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April 3: The Three 'Don'ts' of Recovery

Great Place to Work® leaders Holly Petroff and Tony Bond shared three key “don’ts” during the Friday, April 3 edition of Together.

Michael C. Bush, CEO, shared the “V-curve.” This is a graphic showing how a pandemic-related downturn can pivot quickly into an economic rebound, unlike the “U-curves” of typical recessions, where business growth stalls for an extended period at the bottom of the cycle.

For more detail, read our blog.

Register to join us for our next session.

Show Transcript

TRANSCRIPT – BETTER TOGETHER, SESSION 4/03


Claire Murphy:
Good morning everybody from Oakland, California. Good afternoon and good evening to many of you on the call. We're so happy that you joined us here today. My name is Claire Murphy. I'm the Director of Customer Success here a Great Place To Work. I'm here to facilitate our time together.

Claire Murphy:
Our goal today is to address the challenges and issues that are affecting you and your business during these uncertain times, and to share our research and insights that would be both helpful from our leaders, and our best workplaces.

Claire Murphy:
A little housekeeping. We're honored to have almost 500 of you here this morning, and we hope to cover everything that you want to hear, but please chat your questions into the chat box on the right hand side, and we'll endeavor to answer as many of them as we possibly can.

Claire Murphy:
If we can't get to your questions, we'll follow up with you after the session, and we'd like to use your questions to drive further content in the coming weeks in this series.

Claire Murphy:
So without further adieu, I want to introduce you to our speakers today, three of our top leaders, Michael Bush, Holly Petroff, and I'm going to turn it over to Tony Bond.

Tony Bond:
Okay, thank you Claire. And welcome all again for being here with us, we're excited that we could spend this time with you. We know that your schedule is pretty demanding, every day is different, a lot of demands on your time and attention; so thank you for being with us.

Tony Bond:
What we'd like to do is just be able to share with you some of the things that we're learning, noticing, observing during these last several months. We know that it's challenging times, we know that we're facing situations where we don't have all the answers.

Tony Bond:
And so what we hope to do is be able to bring some information to you that kind of simplifies things, and gives you some very key things that you can focus on every single day as you navigate through this tough territory.

Tony Bond:
And so I want to start by just sharing with you our mission. This has been our mission for a long period of time, and we believe this mission is now more important today than ever before. We're all passionate about our organizations, we're passionate about the people that work in the organization, and so how do we make sure that we're taking care of people while we're trying to figure things out along the way?

Tony Bond:
We know that our people depend on us today more than ever. They're coming to their leaders wanting to help make sense of what's going on, they look for their organizations to make strong connections. And so, the more that we can actually focus and put people at the center of what we're doing, the better off we'll be.

Tony Bond:
We have never experienced anything like this before. Regardless of your country, your city, your state, your organization; none of us are immune to what's going on right now, and so it's impacting every single person every single day.

Tony Bond:
And we know that this communal crisis requires a communal response. We don't have all the answers, we can't do this alone, and so we have to be a part of a larger network to come up with some solutions.

Tony Bond:
And while we're dealing with the immediate crisis, we have to also make sure that we're not losing sight of long term things. What we do today will have a lasting impact on our organizations and our people. And so we have to see it as a sort of an entrance-way into working in a new and different way. Networks become super important, questions become more important than answers, and connecting with our people are super important for us every single day.

Tony Bond:
What we've designed here is not just a place where we can deliver content to you, but also a learning space. We want to make sure that we're capturing your comments, your ideas, your questions. We'll take those offline, we'll do the additional research, and it'll help us figure out what can we bring to you in the future?

Tony Bond:
So we don't want this to be a one time experience, but we want it to be the continuation of an ongoing dialogue with you. Offering what we know to be true, but also figuring out the things you're struggling with every single day.

Tony Bond:
And what we do know, if you're familiar with our work, that it's always been based on trust. Trust sits at the center of everything that we do, so this is truly a defining moment for us as leaders. We have to trust our people like we've never trusted them before, we also have to behave in ways that earn their trust every single day, because what we do today will have a lasting impact on our people in our organization.

Tony Bond:
We can either exhibit behaviors that are going to be positive, or we can do things that don't have damaging effects over long period of time. So trust is an ultimate test of trust, and that lies at the center of everything we'll talk about today.

Tony Bond:
We're all trying to make sense of things, and there's sort of a difference between sense giving and sense making; we really have to be in a sense making business today. We have to make sure that we're not just communicating information, but we're creating the space for people to receive what we have to say, and also work with us in creating some sort of a meaning of what's going on.

Tony Bond:
So as I mentioned before, probably the number one place of this meeting making is going to take place today is in the workplace. As our leaders and organizations try to make sense of what's going on, we have to be in partnership with our people in the sense making project process. So with that, I'd love to turn it over to our CEO, Michael Bush, who will take us from here.

Michael C. Bush:
Thank you very much, Tony. One of the things that we all know is that we're in a recession, the world has drastically changed in a short period of time. So things were just going really, really well, many of us thought we had problems a couple of months ago, now those look like the good old days.

Michael C. Bush:
We're currently on our way down, and the most optimistic way to look forward is to assume we're going to be in a V shape recovery. And we're not going to be in a U shape recovery where we spend a long time at the bottom, but we know that we've got tough weeks ahead and many, many tough months ahead.

Michael C. Bush:
The whole purpose of the webinar today is to talk about how to get through this V, and how to get to the right hand side where the sun is shining, where things are good. And what are the steps that we need to take as high trust leaders in high trust organizations to make sure we can get back to where we were; that's our aspiration.

Michael C. Bush:
We believe it's through purpose driven leadership, that there are companies that are going to do some of the things we're talking about today, who will get back to that point. There are other companies who will fall on the lower line, and they'll get better, but not at the same rate as the companies who follow purpose driven leadership, which is what we're going to be focusing on today.

