WHAT: 45-minute webinar recorded on April 29, 2020

WHO: Melissa Jezior, Eagle Hill Consulting’s President and CEO, and
Stephanie Mount, Chief People Officer, Eagle Hill Consulting

Transcript

Moderator:
Good afternoon, and welcome to the webinar hosted by Eagle Hill Consulting, “Returning to the Workplace Amid a Pandemic.” Just a quick note on logistics for today’s session. All of our attendees are in listen only mode, but we do want your questions. Throughout the presentation if you have questions, just use the question or the chat function on your control panel. We’ll be sure to respond to those questions throughout the session. You will receive an email with a link to a replay to the session along with the PowerPoint slides.

Information about this report and other webinars available from Eagle Hill are available at www.EagleHillConsulting.com. Of course we encourage you to share information about this session on social media. You can find us on Twitter @WeAreEagleHill. If you have any audio or technical issues during the session please call GoToWebinar at 1-800-263-6317.

0:01:08

In terms of logistics and agenda, we’ll be covering today introductions, an overview of new poll findings, provide some recommendations, and then we’ll take your questions. Introductions. We have two speakers today. The first is Melissa Jezior. She is the President and CEO of Eagle Hill Consulting. And joining Melissa is Stephanie Mount. She is the Chief People Officer for Eagle Hill Consulting. And with that I’ll turn it over to Melissa.

Melissa:
Awesome. Thanks, Kelly. Welcome, everybody. Happy Wednesday. I hope you’re all having a great week. We are excited to be here today. I’m excited to be here today talking about what is it going to take to reopen a physical workplace.

0:02:00

So I know everyone’s been watching the news. I have. I know Stephanie has. And we’re all very closely trying to figure out when the date is that we’ll be reopening all of our workplaces. And as we’ve been thinking about this we’re also trying to balance what are the needs of the business versus what are the needs of the people. And that’s what we’re here to talk about today, is how can we all best prepare not only our physical workplaces, but more importantly our people.

So we’ve been thinking a lot about that in terms of what are employee unique circumstances about coming back to work, what might they be concerned about, and what’s it going to take to bring them back to work. So to help shed light on this subject I’ve asked one of my favorite people and our Chief People Officer, Stephanie Mount, to join us today. She is in charge of our Eagle Hill COVID-19 planning, and I thought she might be able to give us some good perspective. Welcome, Stephanie.

0:02:57

Stephanie:
Thank you. I’m glad to be here today.

Melissa:
Awesome. I know obviously you’ve been thinking about this a lot. We have been talking about this a lot. But it seems like some states really aren’t sure when they’ll allow businesses to open up again, so why is it so critical we get our plans in place even when dates haven’t been set?

Stephanie:
Right. Really planning is critical. I know that some states are starting to open, but many are still just talking about it, and that date, as you said, is very unclear. But planning is going to help us make sure we can keep our employees safe and healthy. It’s going to help us be agile, so if the government in our state starts to say we can start going back to the office we’re prepared for that, and [thinking then] importantly that we’re finding ways to make sure we’re keeping our business healthy and productive.

And in this time it is stressful, right? It is unsettling to not know what’s going to happen, so a plan helps to reduce that stress for our employees, they don’t have to suffer any more than they need to so that when circumstances change the business and our employees are ready.

0:04:08

Melissa:
Excellent. Yeah, I agree. I think people really is a critical piece on this equation. So to think about this more we conducted a survey to help kind of shed light on our planning. So about our survey. Eagle Hill launched a 2020 COVID-19 Return to the Workplace Survey. It was conducted online last week between April 22nd and April 27th. We had 1,000 respondents participate from a random sample of employees. Okay, so what were we trying to figure out? We were trying to understand four things. The first is if employees feel their organization will be prepared to bring employees back to the workplace safety.

0:04:57

Second, what employees are most concerned about when it comes to returning to the workplace. Three, what organizations can do to make employees feel safe when returning to the workplace. And last, but not least, what, if anything, employees want their organizations to continue to do in the post COVID-19 world.

All right, so the first finding we have here is really interesting. Nearly three-fourths of employees think their employer will be well prepared to safely bring people back to work. So this means employees have a lot of confidence in their employers to get this right. So I think that’s great and really good, but it also puts a lot of pressure on the organization to step up to the plate and have a solid plan in place to make sure you’re not letting your employees down. We know employees might be worried about a number of things related to coming back to the office, and we gave many different options in our survey.

