A Quick Diagnostic Tool You Can Use Right Now
You have been in a mad dash these past few weeks in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis, adapting to a rapidly changing landscape on all fronts. You shifted your team to working remotely or have taken other measures to socially distance and protect your employees. You adopted new communication tools or ramped up how you use your existing tools. Maybe your team was already remote, but are now balancing additional personal stressors like homeschooling kids or isolating from aging parents, as well as worrying about the pandemic.
In the midst of that chaos, take a breath. How are you doing? How are your people doing? How is their emotional well-being holding up? How are they adjusting in the midst of all this change and fear?
As a leader, you should model confident compassion, signaling empathy and concern for your employees. Be the calming voice above the fray. Set the tone through your storytelling, your relentless commitment to your people, your praise of your people for all they are doing, and your humility and honesty in a challenging time. Good leaders know that human connection inspires people. Human connection helps drive mission forward. In a time of crisis, it’s critical to care for your people first, and to make them feel seen as human beings, not cogs in your company’s engine.
One simple way to help your employees feel heard and cared for is to ask them how they are feeling. You can do this in your individual interactions, taking a moment at the beginning of each connection to check in with them. In addition, you can use this quick, easy diagnostic tool to check the pulse of your team overall.
You can send this Covid-19 Work Reality Index developed by Dr. Brad Shuck to your individual employees via the communication tools you are now using for your remote work (be sure it goes out to individuals, not in a group channel!) to get a quick read on how everyone is doing. Be sure to communicate this scale is intended to get a sense of how they are feeling about their work reality in the midst of the current situation, not to criticize or assess their individual roles. (You can hear Dr. Brad Shuck walk through this tool himself in Episode 15 of Employee Connectedness)
COVID-19 Work Reality Index
Question Text: Please answer the following by indicating the extent to which you agree or disagree with how the statement describes how you feel about the work environment you are in right now.
(Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree)
- At work, I feel like I am a part of a community.
- I feel supported in my current work and/or work responsibilities.
- I am confident about my current work situation.
- I am able to successfully cope with all the things that I have to get done for work.
- Working at my job has a great deal of personal meaning to me.
- I feel a strong sense of belonging to my organization.
- I am optimistic about the future.
- I am able to think clearly.
- I have the resources I need to complete my work.
- Expectations about my current work situation are clear.
When you’ve collected the responses, take a moment to evaluate them and see how your team is feeling overall. Are there areas that seem to be challenging across the entire team? What shifts in communication or transparency could help across the entire team. Are there areas that are only showing stress for individuals in certain roles? What changes or support can happen to assist those individuals in those roles?
This diagnostic can give you good information about what your team is feeling and needing in this moment, but the simple act of responding to it allows them to feel heard and to know you value knowing how they are doing.
This is new territory for all of us. There is a lot of uncertainty about what the future holds. As a leader, you may not have all the answers at the moment, but you do have something that means much more to your employees. You have the ability to care about them and to listen to them. That human connection and compassion mean the world right now.