges, and then encourage them to be part of solving for those challenges. So depending on your organization you probably have multiple options for channels available where you can engage employees. You might have teleconferencing tools, or SharePoint sites, or even innovation platforms.

0:26:59

So we’ve mentioned some of these already, but here at Eagle Hill Melissa’s really been soliciting employee ideas on our weekly stand up calls and really kind of creating space and opening the floor to hear their perspectives on how we can meet our three objectives at the moment, which is supporting our community, each other, and our business and our clients. So that’s been really helpful, that kind of intentional creating of space and again making it at two-way conversation. And we also have a SharePoint site where we centralize resources and provide a forum for employee input.

So the second tip here is again using collaboration tools to facilitate real time engagement. So many of you probably have more dynamic tools like this that you’re using, and it might be Yammer or Slack or Microsoft Teams, but you might not have thought yet about how to use them during this crisis. So you could think about setting up a specific channel or a new group that’s really oriented towards the sharing of ideas.

0:28:03

And if you haven’t done a refresher training for a while on these tools, that would be a good time for doing that now. And at Eagle Hill over the past week or so we launched Microsoft Teams and we’ve really been using that tool to facilitate real time communication and engagement, hosting challenges and sort of interacting real time on that platform.

So the third tip here is encouraging peer-to-peer sharing of resources. So again in that spirit of we versus me we are all in this truly together, so leaders and team leads can set an example and really encourage their employees to help each other during this time. And we’ve really found that to be the case at Eagle Hill. Our employees have really been stepping up and finding creative ways to support each other.

0:28:57

So just a couple examples here. Our managers have been creating and sharing resources on how to build our capacity for mobile work, whether it’s leading virtual teams or facilitating virtual meetings. Our wellness team internally has put together a number of resources to support our employees’ mental and physical health, so even things like where are all the virtual workout classes happening and how can folks find them.

And then lastly our Eagle Hill employees that are parents have really been supporting each other, sharing resources, helping each other stay productive and just generally sharing tips from working from home. So I’ll open it up again to all of you to hear your ideas on how your organization has engaged employees over the past week or so or any examples of how employees are supporting each other.

0:29:52

Moderator:
So just as a reminder if you all have questions or comments, feel free to type those into the question or chat box and we’ll read those out loud. It looks like we have a couple come in. We have been sharing best practices from people who already had been working remotely.

Melissa:
Mm-hmm.

Mary:
A great idea.

Moderator:
And another one. We are giving employees a formal place to ask questions, for example, Slack

Melissa:
Mm-hmm. Great.

Mary:
Excellent.

Moderator:
Okay, we’ve got one other one coming in. We have shared tip sheets with teams on how to effectively meet, lead, and work together.

Melissa:
Mm-hmm.

Moderator:
We’re celebrating nearly all the little things. For example, someone on our team [finished] project today so we had a 15 minute all team virtual goodbye with online kudos board and sent her off in style.

Melissa:
Ah, that’s cute.

Mary:
I love that one. That’s a great example.

0:31:01

Moderator:
Okay, so I think we can move on to the next.

Melissa:
Perfect.

Mary:
All right. Okay, so we also saw on our survey findings earlier that there’s been a real influx of remote workers over the past week, which is really no big surprise. I think we’re all living that. But yet nearly half of those workers don’t feel like they have what they need to transition to working from home, so there’s really a tremendous need for organizations to figure out how to best support their employees in this new remote work environment.

So our recommendation for making this transition a little easier is to what we’re calling humanize the teleworking experience. You’ve probably seen a lot of remote tips out there about finding a dedicated work space and establishing a routine, but today we’re going to share some tips that are more focused on maintaining those social connections and strong interpersonal relationships because we think that those are going to be the real driver behind what keeps employees engaged and happy throughout this time.

0:32:05

And many of these tips I’m about to share we’ve been putting into practice here at Eagle Hill. So the first one is don’t forget small talk. I think someone earlier mentioned the water cooler conversations, so I think that relates here. But the idea is to really spend the first few minutes of every meeting connecting with your colleagues on a personal level, so that sort of chitchat shouldn’t just be reserved for in person meetings. And so it’s important to set aside that time and it helps to kind of build rapport and trust with your team.

The second one is to require short breaks between calls to reset. So actually earlier this week Melissa announced a new Eagle Hill policy to promote team wellness, and that is that for all hour long calls we’re requiring that they end ten minutes early and for all half hour calls to end five minutes early.

0:33:02

And the reason for that is really to allow for that mental reset time that you typically have in an office setting if you’re going to the kitchen or grabbing a cup of coffee. So we want to avoid any scenarios where folks have been glued to their desks for hours on end and really have no energy at the end of the day.