Michael C. Bush:
So as leaders talk today about getting to the days of sunshine, the only way to talk about this optimistic future is to couple it with realism. And the way to make sure that people know that they're listening to a leader who is not a blind optimist, but who is a realist, a realistically optimistic person is to make sure that they are communicating with people in a way that proves they're human too, and they understand what their people are going through.

Michael C. Bush:
Our people are going through three things which we all know. Number one, its well being; it's their physical and mental health. And then they think about their physical and mental health of their family and of society; so this is in the front of everyone's mind.

Michael C. Bush:
While people are working hard and trying to figure out how to get through this new way of living, this is what they are thinking about 99% of the time, but they're only able to talk about it maybe 1% of the time. And what does that do? It's surface money; money is what people want to feel some sense of security.

Michael C. Bush:
And here's what our research is telling us is very different about 2020 compared to 2009. In 2009 when there was a lot of job loss in the last recession, people were worried about their financial insecurity, how they were going to make ends meet.

Michael C. Bush:
In 2020, they're worried about things like life and death of themselves and the people that they know. This is completely different, completely different; so comparing the two is just inaccurate. So what we know is that money is really important because they just need something to hold on to beyond the fact that it's the currency that they use to get things that they're going to need for their families.
Michael C. Bush:
So the high trust leader has to talk about things in terms of well being, in terms of money, and getting people information. There's a lot of things to figure out now in terms of healthcare, there's a lot of things to figure out in terms of this new way of working, and so organizations and leaders have to be the go to place for money, and the go to place for information in terms of how people should navigate in their personal lives to make sure that they're able to feel emotionally, psychologically, and physically secure.
Michael C. Bush:
So it all comes back to what Tony talked about; trust. And unfortunately, I know a lot of people who are signed up today looking at the list are companies who are running high trust organizations. If you have been running a low trust organizations, good luck doing well now in this remote environment.
Michael C. Bush:
This is where running a high trust culture pays off, and you're able to do things that other companies are not able to do. Like high trust companies that have a high trust culture are eight times more likely to have their people say, "You know what? I'm willing to give extra for my company." Eight times more likely than companies that aren't.
Michael C. Bush:
High trust cultures like yours have people who are willing to say ... They're nine times more likely to want to quickly adapt to a new way of working, "I've never worked from home before, I'll give it a try, and I'm just committed and as inspired as when I used to go into the office every day."
Michael C. Bush:
And they're 14 times more likely to say, "I'm willing to commit to a new way of working, I'm willing to commit to a new way of working with my colleagues, and I'm willing to commit, and believe that my leaders have my best interests at heart, not just as an employee, but in terms of me as a family, and my leaders are concerned about me and my family."
Michael C. Bush:
These are the things the benefits of the trust that Tony started to talk about. So now I'll hand things to Holly, to talk about three of the things you want to make sure you don't do.