0:05:59

Let’s talk about the top ones here, about what are employees most worried about. So what employees are most worried about are potential exposure to COVID-19 when returning to the office. So it’s really their physical health within the office space that seems to be top of mind. This was somewhat surprising to us. Quite frankly, we didn’t see as high of numbers for potential exposure during commuting or traveling for work, so really seems like primarily employees are concerned about physical office space.

So how can employers make their employees feel safe in the office then? So the survey findings showed that employees are looking for basic measures to protect their physical health, so here are the top five. The first is provide hand sanitizer, masks and gloves. Mandate employees with any symptoms to stay home. That makes sense, right?

0:06:56

Make COVID-19 testing available to employees. Limit the number of people allowed in the physical work space at any given time. And then last, but not least, require physical distancing in the workplace design.

So we all know that COVID-19 has dramatically impacted the workforce, and in some ways it’s probably even changing the expectations that employees have for their work life going forward. So we’ve asked in the survey as well what are the things that employees hope to see in the post COVID-19 world. And their No. 1 response was continued transparency and open communication. So our thinking here is they’ve probably been hearing a lot from leadership right now, given all of the chaos and just the crisis situation that we’re all in. And it’s interesting that that is what they’re expecting to see after this all hopefully goes back to normal.

0:07:57

And we thought that was interesting because this was above workplace flexibility and employee wellness programs, so clearly leadership communication is really important.

Okay, last, but not least, in our survey findings, you’ve probably heard on the news that testing is another important thing that employees are worrying about when returning to the office, so we wanted to get employees’ perspectives on this topic as well. So our survey found that there is not a general consensus among employees on whether or not employees should have the right to know if an employee has tested positive. And the results show a mixed response on who they would like to conduct testing, whether it be their doctor, employer, or their local government.

All right, so let’s switch gears for a little bit. We just went through all of our findings. So what can we as employers do to effectively plan and ease our employee concerns about coming back to the physical workplace?

0:08:57

In this next section we’re going to dive into a number of recommendations for how to prepare your workforce and your people. And this is where I’ll turn it over to Stephanie to help talk us through some recommendations.

Stephanie:
Thanks, Melissa. So our first set of recommendations we want to talk to is about applying an employer lens to your back to the workplace strategies. So we all, we need to acknowledge as business leaders that what we think is important for our employees and the things that we’re doing to prepare may not align to what our employees think they need or what they want when they come back, so we really need to be thinking about and accounting for that diversity of our employee population.

One of the things we know about COVID-19 is the impact it’s had across people with different, those who are vulnerable from a health perspective. But I think we’ve also seen, especially through the last few months, is how it impacts our personal lives.

0:10:00

And we really need to be taking into account those different perspectives and those unique circumstances our employees are in. So the first thing that we recommend is around first starting to think about how do you segment your employees into groups to start to understand those concerns and any limitations they may have. So by thinking about your employees in different segments it will help you to look for common themes, what is the perspective that they have, what are they concerned about, and how do you address those specific concerns.

One of the things we’ve been doing, we’ve been working with a client on this and they’ve taken the approach of segmenting into four—they have four segments. So the first is around the vulnerable individuals, so those who have health issues, health concerns as has been defined by the CDC.

0:10:55

There are those employees who, for a variety of reasons, are ready and willing to come back to work. And then there’s a third group about those who may be unable to come back to work, but they can continue to telework. And then there’s a fourth group of individuals who may either be unable to work or unwilling to come back in terms of the office, talking about the office, but they also can’t telework. So when you start to break down those groups it helps you to start to think through then what are the options and solutions and the plan for each of those groups, and how do you do that and plan accordingly.

The second thing that we recommend is around surveying, right? What we need to do is we need to understand what our employees want, what are they thinking, so let’s ask them. So just conducting a quick survey to learn more about both their concerns about coming back to work, but also what they would like to see, what’s going to help them as they come back to that office space.

0:11:55

And again, using those segmented employees that I just talked about, using those to dive deeper into those results, bringing together a group of your employees in those segments to dive into their concerns and start to even think about how to address them.

