"We want to survive." This was the overarching feeling from a UK medical device manufacturer I spoke with yesterday; "we want to survive for our people, and our business".
"We need to keep our people safe and healthy, and apply the same thinking to the business so that we are here for them as an employer after the pandemic." The company supplies medical groups globally, including the NHS here in the UK. They have three manufacturing facilities in the UK and employ North of 300 people.
The company acted fast to get their business ready for a lockdown scenario, in fact they were a little ahead of the game and started making plans for remote working, reduced shifts and potential sales down turn back in February. Keeping their people safe was their first thought and action - they implemented extra cleaning rotas, sent all high risk colleagues home, began social distancing and agreed rotas for management in-office working so that teams were never without a leader. As a result they were not only able to keep their people safe but well informed and confident. The management currently dedicate a substantial part of their day to communicating with colleagues be it via screens around their plants, emails, instant messaging and phone calls or walking the floor (at a safe distance of course). They will continue to communicate with everyone to ensure they are physically, financially and mentally safe during this scary time. “But it's not just about the company talking at them, we are listening hard too. We are hearing their worries and concerns, then quashing them one by one.”
In times of stress if there are gaps in information we humans tend to fill that gap with assumed information with no basis. This can often be far worse than the truth!
If you aren't sure for even a split second how your teams are doing - ask them. This is not the time for assumptions, we need to speak clearly, openly and with humility. We are all people after all and we are all going through this together.
If you would like a conversation to sense check your communication, internally or externally, right now then please get in touch. There is no charge for this, I just want as many people as possible to feel safe and informed.