Holly Petroff:
Thanks, Michael. One of the goals of these weekly webinars is to help give us a sense of focus right now, and sometimes focus comes from what not to do. So today we're going to spend our time focused on the three don't that we know will help your business and your people thrive during this time.
Holly Petroff:
The first don't is don't go at it alone. Don't think that you have all the answers, because you don't; but you also don't need to feel like you have to have those answers either. It's also about not leaving your people behind.
Holly Petroff:
The reality is that in times of crisis and massive change, like our organizations and our people are going through, this actually can drive people apart. And when companies go through restructurings, even a single restructuring event in your organization can create a gap in the experiences of your people.
Holly Petroff:
In fact, we found that when organizations go through a restructure, it can create a gap of 45% between different groups in your organization. So what does that actually mean? It means that some people in your organization today are more likely to be left behind right now; and that's not okay. So we can't just say that we're all in it together, we have to act in a way that shows every person that this is true.
Holly Petroff:
So to help us understand what we're faced with today, although not equally comparable, our last big event for the world was the great recession. And so we wanted to look at the financial performance of these companies during that period, and post, to understand whether there were certain experiences people had that could help us actually predict an organization's success; getting to the steep V that Michael talked about.
Holly Petroff:
And what we learned was that more consistently inclusive work environments were the ones that not only survived the recession, they're the ones that thrived. And if you look closely at the graph, you'll see that they continue to thrive at an accelerated rate; this is a significant finding.
Holly Petroff:
The difference between surviving and thriving was ensuring that everyone, no matter who they are or what they did for the organization, was treated with respect and fairness, and they felt like they were involved in decisions that impacted them.
Holly Petroff:
So what does this mean for us today? When we looked at that research, we found that there were actually particular groups that could predict this level of success, that can actually predict whether an organization was going to be able to thrive on the other side.
Holly Petroff:
These people right here, these are the ones you want to make sure that you're bringing along. These are the people in your business today who may be underrepresented, they may be the ones that are not included in the decisions that you make today. Some of you know exactly what I'm talking about, because you're in one of these groups, and you know what it feels like to be worked around, or to feel like you're not good enough, or simply to feel like you're not included, because of who you are.
Holly Petroff:
Well I hope you've also had some experiences where you do feel valued, and you have felt respected, and that's what we want to create for everyone in our organizations right now.
Holly Petroff:
When these groups of people, in particular, believe that they are treated with fairness and with respect, especially during a time of uncertainty like today, they're more likely to have a sense of safety, and they're also more likely to contribute their best thinking to your organization. That's how organizations thrive during uncertainty like we're experiencing today. And that is a great example of why together and his wins over going at it alone.
Holly Petroff:
So how do you do it? First you got to let them know that you need their help. The good news is that no one actually expects us to have all the answers right now. This is an unprecedented crisis, but we also know how we behave in times of crisis. We tend to duck and cover, we isolate, we get in the bunker, so to speak, and we surround ourselves with people who think like us, act like us, look like us, or believe like us.
Holly Petroff:
Why do we do it? Because it feels safer to surround ourselves with what we know; resist the urge, it will not work for you. Focus on bringing everyone together, and when leaders do this, their people and the business will thrive.
Holly Petroff:
So how do you actually do this? It's really easy. How do you let them know you need their help? Don't complicate this, it's about communicating something as simple as, "I appreciate you, I value your input, and right now I need your best thinking."
Holly Petroff:
Because this gives people the permission or the freedom that they need to start focusing that nervous energy on something productive. But you can't just say this to the people that you know, you can't just have this conversation with the people in your inner circle where you feel safe; you have to say this to everybody, especially those who we know tend to get left behind.
Holly Petroff:
So one of the ways to do it is to conduct listening sessions. For those of you that aren't familiar with the concept of listening session, it's like a focus group. It's about getting people together, asking what's on their mind, ask them about something you want to learn more about, and then listen.
Holly Petroff:
When you're pulling these groups together, when you're getting people together in your business, make sure it includes everyone; everyone. Not people from every group; make sure it includes everyone. Right now everybody needs to have a voice. Not some of your people, all of the people. Because otherwise you can't ensure that you've included all perspectives, all experiences, and all voices; and right now, you need that.
Holly Petroff:
In fact, we would suggest that you should expect everybody to be there, that it's really not negotiable, because that's how important it is to the business right now, and how we know it's so important to your people.
Holly Petroff:
So maybe you do something like set up three or four sessions a day, across the business, having these open webinars. If you've got the functionality for webcams, use them it brings people closer together. Make sure that everybody can participate in some way and just start talking. Find out what's going on for them, their families, their communities and ask them what they need.
Holly Petroff:
But you got to resist the urge to fix things right now, or to explain why you've made a certain decision or a choice. It's really important, because it may be the hardest thing you do is to sit there for one hour, and just ask a couple of questions, and spend the rest of the time listening.
Holly Petroff:
Bite your tongue if you want to say something. Because you probably, as a leader, normally speak at minute five in a meeting, but it's minute 35, 45, 55, when people are going to start to really tell you what they think; and that's what they need to express and what you need to hear as a leader.
Holly Petroff:
So if you're hearing this and you're saying, "Holly, this is not kind of how we roll in our organization. We don't really do this kind of thing already." That's okay, you've got an executive team in your business and you can start with them.
Holly Petroff:
Ask your executives to reach out to the people that they don't normally intersect with in their day to day. Make sure that those are diverse groups of people who may not be the people that tend to work with the executive team, because that's where you'll get your best session, that's when you'll get your best ideas, and your best participation.
Holly Petroff:
If you've already got employee resource groups, now's the time to leverage them. If you don't have networks in place like that, find out who is admired or respected in your business simply by looking at your performance review program. Who were the people that are performing at a level and contributing at a level that you think would be valuable to start, and then grow it so that by the end of this, everybody has had a voice.
Holly Petroff:
Another way to involve people is to give them a focus. We know that in times of crisis or uncertainty people need to feel like we're in control of something that's out of our control. It's why our grocery stores have empty shelves, it's why we're fighting in stores over toilet paper, because people need to feel like they're doing something.
Holly Petroff:
But if we don't give them a focus, they may be spending their time on the wrong things if we're not guiding them well. We know that people want to make a difference, especially right now; they want to do their bit, so to speak. But they might not be sure how to plug in right now, so we've got to give them guidance, we're going to help them focus that energy on something that can make a difference instead of allowing them to panic.
Holly Petroff:
Don't let them chase the toilet paper, bring them together to solve practical problems. So how do you do it? Pick a business challenge. If you didn't have business challenges four weeks ago, you sure do now; we all have something that we're trying to solve. Ask your people how to solve it.
Holly Petroff:
So what are the types of decisions that you're trying to work through right now? Where would another perspective or another experience benefit your decision making? Some of the things that we've heard from our clients are, "How do you shift 10,000 employees to working from home?" Well you don't have to have the answer, you got to work together to do it.
Holly Petroff:
"How do we get care packages to all of our people, because some of our people really can't get paper towels or toilet paper, they can't get hand sanitizer?" Bring a group of people together and figure out together how to solution it. Some of you are dealing with things like, "We've gone through a layoff or a restructure, how do we redistribute the work?" Ask your people.
Holly Petroff:
And for those of you who are not quite sure how to do this or say, "Culturally, this is not how we operate." There's no better time to start the now. So maybe the question you ask is, "How do we ensure we're including all of our voices across the organization?" Maybe that's where you begin the conversation.
Holly Petroff:
But no matter where you start the conversation, you got to lead with purpose and with values. None of us have all the answers, and the good thing is that no one's expecting us to. But the difference is that purpose driven leaders admit it, they're willing to say they don't know.
Holly Petroff:
But while we're all operating in this space, where it is absolutely unknown, there's one thing that we can communicate with absolute certainty to all of our people. You can let them know, with confidence, that every decision you make will be based on your organization's purpose and values. And that means that what you do for one, you're going to try to do for all.
Holly Petroff:
And involving your people will help you ensure that you don't leave anyone behind. This is the way to get to the other side of that V. And now probably Tony's going to talk a bit about our next don't.