And then the third kind of recommendation around this people centric lens is around scenario planning, taking a people centric scenario planning. As we looked in our survey findings we found that the No. 1 thing employees are concerned about is being exposed to COVID-19, again, and not coming back to the office and being exposed in that space. So we really need to be taking the time to engage our employees, a broad and diverse set of employees, to start addressing and thinking about those concerns.

So with scenario planning, it’s really putting out some options. It’s bringing in those employees, again, with those different perspectives and starting to identify risks with the scenarios that you’ve been thinking about, the planning you’ve identified, how do you mitigate them and what are alternatives to those scenarios.

0:13:07

Again, this is something that we’ve been doing with one of our clients, is thinking through the different scenarios. And one scenario they had considered was actually bringing back an entire functional group once their office was open. And as they, again, started talking through this they realized there’s a lot of risks to this. If one person has COVID-19, that is going to take out that entire functional group. So they started looking out how do we break that up into sub teams, how do we alternate their schedule, whether during the week or by day, setting up some type of rotation so it both protects your employees, but it also allows for that business continuity for that function.

0:13:57

And the last thing, across the country the states are doing different things. And I know many of you on this call have employees across the nation in different states, so that scenario planning does need to account for the different states. What’s happening here in the D.C. region and even D.C., Virginia, Maryland are all doing different things, so how do you account for that, how do you plan for that, what are the scenarios around that. Or if you have, again, the states, you know, Oklahoma, California, everyone’s doing something different, so how do you plan for that and engaging and getting those employees to help you think through how to mitigate those risks.

All right, one of the things that we like to ask is, you know, I know you guys are all thinking about this, so how are you involving your employees in your back to the workplace planning?

Moderator:
So as a reminder, if you have comments you’d like to share with the group, use your question box on your control panel and you can share your thoughts on this question, and I’ll read them aloud and Stephanie and Melissa can comment as appropriate.

0:15:13

It looks like the first response is we are including employee representatives in COVID related working groups.

Melissa:
That’s awesome.

Stephanie:
That’s great.

Moderator:
Our second comment is our senior leaders have been escalating employee viewpoints that need to be considered in planning.

Melissa:
Yeah.

Moderator:
Our third comment. We aren’t directly considering employee viewpoints at this stage. We think we are, but we haven’t really asked them directly. This is very helpful information to think about that.

Melissa:
Good, I’m glad. That’s great.

0:16:00

Moderator:
And then our next comment looks like we have surveyed our employees about this. So there we go. Thank you for that input, and we’ll continue through the PowerPoint.

Stephanie:
Great, thanks. The next set of recommendations we have is around calming employees’ fears around, again, coming back to the physical workplace. I think we all know, right, when we go back to the office it’s not going to be business as usual. The office I left back in March is going to look the same, but not look the same. There’s going to be different business norms, there’s going to be different ways of operating. We’re going to be a lot more mindful of the health of ourselves and the health of others. So we need to be taking the steps to prepare for that and setting up those work environments.

0:16:5

And according to our survey, the employees said that the top thing employers need to do to make them feel more comfortable coming back to the office is providing hand sanitizer, masks and gloves. And we all know that the CDC has put out a lot of guidance on what we need to do to make and create a [safe] and healthy work environment. But the piece of this that we don’t want to forget about is we need to make sure employees feel safe in that work environment and they know how, their role in contributing to it and what they need to do in order to maintain that safe and healthy work environment.

So the first set of recommendations around this is making sure you’re clarifying that decision-making authority. The fears that people have are typically around, or often around the unknowns. There’s a lot of unknowns right now. So can my manager require me to come back to the office? How many people are going to be in the office?

0:17:57

Will I have to wear personal protective equipment? How is this going to work? People have a lot of questions. And as you begin to think about opening back up your physical office space each of [you has] to determine who is making those decisions about who can come into the office and what is that going to look like to help, again, reduce that stress. Employees want to make sure they have reliable information, there’s a single source that’s making those decisions. But also our leaders and our managers know what their role is in this and what they need to do for their teams.

So one of the things we’ve been doing at Eagle Hill and the clients that we’ve been working with is that any decision related to which employees can come back to the office or come back to the physical workplace is a centralized decision, so everything related to COVID-19 and our planning and policies has been centralized.

0:18:58

And that’s been coming out of my department. We’re driving that and making the decision, again, engaging lots of others, but having a single point of contact for that COVID-19 related information.