So the third tip is around hosting daily stand ups and an occasional virtual social hour. So it sounds like some folks are already doing this on the call. We’ve been doing it at Eagle Hill. Our teams have been scheduling 15 minute daily stand ups where they do share how they’re coping in this new environment, best practices for working together virtually, but also just making sure that they are focusing on the priority needs of the day.

0:33:56

Given that things are shifting so quickly I think getting that alignment on a daily basis kind of from the leadership on down to the team level is really important.

And then of course using the video conferencing for social events, whether it be virtual coffee or happy hours, really helps with the relationship building. I know a lot of folks are doing this in their personal lives, talking to family and friends on Zoom, so really thinking about how you can do this for your professional life and with your colleagues as well. So again we’ll open up the conversation here to any other tips that folks have for maintaining connectedness while working apart.

Moderator:
And just as a reminder, if you have any thoughts or comments, just type them into the question or the chat box and we’ll read them aloud. Let’s see, the first one. Small groups of employees are organizing events for their teams often to keep people engaged in their work. Like you said, virtual happy hours and coffee chats.

Melissa:
Mm-hmm.

0:35:02

Moderator:
We are empowering employees to block their calendars for personal time requirements, for example, feeding their kids breakfast and lunch.

Melissa:
Mm-hmm.

Moderator:
Another comment. Now that kids are in the house, when they appear on a video call the team will take the time to wave at the little person—

Melissa:
Mm-hmm.

Moderator:
—and to stay. If possible even with kids if necessary opt for video over audio. Almost feels like an in person meeting, and added bonus of feeling compelled to pay more attention to the content of the meeting.

Melissa:
Mm-hmm.

Moderator:
This is a great opportunity—

Mary:
Absolutely.

Moderator:
—to have coffee chats for people who haven’t met or really gotten to know each other yet within the company if they don’t work together on projects.

Melissa:
Mm-hmm.

Moderator:
Great. Well, thank you for those. And now we’re on to the just general Q&A section of the webinar, so if you have any general questions for any of our speakers, again feel free to type those in. And of course you can also submit any comments that you might have as well. We do have one more comment that’s come in. We encourage video and remind people they don’t have to dress up.

Melissa:
[Laughs.]

Melissa:
Yeah, we were saying at Eagle Hill we all need to get real comfortable with having messy hair, wearing baseball hats, the whole bit.

Moderator:
Questions are coming in. I’ll read those aloud. You’ve seen a lot in the news about the importance of Millennials in this crisis. Is this true within an organizational context also? If so, how should organizations be leveraging Millennials during this time?

0:36:59

Mary:
Sure, I’m happy to take that one. So yes, I think Millennials are going to play an important role, especially in this new remote work environment. I think you read a lot about Millennials naturally preferring a sort of collaborative work style, embracing flexibility, and they may be more tech savvy. Now those are all generalizations, but I think there’s some truth to it.

I think it’s smart for organizations to really rely on Millennials as sort of change agents during this time for how they can set an example for others, but also kind of coach and help other colleagues that might not be as comfortable with collaboration technology or feel like they don’t know how to use it. So definitely lean on that group right now. I think it makes a lot of sense.

0:37:58

Moderator:
The next question. Any tips for engaging introverted employees in this new virtual environment?

Melissa:
I think one thought would be is a couple of different—actually a couple different thoughts. I think one is someone mentioned using video and trying to move all the meetings to video. That’s definitely something we’ve been trying to do at Eagle Hill as well. Because I do think you then create more of a personal connection.

And then I think you can also manage the room, so to speak, like you would manage a room in person if someone was quieter or more introverted. You could say hey, Millie or Mary or whoever it might be, I noticed you’ve been quiet. What do you have to say? So it gives you an opportunity to really draw people out and allows you to see body language as well as you’re trying to manage through different meetings.

0:38:51

Mary:
Yeah, and just to build on that, I think being thoughtful about the format that you’re using in virtual meetings. One thing that works well is almost like a round robin style where you can give people equal speaking opportunity and kind of say I want everyone’s input on this topic. It’s actually something that Sheryl Sandberg has used in her leadership meetings. But it kind of lets people know that it’s coming to them and they can prepare their thoughts. Another quick idea is to send content ahead of time for a meeting—

Melissa:
That’s a great idea.

Millie:
I think introverts like to digest everything as opposed to feeling like it’s sprung on them in a meeting. So I think just giving time for folks to order their thoughts and then they’ll kind of come prepared to contribute.

Moderator:
Thank you. A couple more questions have come in. Do you have any tips or best practices for onboarding new hires remotely? I think everything shared today applies, but perhaps there are additional tips.

