Earlier this month, we talked about how workforce management in times of COVID requires an additional layer of assessment on the employer’s end – the importance of understanding how each generation reacts to a crisis and their needs & wants during it. And given that our current workforce spans six generations, this evaluation becomes even more necessary.
Recently our CEO, Sandy Lohr, joined SIINDA’s Kimberli J. Lewis on the Voice of America podcast, Leadership Beyond Borders, to discuss the topic of “Generational Management in Times of Crisis” in more detail.
Below are a few highlights from their discussion.
Supporting our Employees
How people react to the stress of a crisis depends largely on where they are in their life journeys.
And even though Millennials & Gen-Xers may have more financial liabilities than Baby Boomers (Sandy & Kimberli discuss in more detail during the episode), we saw that there were 2 main concerns that were shared by all, regardless of which generation they belonged to:
- Will the company stay in business?
- Will I have a job?
To address the above and more such questions, we have tried to keep our internal employe messaging very transparent & largely on the positive side – following the “some good news” principle (taking a leaf out of actor and filmmaker John Krasinski’s book).
We are also trying our best to be as flexible as possible with our employees, as we understand that many of them have had to take on multiple roles – teacher, caretaker, etc.
To help our employees socialize virtually and alleviate the negative side effects of working from home, such as loneliness, we have organized many fun activities such as bring your own lunch hangout chat, etc. Also, whenever possible, we are encouraging video calls.
Supporting our Clients
In early 2019 MatchCraft shifted to a more remote work structure, wherein most of our employees were either working from home full-time or doing so for a considerable amount of time.
By the time the safer-at-home directive was issued, 54% of MatchCraft employees were telecommuting on a daily basis. So when the time came to switch our workforce to a 100% remote status, we were already well equipped to carry out the transition.
This enabled us to focus all our energies on our clients, who were in various stages of adapting to this change.
To support our reseller & agency clients we have shifted our communication focus from new feature announcements and usage guidelines to conversations geared towards selling & managing campaigns in a crisis.
Sandy goes in more detail about our ongoing efforts during the podcast.
Supporting our Local Merchants
We are helping our clients’ advertisers maneuver the new set of ad copy rules that have been implemented, by Google, Bing & Facebook, to address issues like fraud and price gauging.
In an effort to help our less tech-savvy advertisers, we have prepared & shared vertical-specific marketing materials. For example, materials on how to complete the process of selling a car, from financing to delivery, without the customer ever setting foot in a car dealership. Or what messaging businesses, not currently in operation, should share with their customers & how.
“At a time when you can’t be there face to face with the merchant, our job became to triage with what does a sales rep need to say to that business in order for their campaigns to run and then how does the messaging change” said Sandy Lohr, CEO, MatchCraft.
Being a Manager During this Crisis
Sandy & Kimberli also talk about how being a manager during this crisis is remarkably different and more challenging than ever before, as it involves communicating with and tracking the productivity of an entirely remote team.
No war rooms with whiteboards or day-long team meetings to come up with game plans. It is no longer the era of “Tom Peters’ Management by Walking Around”.
Sandy’s Advice To CEOs Everywhere
- People first – Your people come first. Convey that loud and clear, and as authentically as possible.
- Transparency – If you don’t have the answers, just admit it. Throw your ego out the door and stay humble.
- Bring out your wartime best – This is the time for your wartime CEO. The current situation needs strong decision making. Perfection and analysis paralysis are liabilities. Lead with clarity, direction & focus.
You can listen to the entire episode here.