This article was based on episode 241 of The Modern Manager podcast. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Modern Manager Podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, iHeart Radio, Amazon, and Stitcher. Members of the Modern Manager community get two months of Fast Forward membership for free. Never miss a worksheet, episode or article: subscribe to Mamie’s newsletter.
With global crises upending people’s work lives, managers are called to respond to their teams’ distress in ways we’ve never seen before. Natural disasters, economic shifts, and attacks in one’s community, are just a few of the situations that managers need to be prepared for. Since the pandemic, there has been a revolution in managerial support for the full human experience. This is creating dramatic shifts in the workplace as managers are learning how to play a more pivotal role in supporting their people.
Holly Welch Stubbing joins us today to share insight into ways managers can step up during a crisis. Holly currently serves as President and CEO of E4E Relief, an employee relief fund that works with global companies like Salesforce and Wells Fargo to relieve employees when it’s needed most. She is a thought leader in ESG, philanthropy, and corporate social responsibility. Holly shares here how to think about benefits, stay informed, and find resources so that your teams can connect and thrive even at the most difficult of times.
REVIEW YOUR BENEFITS AND WELL BEING PLAN
Take time to examine what you are doing for your employees and stakeholders to support them in terms of their wellbeing. Review your benefits plan for specific items related to crises such as flexibility or time off, financial relief aid, and mental health support. Beyond the official employee benefits, brainstorm what needs your team can do by itself to lean in and support each other when a crisis hits. This could be sending food, offering to take on some of the person’s tasks, or simply checking in on the person to let them know you’re thinking of them and there to support them however you can. Words and token of support can be immensely powerful in vulnerable times of need. Even small gestures of support help others feel less alone.
If your team lives in different places across the world, make sure everyone receives the benefits they need. True equity in benefits is not necessarily one size fits all, so consider the different needs by location.
KEEP TABS ON WHAT’S HAPPENING
It’s easy to get caught in our own bubble of concern, so it’s vital to know what’s happening on the ground with your teammates in different parts of the world. If there’s massive flooding in Northern California, for example, you would want to know that in order to support your colleagues who live there. If staying on top of the news yourself is too time consuming of a task, the role can be filled as business function support of the HR department. Reach out to let them know you want to be kept abreast of happenings in each of your team members’ locales. Or schedule weekly team meetings in which personal issues of concern are discussed so that teammates are aware of each other's struggles.
HELP YOUR TEAM ACCESS RESOURCES
The most beneficial support to your colleagues during hard times may be in the help you provide in accessing resources. When someone is experiencing stress from a crisis, they are likely already overwhelmed with managing the immediate situation. They don’t have the time or energy to do the research and follow the processes to tap into the support that’s available but not readily accessible. For example, Holly has seen the massive impact of relief grants that help people get back on their feet mentally and financially after a tragedy. Managers can be incredibly helpful in getting employees the assistance they need by finding out from HR what resources are available. Managers can go further by helping their teammates fill out complicated paperwork for assistance, or assist them in doing the research. These actions can transform the lives of your overwhelmed coworkers. Plus, ff employees feel supported in a web of community during hard times, they are much more likely to stay in their company.
Unfortunately, the unpredictable, volatile nature of our world isn’t going to end. During times of personal, local, national, and global crises, managers can take a greater role in taking care of their teams. Have conversations with your people about what they need and are going through on a weekly basis. See what kind of web of support your team wants to create for each other. Create an equitable, comprehensive benefits plan that supports your team in all parts of the world. And help your teammates figure out what resources are available through your company or government to help them get back on their feet. Teams that feel supported in times of need become stronger and more dedicated to each other.
KEEP UP WITH HOLLY
Get access to a Free Disaster Worksheet: Things to Consider When Responding to a Crisis, when you become a member of the Modern Manager community at themodernmanager.com/join.
This article was based on episode 241 of The Modern Manager podcast. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Modern Manager Podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, iHeart Radio, Amazon, and Stitcher. Never miss a worksheet, episode or article: subscribe to Mamie’s newsletter.