Connection to mission is the number one aspect of an employee's relationship with your organization and is highly correlated to employee engagement - according to the CPS HR Consulting Institute for Public Sector Employee Engagement. A lot of times I see physical representations of mission when I visit an office. Whether it's a mission statement written on a wall or a poster to reinforce that mission in an executive hallway, reminders are everywhere. But what happens in a remote work environment? Does our organization connect to mission with consistent communication? Are "brick and mortar" methodologies sufficient to communicate and connect our workforce to mission? What does a digital connection to mission look like?
COVID-19 is an opportunity to really understand if our day-to-day communication reinforces organizational purpose.
We can think of huge brands like Nike, Monster Energy, Disney - or more appropriately as we binge watch during COVID-19 - Tiger King, Netflix, Love is Blind which remind us that staying power is based on consistent reinforcement of message. Does anyone really think we will remember Carloe Baskin in six months if there isn't another season of Tiger King? The same theory applies for your organization. Your employer brand needs to be consistently connected to purpose whether your staff is working in the office or from home.
As we come out of quarantine, how is your organizational brand going to be positioned in a world where your staff may only be in the office some of the time? Do you have a communication strategy to reinforce that message?
We have witnessed water cooler conversations disappear in a blink. Working remotely can put a workforce on an island and leave us socially disconnected from our peers, coworkers, bosses and work friends. Approaching communication with purpose is incredibly important for your organization, employee satisfaction, and mental health. I suggest that as you adjust to a remote environment, think about your day at the office. Who do you typically talk to? Who do you enjoy the morning banter with? Write a list - and make sure that you connect with those people on a weekly basis at minimum.
Consider implementing these ideas:
Connect with Co-Workers:
Connect with Direct Reports:
Connect the Organization:
Layoffs... Pay cuts... Furloughs... I said it. We are all thinking, "how is this new economy going to affect me?" COVID-19 has us entering a brave new world in public sector. It's important to understand that if you are in a position of leadership and you are forced to make budget cuts in staffing with layoffs, pay cuts or furloughs that you don't lose your organizational DNA. Organizational DNA makes you successful as an organization - whatever decisions you are forced to make, do so with full understanding of how it will affect your organization forever. Decisions have a ripple effect, like a pebble hitting the water, causing rings upon rings of waves. Make sure that your choices keep your organization "your organization."
There's a saying that Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast and Talent for Lunch(1). Make sure that whatever happens during the time of COVID-19 and post COVID-19 that your organization maintains your culture. Talent will always have opportunities in the workforce. Your organizational culture is the glue to keep the talent you have connected.
We believe that our employees are our biggest asset. In our day to day experience at work, we typically don't remember every minute. However, there are times that we never forget in our employee life-cycle. Getting hired, interviewing and getting promoted, performance reviews, key accomplishments and now COVID-19. Your employer brand provides insight into your employment culture. This shift in work habits allows your organization to truly show that putting employee well-being first is not just a marketing campaign but a reality.
CPS HR Consulting is a self-supporting public agency providing a full range of integrated HR solutions to government and nonprofit clients across the country. Our strategic approach to increasing the effectiveness of human resources results in improved organizational performance for our clients. We have a deep expertise and unmatched perspective in guiding our clients in the areas of organizational strategy, recruitment and selection, classification and compensation, and training and development.