So the next piece of this is about making the information accessible. So first we want to make sure they know who to go to or who’s making those decisions, but making sure they have accessibility to that information. A thing Melissa pointed or mentioned is that right now we can go to lots of places, you know, just Google COVID-19 and what you need to do. There’s a lot of information and resources out there. And also our organizations. I know Eagle Hill, we’ve been putting out new policy and guidance. And as we start to open up our offices there’s going to be additional guidance and policies around leave, and benefits, and again, the workspace. So it can be very overwhelming for our employees.

0:19:59

And what we want to do is make it easy for them, that they’re not spending their day looking for the information, they know where to go so they can focus on their day-to-day jobs in this environment. So what we recommend here for taking the weight off of your employees is to provide a centralized hub, so a central place where they can get that information. And that can come in a lot of forms. It could be an internal site, it could be an email, it could be a person or a group of people that you’ve designated, communications emails, trainings. There’s lots of ways to do this. But just having that information easily accessible and that your employees know where to go.

Another thing that we’ve been thinking about at Eagle Hill is how to help set the expectations for our employees of what it’s going to be like when they return to the office and kind of to take off some of that stress of when they return.

0:21:00

So one thing we’ve been thinking about is a virtual tour of our revised workplace, so helping them to see, before they arrive, what happens when they walk in the door, what it’s going to be like, what seats are available. We have reservable seats. We have cubes and we have offices, phone rooms, conference rooms. What is that going to be like? How many seats are actually available for them? What’s the kitchen like? What do you have access to, what don’t you have access to?

So giving them or creating some type of maybe employee experience video kind of to walk them through. I think that is something that could help to alleviate some of that stress as they prepare to come back to the office. And as an organization thinking about it as a way to kind of re-onboard your employees into this new environment. So I think that is again something we’ve been thinking about.

0:21:54

And then the last piece of this is around communication. I know we’ve all felt it, that this pandemic is evolving and there’s lots of predictions and models out there about what is it going to look like over the coming months or even years. I think what we do know is that it’s going to change, that it is going to evolve, and that it’s going to affect our business, it’s going to affect our people. So it’s important that we’re providing our employees with the insight into how those decisions and what those decisions are regarding the workplace.

So as we begin to open back up and employees start to go back to the workplace that COVID-19 cases may increase, and we’re going to then have to kind of scale back and have more stringent measures. Maybe we’re all teleworking again. So having the communication, a communication cadence even, how do you let your employees know, like how do we also prepare for that so they can remain productive.

0:22:57

You kind of create some structure and communication out of what’s going to feel very chaotic. So one of the things that we’ve done at Eagle Hill is we host weekly COVID-19 check-ins. They’re somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes. We’ve been hosting them since we started teleworking, which is [seven] weeks ago now. But we host them every week. And it’s a place where we’re able to let folks know about new policies and procedures, but also kind of help kind of connect us and help with the arm around our own productivity as an organization.

And although more recently that information, I think we have a little less to say right now compared to maybe three or four weeks ago, we know that that regular communication cadence is important because things are changing, and we will start, in the coming weeks or months, start going back to the office, and that is a way for us to begin to communicate or to communicate those policy changes.

0:23:59

So we’ve just definitely found the benefit of this is that our employees, they know when and where they can get the latest information. These are really well attended for us. And it also, for our leaders, the other benefit is our leaders have a place where they can have a consistent outlet, again, to provide the new guidance, and policies, and procedures, help our employees understand.

So I think that communication is really, really key in helping to alleviate those fears our employees have. And I don’t think at this time there’s no such thing as too much communication. Our employees, they really need to know and they also want to know. So with that I would love to hear what you guys are doing to ease the fears around coming back to the workplace for your employees.

Moderator:
So as a reminder, if you’d like to provide some input here, use your control panel, the question box. Just type your comments in there and we can read those out loud.

0:25:00

It looks like our first one is we are planning to send an email to all employees returning to work with the new rules they must follow to maintain health standards within our office.

Stephanie:
We follow up often with emails. We do the same and trying to hit, I think, multiple channels. So emails are always great so they can refer back to it.

Moderator:
Thanks so much. Our next one. We’re actually allowing our employees to opt in to working in the office. We aren’t forcing anyone to come back.

Stephanie:
I think that’s great if you have the flexibility to do that.

Moderator:
Our next comment. As an executive team we brainstorm employee needs, wants and fears through a normal lens and have come up with a great list which we are working on, including a virtual tour. Oh, the same idea from Stephanie.