Tony Bond:
Okay thank you, Holly, so much. So the next don't that we want to share with you is don't let Excel drive. And what do we mean by that? Our business is based on data and analytics, we research in over 98 different countries, we've done this through, as Holly mentioned, several recessions; but there's something else that needs to be your North Star right now.
Tony Bond:
And so what we believe is that people are people, we're still in the human business, and what we need to do is make sure that we're using not just data and analytics to make our decisions, we want to make sure that we're using our values.
Tony Bond:
Our values, at this point in time, should be our North Star. And so it's important for us to make sure that we're making a good balance, and not just relying on data and analytics.
Tony Bond:
If you go to the next slide, what we know is that one of the big challenges we're dealing with right now, and where we may want to apply data and analytics without really looking at the human side of things, is this whole work from home scenario.
Tony Bond:
I'm working from home, all of us are working from home now; so it's not an option. We're in a distributed workforce, and so it's not something new. We've actually had a lot of our companies doing that, offering that type of work environment in the past. But what we found is that not many of them are actually utilizing this.
Tony Bond:
And so the infrastructure was there, the thought process had already gone into how to work from home, now it's a key time for us to execute on those things. But as leaders, it puts us in a position where we're wondering, "Are we going to lose productivity? Are we going to lose collaboration? Will we lose innovation by putting people in their homes?"
Tony Bond:
Now is probably not the time for us to create strict guidelines on how people need to work every single day. We need to be able to allow flexibility in how things get done. If you can imagine moving into a new house, it takes time to get set up. You may not have all the things you need, but you still have to press forward; the same scenario is happening with us working from home, and so it requires us to give people some freedom.
Tony Bond:
Kids, parents, pets are no longer a distraction. You may have a video conference, and you may have all those folks as a part of the video conference. And so how do we do that? We have to let people get things done in a way that fits their own schedule, we have to allow extreme amount of flexibility.
Tony Bond:
When we do that, we know that innovation, and creativity, and collaboration doesn't hurt, it actually improves our ability to innovate collaborate. Our results show that when we offer these work from home options, people actually tell us that they're more innovative, and so we have to make sure that we're creating the atmosphere that allows this to happen.
Tony Bond:
What are some of the things you can do? We have some folks that have this has been a part of their way of working for many, many years. Are there individuals in your organization who can be ambassadors, who you can partner up and actually be a team where they can work with other employees who are making this transition?
Tony Bond:
They can field questions every single week, they can figure out what do these other colleagues need to make working from home more effective for them. So make use of people who are in your organization either have the experience, or either right now have the time. Maybe their workload has been impacted by what's going on, make them a part of a team that really connects with people to figure out how can we make working from home not in a hurdle, not an obstacle but something that allows people to flourish and be innovative?
Tony Bond:
We also know that now's the time to really focus and double down on mental health. If we think we're not having an impact by this, we're probably in a state of denial, it's sort of something that runs in our system every single day. Just the mere fact that getting simple things done every single day becomes much more complicated now.
Tony Bond:
So between work, family, and just taking care of things on your own, it creates this sense of stress and the sense of crisis for everyone, and it's not just going to end once things get better. As you know sometimes when you're dealing through stress and trauma, it lasts for a long period of time.

Tony Bond:
So how can you make sure that you're attending to the needs of employees, and will be a big part of what leadership has to do right now? Not only are you are a leader, but you are a coach and, in some cases, you'll actually be a counselor.

Tony Bond:
What are companies doing to really provide support? Most of us have Employee Assistance Programs, some of our companies that we know about are actually extending this beyond just the employee, but making it available to the whole family unit. And so it's an important time for us to really focus and double down on mental health.

Tony Bond:
Give you a short story of my own. I found myself waking up in the middle of night few weeks ago, and my heart was racing, my mind was racing, and I thought, "Maybe I'm having a panic attack." I've never had one before. Feel like everything's under control, but we have these memory is running all the time, it has an impact on us as individuals, so we have to be aware of this.

Tony Bond:
Make sure that we're taking care of mental health; that's first and foremost for our people. We need them, not just now, but we need them long term, we have to put them in a position to be healthy and be effective.

Tony Bond:
So we don't want to forget, don't use analytics and technology as our only guide, but make sure that we're using our own values, and the human side of things to make decisions going forward. Now turn it over to Michael, and he'll go through our last don't.

Michael C. Bush:
Thank you, Tony. And I remember it was a couple weeks ago after Tony shared that story with me, and then the next time we were on a video meeting, he was sitting in a gray t-shirt and he was sweating. And so I was like, "Tony what did you do an hour ago?" He goes, "Oh, I went out for a run." And I was like, "Okay great, fantastic. I just want to make sure you're not just in a cold sweat on the video conference."

Michael C. Bush:
Want to check in on each other. And every time we're washing our hands, we want to think about who in our organization might be alone, who are we leaving out. So that's the whole point in terms of the for all.

Michael C. Bush:
So for leaders as we're communicating, as colleagues as we're communicating with each other, we have to talk about a better day, we have to talk about the future, but do that in a credible way.

Michael C. Bush:
So one of the things we know is that organizations where people feel management and leaders have a clear sense of where they're heading, which is to fulfill their purpose, they're twice as likely to have great confidence in their leaders and, therefore, follow them; which is important.

Michael C. Bush:
The ways to do that are number one, make sure that you're doing things by video, encouraging people to turn their cameras on, the messaging can be brief and succinct. There's no such thing as a bad hair day; that's getting really fascinating and interesting people are challenging that. But it's through our humanity we do want to see each other.

Michael C. Bush:
And for leaders, find stories to share, like Tony did, about things that are going on in their life, so that everybody knows, "I'm talking to a human being, not a leader, but to a human being." That's the way to build the credibility. That as you're talking about this great future, you are grounded in reality which is really important.

Michael C. Bush:
Next, you got to find some way to put money in people's pocket if you haven't found a way to do it yet; this is critically important. And you might be a nonprofit or small business and say, "I can't give everybody two weeks' pay. I can't give somebody a bonus." Every organization can give an employee $25, or you're in trouble and you were in trouble before the virus.

Michael C. Bush:
Every organization can find 25 bucks, every organization can find a way to tell their employee, "Look, here's $25, I want you to get a meal in your community, delivered from a local business." That will go a long way. If you do that for a person, no matter how small your organization is, they will tell their friends and their family about what the organization did for them.

Michael C. Bush:
You don't have to have hundreds of millions of dollars in order to make a difference and to let people know you understand that money's a real thing, and they need something to grab onto to get through the insecurities that we've talked about early linked to physical and mental health.

Michael C. Bush:
So credibility, humanity, plus money enables people to feel like, "I can believe in my leaders. I know the future is uncertain, but I trust these leaders to do the best they can to take care of me." Which is what every company needs right now.

