The pandemic brought about some phenomenal examples of human endeavours, social spirit, personal resolve, ingenuity, and compassion. Of all, that I have recently experienced and now, highly value, is compassion. To find this in your loved ones, friends and neighbours is perhaps not surprising but to find it square and centred in the core of your corporate culture, may not be so common.
Many of us may lay claim to having over-delivered at various points along our journey through COVID, reacting and adapting to the emerging scenarios, those in full time occupations perhaps giving more time, or being more productive during these periods than compared to their normal office hours.
https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/consulting/articles/working-during-lockdown-impact-of-covid-19-on-productivity-and-wellbeing.html - other examples of the unintended positive and negative consequences of working from home.
In this now extended lockdown scenario however, cracks may begin to appear even in the most resilient of staff. Life events, significant dates, continuous work pressure and loss of loved ones all contributing to the emotional load. For some, it’s important to ask for help early and for me, I asked for it too late, feeling that in the current climate I couldn’t falter, that I had to stay stronger than normal. My surprise came when I did ask for that help and admitted it had become too much to bear, having “broken” the cart.
I have worked for other organisations that when faced with ongoing health problems was “managed” out of the business rather than being supported through the hurdles. When I joined my current organisation, I was met with a level of emotional intelligence that surprised me, a desire to warmly welcome and support staff, share in common experiences, provide treats and rewards to recognise exceptional performance or simply value contributions.
When I finally asked for help, I was accepted and even praised for having the bravery to admit the consequences of the situations that had presented themselves to me. Rather than quit or be forced out, the Compassionate Corporate Culture that prevails has provided safe opportunities to share with colleagues, attend wellbeing courses and access support from external coaching and counselling resources.
This culture has also begun to resolve some of the work-related barriers to recovery with adapted work-loads and re-aligned expectations. The cynic might say that a “recovered and experienced” employee might be a more valuable asset than a new starter or a replacement but perhaps there’s also a shred of truth in that. Value, invest in and support your staff and you will retain the loyalty that often over delivers in times of crisis, un-tapping resources and capability willingly, that few would expect under normal circumstances. This may also lead to future resilience.
The culture here has evolved as a result of the leadership style and the ethos of the staff that it attracts and retains. We may have been the lucky ones to stay in full-time paid work, but it has not been without its challenges. A Compassionate Corporate Culture may just be the dimension that allows your business to survive this crisis, stabilise in the new scenarios that present and continue to grow into the future. And growth doesn’t have to mean quantitatively, growth can be a quality factor too!