Stephanie:
[Oh, yeah.]

0:26:07

Moderator:
Here’s our next comment. We are creating posters to put up around our office as reminders to maintain health standards. For example, washing your hands and staying six feet apart.

Stephanie:
Yeah, I think those reminders are going to be helpful. And they’re all probably ingrained, but it’s never too much, I think, in this environment.

Moderator:
So another comment. Same here. We are letting people continue to work from home. We are having…we’re not sure how to prepare staff without knowing what the legal implications will be and if the laws will change. I don’t know if you have any thoughts on that, Stephanie.

0:26:52

Stephanie:
I mean, we’re keeping track of that. I know it’s very much a moving target. Maybe not a target, but it’s definitely been evolving, so we’re keeping track of that. All of our employees are still at home right now as well. We have not set a date for everyone to return. Again, we’re really still in the planning phase. My recommendation is still to put a plan in place, and there’s always lots of assumptions, and you’re going to have to go back and [finally] plan and to adjust to those things as things evolve in terms of even testing and the legal requirements. I know a lot has been coming out. So it’s just about keeping tabs on that.

Moderator:
And here’s one last good one for you, Stephanie, comment and question. I’m attending from a New York City based organization, so our concerns around public transportation are likely as high or higher than concerns about safety in the actual office. Do you have any advice on how to handle the public transportation aspect of returning to the workplace?

0:28:02

Stephanie:
No, I think that is a really good one. Here in D.C., with our employee base, we have a ton of people here who use public transportation. I think a couple of things that I know we’ve talked about is everything from staggering start times, having maybe staggered start times so that folks don’t have to be, you know, you’re not in that rush hour. I don’t know what rush hour will look like. Maybe fewer people will be on public transportation. But staggering those times.

As far as public transportation, are there ways to provide alternatives to that. I know that can be challenging. New York is also very large. But I think it is looking at those alternatives for how to get to work. I think there’s some organizations that might be even looking at how do you support employees for that in alternative transportation.

0:29:05

And then how do you maybe even minimize the combination of going to work and continuing to telework, is there a way to maintain that balance. So public transportation is definitely a hard one.

Melissa:
All right, so for our final recommendation set we want to start talking about maintaining an agile strategy to respond to a changing landscape. So our first point under this is know that planning and re-planning is the norm. So we think that even when we get back into the office that things are going to continue to be really fluid, and as a result we need to continue to remain very agile and very flexible. So I think that just being comfortable knowing that there’s going to be a lot of planning and re-planning going on and making sure that employees know that there could be a lot of planning and re-planning going on.

0:30:08

So at times I think it’s helpful to reinforce that there may be some chaos, but given how fast information is changing that’s completely normal, and we’re just always trying to stay ahead of that kind of change in information.

The other thing that I think is another important thing to think about right now is that now, in the middle of this crisis, is not the time to be thinking about your ten year plans. I think now is the time to be thinking in smaller chunks. So the long-term plans are still very important, but from a planning perspective it’s looking at shorter time frames. So sometimes that’s a week, sometimes it’s measured in months. But I think when you’re in the middle of a crisis it’s again part of the norm and it’s important to let employees kind of know that and understand where you’re at.

0:30:59

The second point is around embracing new strengths to evolve for the future. A lot has gone well over the last couple of months. A lot has not gone well over the last couple of months. So even though things are—we’re all moving fast right now, it’s still, I think, an important time to take a pause and be very thoughtful and purposeful as to what we want to bring into the future.

So, for example, at Eagle Hill we now have some experience on shutting down our physical office space. And I think we’re even taking a look at that and saying okay, what did go well? What would we do differently should we have to go to work and then shut the office down again? So how do we create those learnings now out of this so that the next time we go through it it’s even smoother. Another thing that we’re thinking about is what has gone well and what do we want to keep going into the future.

0:31:54

So, for example, some team leads might find that being virtual is just as effective as being in person. Or one of the things we’re specifically looking at is that we’ve found that our video chat has been really helpful with keeping our employees engaged who don’t typically live in the same cities, so we’re finding that teams are even getting closer and bonding more when they’re not geographically located in the same city, and so that’s something we want to make sure that we’re continuing to carry forward into the non-COVID-19 world.