Michael C. Bush:
If you have a low trust organization, you're going to have a really tough time right now. And for those of us who have high trust organizations, we have to keep it that way; and that's by focusing on our people.
Michael C. Bush:
So wrapping up this portion, we talked about three of the things you don't want to do in terms of going forward alone, don't let Excel drive your business. During the day, I try and connect with my people, connect with our customers. I look at Excel kind of from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and don't talk about it very much.

Michael C. Bush:
Of course you have to do financial exercises, but you don't want to make your decisions solely based on that tool because, as Holly mentioned, you're going to leave people behind. And don't forget about tomorrow; always be looking forward.

Michael C. Bush:
So what we're hoping to do is right now begin to open things up in order to help you make sure you can get to the sunshine, that you can get through this recovery and come out on the other side in a way that will help you get back to an innovation by all high performing company that you were before, and to get back there as soon as possible.

Michael C. Bush:
We've got a couple of resources for you. Number one, they'll be a recording of today's session, you can get the slides, we'll get those out early next week. We'll be meeting again next Friday, and here's what's important: there's an email at the very bottom of this page, Michael_Bush. You could send me a note because today's session, the agenda was built from people who were on last week's webinar.

Michael C. Bush:
They told us what they wanted so we put a session together and addressed exactly what they said; that's what we want to do week to week, we're crowd-sourcing this process. So let us know, "Hey, I'd like to know a little bit more about retention. I'd like to know a little bit more about how to restructure and how to do layoffs in a proper way." Which we'll be talking about next week.

Michael C. Bush:
Whatever is going on for you that you'd like to know more about, that we can bring our research forward, that's what we need to know, and we hope to get from you via email.

Michael C. Bush:
Also in terms of how to do remote work, how to do it well, all that blog content is already on our website, I hope you'll check it out and pull it down where we've done a lot of research already on this new way of working. So now I'll hand it over to Claire to open things up for Q&A.
:
Great, thanks Michael. And with some great questions coming in on the chat window, I think the first question ... And Tony you talked about that balance for yourself as a leader, and what we need to do to stay well. There's a lot of questions about communication, and balanced communication from leaders right now. And the first really good one is, "How do we hold the balance between a leader projecting confidence during crisis and also being real, authentic, and honest?"

Tony Bond:
Yeah, it's a really good question. I think the real authentic and honest piece is the key. I think people are pretty rational, employees are pretty rational. They realize, "We don't have all the answers to what we're going through." But that honesty and that transparency, it really is what we feel like builds the level of trust.

Tony Bond:
And so we have to communicate with people, even if we don't know, we have to communicate on a regular basis. But what Holly mentioned I think was really the key, we're not just communicating, but if we don't create space for people to share things back to us, that's how the meaning making takes place.

Tony Bond:
And so we want to be in a place of sense making and not just sense giving. So I would say communicate, communicate, communicate, be honest, ask more questions than what you're giving advice, or giving answers as Holly mentioned, because we don't have all the answers. But as long as we keep that flow going, I think that's the key to building trust long term. Love to hear Michael or Holly if you have any other thoughts around that?

Michael C. Bush:
Nothing to add. But the statements about reality and our humanity as we're talking about this future vision that we're going to get back to the sunshine; but that's how you build the credibility.

Michael C. Bush:
One of the things we know in terms of the virus is the next few weeks are going to be very, very tough very, very tough in every country around the world. There's a few that where the curve is flattened or is in decline. For everyone else, the next few weeks are going to be really, really tough.

Michael C. Bush:
So for a leader not to acknowledge that, for a leader to say, "Oh yeah, we're going to get a vaccine and things are going to be good." Well, who wants to follow a crazy person. So it's important to state reality and how we're going to be connected through this time, how we're going to listen, as Holly said, through this time, and always talking about the person and their families.

Michael C. Bush:
And some of their family's members they can't even see now, they can't even visit now. If you're not saying things like that, nobody wants to hear how we're going to get to the sunshine, because you're taking too big a leap from your optimism without dealing with reality.

Michael C. Bush:
So be grounded and real stories about what's actually happening day to day, "We can get through this tough time, let me talk about this tough time, but let me talk about the sunshine too."

Claire Murphy:
Mm-hmm (affirmative), great.
Michael C. Bush:

Claire I have this one thing closing, a quick checklist could be, "As I communicate, am I communicating hope, compassion, and empathy in everything that I say?" And so as Michael mentioned, we want to communicate hope, but also I have to actually share that I feel what people are going through, and I care about them as people. So the hope, compassion, and empathy are key.

Claire Murphy:
Holly, you spoke earlier about giving people a business challenge to work on. So there's some really interesting questions about involvements that are coming in on the chats.

Michael C. Bush:
Yeah.

Claire Murphy:
A really interesting one is, "So if we involve our people in business challenges and we, ultimately, as leaders come to a different decision, how do we balance that need for the different decision with helping people feel involved, and engaged, and that they've been heard?"

Holly Petroff:
Thanks Claire. I love the question because it means that you're curious about how to do what we're talking about; so it's a great place to start. So the reality is that the people that we work with our adults, and they're rational beings 99% of the time we are.

Holly Petroff:
So people understand that you may have information, or that your role enables you to see things with different perspective, and as a result of that, you might end up making a different decision. People don't expect you to do everything they ask of you, people are asking you to listen.

Holly Petroff:
They're asking for you to listen to where you may be willing to change your mind as a result of something you've heard. That's the openness of listening that enables you, as a leader, to give better information, more informed information that enables you to make a better decision.

Holly Petroff:
So most important is that you connect the dots for people. So you create the space for listening, and for people to share their perspectives. And then once you've made a decision, you come back to them, and you share with them what the decision was that made and how you got there.

