A Closer Look at What’s Essential

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Text of leadership quoteAs we continue adjusting to a world of ever-increasing social distancing, there are widespread debates over what is truly essential during a pandemic. Naturally, First Responders, Pharmacy Technicians, Grocery Store workers, etc., are essential. But many other industries have been deemed essential as well due to their involvement in the supply chain (including railroad workers, truckers, and auto mechanics). Other industries seem to fall in the gray zone of “essentiality,” such as home improvement and craft stores. What one person deems a luxury is another person’s “essential.”

Thinking beyond the definition of which industries are essential, given the changing nature of today’s workplace, it’s a smart time to think about what’s essential for today’s workers. Here’s a list of essential employee needs you can fulfill as a leader during these extraordinary times:

  • Your employees need to feel valued.
  • Your employees need you to be accommodating.
  • Your employees need you to be empathetic.
  • Your employees need to feel they can trust you.
  • Your employees need to be confident that there’s a plan in place to keep them safe and secure.
  • Your employees need to hear “thank you.”
  • Your employees need to hear from you daily.
  • Your employees need to celebrate even the smallest positive news.
  • Your employees need to know you care about them beyond their role as an employee.
  • Your employees need to feel informed.
  • Your employees need psychological safety.

With so many teams transitioning to a fully remote working arrangement, it is easy to let some of these basic interactions slide as you cope with increased workload and new challenges. But ignoring any of these fundamental employee needs will not make the problem go away. Instead, they will accumulate over time and result in disengaged/disgruntled team members.

Now is the time to be more involved than ever. These are the moments that differentiate good leaders from great leaders. What do your employees need right now and how are you supporting them?