And then last, but not least, we want to organize to respond to needs in real time. This is not about just having a strategy and a plan, it’s making sure you’ve got the right structure around that plan to execute it. So I think at some point, I think after Stephanie’s first recommendation someone had brought up that they had working groups that employees participate on. That is exactly the type of thing that we’re talking about here.

0:32:58

So, for example, with one of our clients who we’re supporting with their COVID-19 planning, they had broken out into sub working groups where one might be focused on security, another team is focused on facilities and cleaning, so they’re bite-size pieces of the larger strategy, and each subgroup is responsible for staying on top of whatever updates might be coming up, whatever guidance might be happening related to those things, and then questions or concerns get bubbled up to leadership.

And there’s also an overarching group that really works on taking guidance from these subgroups and putting it all together in an overall strategy, and they’re also responsible for kind of overarching, overall guidance. So I think those are really a couple of our key things. Oh, I did think, too. Eagle Hill also has our own kind of planning committee as well. We’ve put together a planning committee.

0:33:56

And we’ve got folks from our operations team as well as our client leaders. And they meet on a weekly basis to keep a pulse on how things are changing and make sure that any scenarios that we have identified stay fresh and that we think through the impact any changes that having been coming down the pike might impact each one of those strategies. So with that said, we’d like to hear from you again. So what new aspects of your employee experience do you want to maintain post COVID-19?

Moderator:
So as a reminder, again, if you’d like to provide some comments, use your question box on your control panel and we’ll read those aloud and Melissa and Stephanie can weigh in as needed. It looks like our first one is remote work! Exclamation point. We usually don’t allow our employees to telework, but many employees are just as productive, if not more productive, at this time.

0:34:56

Melissa:
I was facilitating a roundtable yesterday with several executives and probably at least two or three of them were like I never want to go back. So I think that’s a real common thing.

Stephanie:
Yeah.

Moderator:
Our next comment is the focus on health and wellness. Our employees have really appreciated how much we’ve stepped up that effort and all the thought we’ve put in around this to protect them.

Stephanie:
That’s great. And I think that’s so important right now. I know we’ve been doing…we have a team focused on wellness and we did some mindfulness. They provided resources, sort of… as we sort of migrated to this. It’s always been part of our organization, but I think there’s definitely enhanced focus on it.

Moderator:
So just a couple more comments. We are a small team and have had to learn how to cross train, and we’ve actually found hidden talent on our team.

0:36:01

Melissa:
Well, that’s cool.

Moderator:
We’re using close and regular communication with the teams, including formal and informal communication. We’ve increased the use of collaboration technology, just not video conference. For example, Microsoft Team is one example.

Melissa:
That’s something we’ve done as well.

Stephanie:
It’s been great. I think it’s really helped us as an organization having those tools in place to collaborate and keep that business going.

Moderator:
Another comment on technology. The digital aspect has been extremely useful to completing the mission and others who originally had difficulty with technology have stepped up and used this technology to grow.

0:37:01

Melissa:
That’s good.

Moderator:
And let’s see if we have one more. No. It looks like—oh, one more. We have relaxed our requirements for formal clothing.

Stephanie:
[Laughs.]

Melissa:
I told Stephanie yesterday, when I was facilitating this roundtable, I had purchased a jacket right before we went into quarantine and I haven’t had a chance to wear it, so yesterday I decided was going to be my day and I put it on. And then right beforehand I was video chatting with my mother, and I looked at myself in the frame, and I looked ridiculous because I had this formal jacket on—[laughs]—sitting, you know, by myself in a room. So it’s funny how…my kids call it COVID casual, so COVID casual is the new norm.

Moderator:
Great. Well, that looks like all our comments there. So now we’ll transition to Q&A. We appreciate all those great comments. If anyone has any additional questions they’d like to throw out to Stephanie and Melissa, again just type those into the question box and we’ll read those aloud and they can respond.

0:38:11

Here’s a tough issue, sick policy. Are organizations giving any thought to changing policies about employees coming to work sick?

Stephanie:
I think that’s a good one. That is one we are definitely looking at about, you know, if you’re sick—and that’s not even, we’re not even talking COVID-19—you have a cold and you’re sneezing and you’re coughing and maybe you feel okay or maybe you don’t feel okay, is asking people to stay home. I think again in terms of that in the spirit of your own health, your team members’ health, and I think again that being people centric and not feeding that fear, I think it’s important for us to be thinking differently about sick.