Holly Petroff:
And actually if you remember that someone asked you to do something, or gave you an idea that is not the one that you shared, it's really great to reconnect with that person, or actually in front of a group setting so people understand you were listening, you heard their idea, "Here's why we decided to take a different direction."

Holly Petroff:
And in our experience when leaders do that ... Because that has a sense of humility, a sense of transparency, and really authenticity in that experience with individuals, people get it. They're not looking for you to check off a wish list. Sometimes people behave that way when they're afraid, or they don't feel like they're heard. But when people feel heard, they show up differently, and they just want to be a part of something, and this is a great way to help them contribute. Tony or Michael anything that you would add to that?

Michael C. Bush:
Nothing that I would add.

Tony Bond:
Perfect, yeah.

Claire Murphy:
Great, thanks Holly. Michael I know you spoke about it a lot, but I want to see ... It's based off the questions that we're getting here. The need to balance taking care of people in your communications, and currently around COVID and what's really present for people, versus how do we start to talk about business as usual or be future facing? Maybe you can talk a little bit about how you balance that in your communications, both outside Great Place To Work and internally.

Michael C. Bush:
Well within Great Place To Work, and in working with customers, it's the same. The essential part now it the five to seven minutes, which is one human being checking in with another; that's essential. And, "How are things going in your family, how are things going in your community?" And asking those questions and listening.

Michael C. Bush:
You can't fix anything, as Holly and Tony both mentioned, but you just want to listen. So that's the start at every work meeting is to have a few minutes where people can connect and know that they're talking to human beings, and who aren't going to talk about whether or not we're going to meet our project plan instantly, which means you clearly don't know what's going on to the world right now.

Michael C. Bush:
So you have to have that check in at the beginning and, hopefully, we have that check in at the end. So humanity first, and then getting into the business issue, and then trying to end. Again before we sign off, anything anybody want to share about what's going on with them, with their parents, who do you miss that you can't see, how are your pets doing, what's it like being sick and not being able to go to the hospital?

Michael C. Bush:
Because if you're sick right now, you can't get there unless you're on the COVID watch list. So these are real things, people aren't able to get food and supplies to their sick parents. So these are the things you want to be talking about to build and keep credibility as a leader; it's not a tactic, it's real.
Michael C. Bush:
And leaders sometimes have kind of taken on this mindset that you're not supposed to lead with those human things. It somehow makes you seem as though you're not a business person and focused on productivity and performance enough; of course, we always know that's not true. At a time like this, it's
really, really untrue. It's the humanity, and the care that people need now.

Michael C. Bush:
So these things are easy to say, but they're really, really hard to do. So a leader has to, at the end of the day, kind of reflect on their day and how did they do?

Michael C. Bush:
If you were on video conference calls from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., which many of us are, did you take any breaks during the day to connect with your family? Did you take a break today to call someone in your family; that cousin in Atlanta, Georgia? Did you do that or did you not do it?

Michael C. Bush:
If you didn't do it, you got to correct that because the fact that you're not doing those things, is probably coming through in your communications with your people. Because you're not able to say to them in an authentic way are they doing those things?

Michael C. Bush:
These are the things that leaders have to do now. If you're not doing them, trust is eroding just in little bits every day. So easy to say, hard to do, got to check in every day to see if you're actually modeling, and doing what you're talking about, and recommending that others do it.

Michael C. Bush:
When you go out for that walk, yeah stay 10 feet away from everybody, yeah, you need to be wearing that mask or bandana; you definitely need to be doing those things. And when you get home, you take off that bandana, yeah, you need to wash your hands, and think about who you're leaving out.

Michael C. Bush:
So we have to do all these things a different way than we used to. But you can't get other people to do them and to take time out for their mental health if you're not taking time out for your mental health.

Claire Murphy:
Great. Great answer, thanks Michael. And that leaves me also a follow-up question to that. And so if you are speaking from an authentic personal place, and you're doing the things that you're telling your people to do, you create an environment of trust, which then, what we know from our research and from our best workplaces, is that we can then talk about whatever it is we want to, and I know you referenced that in our webinar last week.

Claire Murphy:
We have an upcoming webinar specifically on business realities, including layoffs and furloughs, which is there's quite number of questions coming in about that. I'm just wondering if you want to maybe comment on how people, how leaders in particular can speak to the financial business realities right now, including layoffs and furloughs in a way that people are able to hear when they've created that environment of trust?

Michael C. Bush:
Well this is the first time in my business career I've seen someone furlough someone because it's the compassionate thing to do; it's the first time. I've never ... I don't think it's happened before, but if it has, I'm not aware of it; certainly not in my working career.

Michael C. Bush:
But these are the companies, many of them are our companies, they are great companies that are doing the mathematics for the employee, and looking at the uncertainty and are saying, "Look, we're going to furlough you now. You get to keep your health care, which we know you got to have, and you can get benefits now, 39 weeks of benefits with a cap that's been raised.

Michael C. Bush:
So we can get you that now. Health care and some governmental assistance, what you contributed to that's for sure. But we can move you there now, because we don't know what's going to happen in 40 weeks. We're unclear exactly what's going to happen in 40 weeks, we can get you there now." And most great companies are saying, "We hope to bring you back."

Michael C. Bush:
And I've seen some remarkable posts on LinkedIn, from furloughed employees from our great companies, saying, "This is exactly what the company said for me, and that they were going to do their best they have my job on the other side. And I talked to the companies, they absolutely mean it. Because they're furloughing people who have worked for them for 20 years and have never taken a day off; these are remarkable people.

Michael C. Bush:
But the companies are doing this as an act of compassion, it's not Excel. It's an act of compassion to keep their business alive. And as long as they're doing that in a way that's fair for all, then it's absolutely the right thing to do, so that's what we know.
Michael C. Bush:
The other thing we want to make sure of, in terms of restructuring, is for the companies that are doing it ... Obviously, I think 6.6 million people lost their jobs in the last 14 days, that we know of, it's probably larger than that, is we want to look at, "Okay, we're going to reduce our workforce by 10%, or by 5%."