0:39:58

Melissa:
Yes. Well, too bad our people and culture lead is not on here because we’ve now moved all of our onboarding virtually as well as all of our recruiting virtually. So I do think all of the tips here have applied. The key ones that I’ve seen work so far as we’ve been virtually onboarding now for a week and a half is video, for sure. I think video is really almost even more important than any other time because I may have a relationship already with Mary and Millie, for example, where it becomes easy to talk on the phone, but new hires don’t have that. So I think that’s been really important.

And then I think following a similar routine that you do follow already with onboarding is important so you can try to give the best experience that you possibly can to those new hires who have been thrown into a difficult situation.

0:40:58

Millie:
One thing I would add to onboarding is also I think communication is key, so it’s not just that one experience like week one onboarding, but like also continuing the conversation week two, week three so that they feel integrated into the culture.

Melissa:
That’s a very good point.

Millie:
So definitely keep that communication strong so that they feel that sense of culture and belonging.

Melissa:
Good call.

Moderator:
Our next question. Can you say anything about the respondents for your sample? For example, do you have any demographics about the types of companies surveyed?

Millie:
We do. We surveyed 1,000 employees, over 1,000 employees, actually, across the United States and they were from all different industries. So there are some industry types that, you know, if that’s something that you want to see we can send in follow-up and share those demographics.

0:41:54

Moderator:
Thank you. The next one. Do you have any recommendations on how to handle any employees testing positive, how you anticipate sharing that info across a company if that were to happen, and what level of transparency?

Melissa:
Cool. I think the first and—I know what we’ve talked about internally is that first and foremost we have to protect the individual’s privacy. And so I think what you can share is somewhat limited because you want to make sure that you are respectful of the privacy.

At the same point you want to make sure people are aware of if they might have been exposed, so I think it would also be a process of understanding and working with that individual to backtrack and figure out where they had been exposed and then letting people know. That said, I think if we found ourselves with an employee I think we would at least let people know that we did have a positive tested employee, but that’s probably about what we would publicly announce.

0:43:07

Moderator:
The next question. Looking outside the organization, what advice would you have about engaging clients or customers in this new virtual world?

Melissa:
It’s funny, before the whole series of lockdowns happened I was at a dinner party where a bunch of people said I don’t know about you, but every store I’ve ever been to is letting me know how they’re dealing with coronavirus, every online blog I’ve been to, every, like, it seems I’ve gotten a thousand and one like COVID-19 here’s how we’re responding emails. So I do think it is important to engage your clients and your customers. I think you do need to be very thoughtful about who and what you want to communicate and what they would view as important.

0:43:57

So I think that’s kind of the first thought, is like taking a moment to say who are our stakeholders, what will they care about in all of this, and how do they make sure that they feel supported through this as well. So that would be my advice. I don’t know if you have anything to add, Mary or Millie.

Mary:
Yeah. I think for Eagle Hill and just, you know, for our industry, I guess, for consulting, it’s just making sure that we’re helpful to them in any way possible. So things like this webinar, like whatever they’re struggling with and trying to fall for in this moment is what we’re trying to, you know, that’s the service that we’re trying to help them with is navigate this uncertainty and be a resource. So I think just keeping in mind, you know, what is, to Melissa’s point, what’s top of mind for your customer at the moment and how you frame some of your communications and outreach around that.

0:45:01

Moderator:
Thank you. Our next question. When things go quote, unquote, back to normal, what are some of the things that you’re doing now that you’d like to continue doing?

Melissa:
Oh, sorry. Kelly, you broke up at the last moment.

Moderator:
Oh, I’m sorry. When things get back to normal, what are some things you’re doing now that you’d like to continue doing?

Melissa:
That’s a good question. You know, I don’t even know if I can fully answer that right now. I think right now our head is very much—I think it’s too soon to answer. I think right now I think it would be a ma—we’re trying this on for a week and a half so far. I think in very Eagle Hill style I am sure at the end of this we will sit down and do a full lessons learned on the whole experience and identify things that we do want to keep in place that did work, that didn’t work, things that we’ll want to take forward for the next crisis.

0:46:01

And so I imagine that will happen, for sure, but I think it’s too soon to say at this point what we would keep, what we wouldn’t.

Moderator:
Thank you. And just one logistics point of information. We did get some messages from some attendees, especially those of you working in government, you had some trouble viewing the webinar, but you could hear that. Just I guess some of the technology might have been blocked, so we apologize for that. We are recoding this session and will make sure that you get a replay of the session right away as well as a copy of the PowerPoint slides. So that looks like we’ve run through all the questions, so I will turn it back over to Melissa to close things out. Melissa?

Melissa:
Wonderful. Well, thank you so much, everybody. I really appreciate all of your time. And if you do have any further questions, do not hesitate to email any one of us. We’d be happy to continue the dialogue. So stay safe and healthy out there.

0:47:02
[End of recording.]