0:39:07

And in our organization everyone can telework, so that is something that we’re actively looking at.

Melissa:
I think we’re also going to find that teammates and colleagues are a lot less tolerant of people that do come in sick. I think we’ll start to see—I think we’ll see a very different environment above and beyond even just the policy.

Stephanie:
Yeah.

Moderator:
The next comment/question. I love the Eagle Hill living lab series. Do you think you will do a living lab on this COVID experience?

Stephanie:
Maybe.

Melissa:
[Laughs.]

Stephanie:
I think, you know, it’s interesting, you know, I’m listening to everyone’s sort of positive. I think in this environment we think so much about the negative and all the changes, but there have been some positives. And how we…like around our culture and how it’s [steadfast], but even against the new behaviors, new tools, new things. So I think there’s definitely an opportunity.

Melissa:
I think we might even actually have one in the works already kind of thinking about some of our approaches and how we’ve learned from them around this COVID-19 experience.

Moderator:
Terrific. Here’s another question. This has been a pretty exhausting experience for many employees, working many hours with childcare, etc. What should organizations consider about helping employees rebound and recuperate from this period of hyper work and stress?

0:40:57

Stephanie:
Can you repeat the second part of that question? It was like recuperate and…? Can you just repeat it one more time?

Moderator:
Yeah, sure. What should organizations consider doing about helping employees rebound and recuperate from this period of hyper work and all the stress?

Melissa:
I can maybe chime in. I think that we just actually really recently did another series on burnout, and I think that really keeping a pulse on your employees and looking for symptoms at an organizational level in terms of absenteeism, turnover, and…oh, I lost my train of thought. Absenteeism and turnover are two really big ones at an organizational level. And then begin putting in programs and policies to support people and prevent them, help prevent them from experiencing that burnout.

0:42:00

Stephanie:
Yeah. The other thing I’m going to say for folks, especially right now, I am at home with two kids and so I definitely am living this, and I think because you can’t go anywhere, right, you can’t hop on a plane or go to the beach, sometimes you can’t go to the park and playground. But I think we forget that we should be taking time off. You need to give yourself a break because you’re on all day long. You’re on for work, you’re on for your family, you’re on for your kids, and it’s all happening at the same time. And it’s taking… I was just reading an article. It’s like it’s just taking multitasking to the next level. And one of my kids keeps telling me to stop multitasking because I burned her grilled cheese. So I think it is taking the time to stop multitasking so much.

0:42:55

Saturdays and Sundays are probably not enough, or whatever your days off are not enough, so giving yourself the break. I think in this environment it’s harder to feel like you can step away because you don’t have anywhere to go. But I think those mental health days are just as important, or maybe a mental health week. I think that is going to help just to kind of unplug at least from work for a little bit, I think, until we can go somewhere and lay on the beach somewhere.

Moderator:
I know we’re getting close to the end of the session, and we have a couple more questions, so I’ll just throw a couple more out for you, Stephanie and Melissa. Do you have guidance for your clients whether to suspend or significantly alter their performance review process given all the COVID disruption?

Stephanie:
My recommendation is you don’t. We are not making any changes to our performance management. I think it does require, again, depending on what your process is, … would be a lot more intentional.

0:44:02

Like how are you getting together to give feedback, to [hack] through the data, making sure you’re having regular touch points with your team members. So I think it requires probably some different behaviors and actions, like more intentional, because you don’t just see people all the time and you have to make sure you are able to [give] feedback. But I would recommend not making any changes to your performance management processes.

Melissa:
I would second that. I think in times like this, with so much changing, so much uncertainty, so much things out of our control that I think you want to minimize the amount of change that you can control. So one of the things that we’ve been doing is making sure that while there are things that employees know are outside of our control or uncertain is making sure they also know that there are some things that they rely on, that they’re familiar with, and that they know that are not changing. But I think that’s an important part of helping people through this.

0:45:10

Moderator:
Thank you. It looks like we’re right at 2:45, so we appreciate all those questions, and I will turn it over to Melissa to close us out. Melissa?

Melissa:
Fantastic. Well, thank you all for your attendance today. We really appreciate it. We hope we gave you some good nuggets to take away. Thank you, Stephanie, for joining me. And I hope you all have a wonderful rest of the day.

Stephanie:
Thank you.

0:45:35 [End of recording.]