Michael C. Bush:
Right before you do it, you want to look at that 5%, and you want to look at the demographics that Holly have on her screen. You want to look at the percentage of women, you want to look at the percentage of long tenured employees, you want to look at the percentage of people of color, you want to look at the percentage of anything else that makes these people, traditionally, hard to find.

Michael C. Bush:
And you want to see whether or not you're doing this in a way that makes sense in terms of where you want to be in the long term. If you believe that diversity drives innovation, make sure you don't lose it now. Because if you lose it now, then maybe you didn't really believe it drove innovation.

Michael C. Bush:
If you believe it, then now's the time to look at that pool that you're about to separate with and see if you need to make some adjustments. And you can't say, "Well the demographics of the pool that we're exiting needs to look like the demographics of the company beforehand." That's not true, it's not true.

Michael C. Bush:
If you have one group of people that's 1% of your population, you don't want them to be 1% of the pool that you're saying goodbye to, you want them to be 0% percent of the pool that you're separating with; otherwise you're taking a step back from gains that you've made in the last 10 years.

Michael C. Bush:
So this isn't the two pools should look like that say goodbye, you should be making an improvement, perhaps, in the areas of diversity in order to drive your innovation in order to get to the other side. So long answer, but this is how you restructure in a way that gets you back to fulfilling your purpose the fastest way possible.

Claire Murphy:
Great, thanks Michael. So we actually have some questions coming in from other countries, which is really awesome to see that we're reaching beyond the U.S. I know we had a few from Europe last week, and it seems like we've got folks from LATAM today.

Claire Murphy:
So I've got two questions that are interconnected. So I believe that people are on the webinar today, to make sure that they're doing the things that everybody else is doing, and to make sure that they've got all their bases covered.

Claire Murphy:
And also then the people who are sending questions in from overseas, who may not be as far into the crisis as we are, are asking what advice you would have for HR or leaders in other countries who are not quite into the thick of this? I think that connects to the other thing which we're being asked which is, "Is there any mistakes that you're seeing being made at this current time?" So Holly maybe start with you.

Holly Petroff:
Sure, so speaking specifically to the folks in Latin America for sure. As we think about our global study and our research there, psychological safety is critical to that group of people.

Holly Petroff:
Our research shows that people in Latin America, in particular, need to have a sense of psychological and emotional safety in order to be able to contribute in the ways that Michael just described that your business needs; for whatever the level of rebound is.

Holly Petroff:
My hope would be that you don't end up having the same level of crisis in your countries that we're having in the United States; the data suggests otherwise. So you may not be in the thick of it today, but you may be four weeks from now, or six weeks from now; we, certainly, hope that you will not be.

Holly Petroff:
And so you actually can get a little bit more of a head start than, perhaps, some of us and other countries did by taking what we're sharing with you today, and thinking about it through the lens of how you can ensure that you've created emotional and psychological safety for your people; and we've been talking about those ways today.

Holly Petroff:
So having the conversation, listening, creating opportunities for people to contribute, assuring that you're bringing everybody along, and that no one is left behind will enable you to be ready for whatever your business might fare in the coming weeks and months ahead.

Holly Petroff:
I think the reality is that because we are a global economy, that even if an individual country's were not all having the same type of experiences that we're having in Spain, Portugal, Italy, the United States, etc., that the reality is we're interconnected. And so all of us will, in some way, be impacted in a way that we can't actually foresee today.

Holly Petroff:
We don't know what the other side of this is going to look like, but what we know is that if we lead in the ways that we're talking about, we'll be able to get to that other side. I think some of the things that ... And I know Tony and Michael have experienced some things as well. Some of the things that I have seen in recent days where it was definitely a don't ... Look, organizations have to make decisions, they have to make good business decisions to ensure there's a viable business on the other side.

Holly Petroff:
But it is how you communicate those decisions that make all the difference to people on the receiving end. And the example that Michael gave of some of the best companies in the world who have needed to make these very difficult decisions, these gut wrenching, heart wrenching decisions to furlough or even lay off hundreds of thousands of people; it's how they did it that made the difference.
Holly Petroff:
It's why some of their people are posting online in gratitude for how they were treated. Again, people are adults, they get it; the money's got to come from somewhere. So they get the organizations have to use these things as a tool in their toolkit in these types of situations, like the one we've never seen before that we're in today.

Holly Petroff:
But sending people an email and telling them that today's their last day; not the way to do it. And I've seen that happen several times in the last 48 hours. Doing a conference call where everybody calls in thinking it's a typical business meeting, and a leader in three minutes telling everybody they're fired, and that they'll be shipped their things, and hanging up so that no one can ask questions; that's not the way to do it, for all of the reasons that we've been talking about.

Holly Petroff:
I don't think anybody on this phone would do something like that; I sure hope not. But the reality is that this is happening to people, that there are people in our world today who are on the other side of a conversation like that, hanging up the phone from a conference call realizing they just lost their job with no context, and no opportunity to interact and ask questions, and actually feeling like every contribution they've ever made to that business never mattered.

Michael C. Bush:
The thing that I would add, Holly, is that if you're dialing in from your office right now in South or Latin America, you need to be unplugging that laptop and getting ready to go home, and not be dialing in from your office next week.

Michael C. Bush:
You need to wash your hands, get a piece of cloth, put it over your nose and mouth, and go home, and get ready to be at home for a while. If you're in a place that doesn't feel that's true, and we should still be coming into the office, then get some web links on what's happening, because somebody's not paying attention.

Michael C. Bush:
Nobody should be in a workplace with more than six people within 10 feet of them right now; it just shouldn't be happening, or should you be commuting in large groups. So I'm not going to go down to cdc.gov guidelines, you can go and look at those things, but you need to go home.

Claire Murphy:
Great, thanks, guys.

