There’s no denying the impact COVID-19 has had on our company’s bottom line. Events have been postponed (or, in some cases, cancelled) and many event pros are finding themselves hustling to make ends meet and keep their businesses running. Yet, our financial sustainability isn’t the only thing facing increasing pressure in light of the pandemic; our companies’ cultures are also struggling to stay afloat.
In a year that has already seen unprecedented layoffs and a record unemployment rate, keeping spirits high can feel like a daunting challenge. This becomes even more challenging when you consider that many of us are overseeing teams from a remote basis. As we navigate this global situation from one moment to the next, preserving a company’s culture and strengthening team morale becomes a greater responsibility for leaders than ever before.
A great leader is one who can instill hope and positivity within their team, even in the toughest of times. Consider these tips as a roadmap to a stronger, more sustainable company culture that will see you through periods of uncertainty and create an effective path for recovery.
Check in with your team
You should always keep a finger on the pulse of your organization, but it’s especially critical in times of crisis. Every person responds to crisis differently, so you’ll need to take some time to connect with each employee individually to see how they’re feeling and what they need most. It can also be fruitful to host a proverbial “state of the union” with the whole team as an opportunity for everyone to have their voice heard.
It’s necessary to have standards, but it’s even more important to be a compassionate leader when facing a difficult situation. Whether it’s a global pandemic or a natural disaster, your employees are humans and are entitled to their emotional responses to a crisis. Be as flexible as possible with expectations. Let someone take off early if they are having a particularly rough day or extend a deadline to give them some room to breathe. Remember: We are humans first and business owners second.
Implement team-building activities
Our team members are our most valuable assets, so it’s important to set aside time to focus on them beyond the work. A team only performs as well as its cohesiveness, so team-building exercises are a great way to instill a feeling of comradery and lift morale. Since most of the industry is working remotely, this will likely look more like a morning coffee catch-up or a Zoom game night than a team outing — but the intention and the impact will be the same.
A positive company culture starts at the top, which puts the onus on the leader to step up to the plate and build a unified and respectful team — especially in times of crisis. Your employees will look to you for guidance and support, so you need to be prepared to show up each and every day to help preserve their morale, motivation, and productivity.