Tony Bond:
I would add one thing, Claire, that I think is not a specific mistake that we're seeing, but more of a macro level issue. And it's like we are in the midst of a crisis management, and we have to see it that way, but it's also creating an opportunity for us, as leaders, to reflect on what we do as an organization, what we do with leaders, how can we make things better?

Tony Bond:
And I think that one of the issues I see is that too much focus is put in a crisis management mode, and not really reflecting on how we can actually learn from this, make ourselves better bigger, and create organizations that even achieves more of our potential than ever before.

Tony Bond:
And so while it sounds utopia, I think there needs to be some attention spent on thinking in terms of, "How can we reflect on what we're learning, and do some things that's going to have long-term benefits for all of us?"

Claire Murphy:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Tony you just stole my next lead and I'm very upset. So we're coming to the bottom of the hour, but I think that one of the questions to try and encapsulate some of the things is you talked about, and the learnings that we will get from this time, and take from this time.

Claire Murphy:
So starting what yourself as our Chief Innovation Officer, where do you think this is going to take us and where do you see the future of work, how do you see this crisis impacting the future of work, and both the potential that it may offer to the workplace?

Tony Bond:
It's a great question. I would start with the whole management, leadership issue. Michael brought up, and Holly as well, the purpose driven leader. I think what we're finding right now is that people are going to come out of this with a deeper sense of wanting to work in a very purposeful way, wanting to connect with something that has really deep meaning.

Tony Bond:
And so as a result of that, we have to lead that way. We have to lead from a more conscious level, or a more conscious leader. We have to lead in a way that we're asking away more questions than we're providing answers. We have to lead in a way that we're creating networks to get things done, because we realize from this, that we don't have all the answers to the situation.

Tony Bond:
It's kind of the collective intelligence that gets us through. So I'm going to start by saying that the future work is based on a different type of leadership. If we don't have that leadership, nothing's going to work the way we need it to. It may not be this type of crisis, but we'll have other things that will come up. So we're learning a lot from that, and I would start from there.

Claire Murphy:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Holly Petroff:
I would add, and building off of what Tony described, a couple of practical examples. One I think is at Great Place To Work we saw that maybe five years down the road, working from home was going to be way more common, and typical unexpected than it is today. We could never have dreamed that this crisis would be the thing that causes that to happen a whole lot faster.

Holly Petroff:
I think that we will find that commercial spaces, for what they are, are not going to be used like they are today. I think that more people, and leaders in particular, will see that their people are capable of contributing at a very high level, working from home. Of course, I say this as a person who has been telecommuting for 15 years. And so you can do it, it's possible, and it's possible to do it really well.
Holly Petroff:
While I used to believe that not everybody can be a good telecommuter, I actually don't believe that anymore. I believe that it's about setting expectations and clarity, and then allowing people to do what they need to do to be great, and I've seen people rise to the challenge time and time again; so that's one.

Holly Petroff:
And I think that the second one is building off of what Tony said about leadership. I think that the people will have higher expectations of their leaders moving forward. Because, as you are probably watching on Twitter and other news channels and media, people are calling out the employers who are getting it right, and they're calling out the employers who are not.

Holly Petroff:
And nobody's going to, after this, say, "I want to go work at the company who laid people off in a three minute call and hung up." They're gonna say, "I want to go for the company who furloughed people to ensure they got benefits. I want to go work for the company that even though they conducted layoffs, they did it with such a level of care that I believe that I'll be treated with fairness and respect to work there too."

Holly Petroff:
So I think it forces people to raise the bar in their own organizations about how they treat their people, and how they think about the cultures they've created, because people are going to vote with their feet. They may not be able to lead today, but when they're able to lead, they'll go find the companies who did right by their people.

Claire Murphy:
Thanks, Holly. And Michael we're five minutes from the bottom of the hour, so I just wanted to leave the last word with you and I want to consolidate a couple things. We've got a number of questions about non-monetary recognition. We also had a number of people from healthcare providers dial in, which I believe we probably weren't expecting ourselves knowing what people are in the middle of right now, and talking about the great things that they're doing, and is there any more they can do.

Claire Murphy:
And also acknowledging that there are people who can't leave their office and go home. Which I think speaks to, as a leader, what should people do? If you were to give people two pieces of advice about what they can do that has nothing to do with money to show their appreciation for people right now and in the midst of what we're in, what would you offer as advice?

Michael C. Bush:
What I would offer as advice is you got to find something to do with money. Now's not the time to find a way not to do something with money; so the money matters. And as we know, it's just one thing, but it's a big thing right now for the emotional reasons that I mentioned, not financial security. The overall stress of life and death for people and their families; so it's symbolically more important than just currency.

Michael C. Bush:
In terms of the other things that we should always be doing, but are more important now is, if you're running a healthcare organization where you got people on the front lines, you have people delivering food, carrying boxes, knocking on doors, all the things that are happening for all the people who aren't in and office at their home, but are out doing the work and they have no other way to do it, is the leader should be getting out their phone and sending those people a video as often as possible, telling them, "Thank you for what you're doing." And how they're fulfilling their Hippocratic Oath if they're a physician, or the nurses have taken.

Michael C. Bush:
I don't know how you're not doing this every day taking the time to say, "Thank you." Of course we know what that means in a time like this, it means 10 times more. That's not money but you better be doing something around their money too; so you have to do both, but acknowledging frequently, often, to all.

Michael C. Bush:
So don't just do the physicians, don't just do the nurses, you got receptionist, you got people opening and closing their doors, you got security, you got orderlies, you got people in the laboratory where it's really complicated right now, you got radiology, you got all these departments, you got to be getting this message to any at all frequently saying, "Thank You." In a way that that lets them know that you understand what they're going through and you appreciate it and you're there to.

Claire Murphy:
Great. Thank you, Michael. So that brings us to the end of our session today. I just want to thank everybody who attended today, and thank you to our global community, we really appreciate you taking the time. We will endeavor to get back to all your questions within the next 48 hours. And we