6 Authentic Strategies for Safely Returning to Work

June 24, 2020 Melissa Southard

There is no blueprint or guidebook on managing a business post-pandemic, but it’s evident that pivoting the traditional leadership and business strategy is crucial to sustain your business.  Business is in a state of transition, and our needs have shifted; businesses need to recognize and plan managing for this disruption. We interviewed Salesforce’s Angela Ticknor, Regional Vice President of Customer Success, to share her expertise in how to lead in the shift back to work while continuing to drive customer success. Here are her top 6 strategies:  

1. Lead with empathy 

  • Have a heightened awareness for the need for empathy. 
  • Step back and understand that everyone handles things differently – you may have team members with loved ones who were impacted financially or from a health perspective, so recognize that we are all adjusting to the new reality and are impacted in different ways.   
  • Be vulnerable and openly admit some of the challenges or frustrations you’re facing during one-on-ones with your team.  This helps your employees be more willing to open up about how they’re feeling or how they are doing. 

2. Conduct wellness checks 

  • Conduct wellness surveys for employees to see how they’re doing physically and mentally, while ensuring they have an appropriate work-life balance. During team meetings you can check in with your team by doing a “red, yellow, green” check, where each team member starts off by telling you where they are right now.  This gives them an open forum to be heard and the opportunity to share their voice. 
  • Find new ways to capture trust and unify the team.  For example, host a virtual wine tasting with a Sommelier and each team member has wine delivered to their house, or host trivia game night, or try a competition among the sales team.  
  • Understand your team has stressors outside your control and be flexible.  Encourage breaks and build breaks into your day –exercise walks outside, or reading a book.  

3. Focus on your core values 

  • Uphold your value proposition and focus on your core values. It’s our responsibility to provide empathy and help customers figure out a new blueprint for success knowing how their priorities are shifting.   
  • Try to give back to the community and open doors where you can.  
  • In challenging times, build a whole new set of relationships. This is the time people come together – you’ll have these relationships for the rest of your life and career.  

4. Make no-regret decisions  

  • As a leader, make decisions fast and have a no-regrets policy – keeping in mind the following types of questions:  
  • “What can I do today to make an immediate impact and is going to be a good long-term decision for the overall health of the business?” 
  • “As a leader, am I making good decisions for my team that's putting them in a position to succeed?”  
  • “As an individual, am I making decisions about how I'm acting with customers in a way that is going to drive the right result with the best long-term impact?   

5. How to reopen your workplace safely 

  • Find a solution to help your community or organization, like Work.com, which is designed to help businesses reopen their workplace safely, while setting them up for continual success and be prepared for future crisis or challenges.  
  • Enable your workforce using the myTrailhead platform, to meet new business demands by providing training or re-skilling for employees on different jobs or tasks.   
  • Make health a top priority. Protect the health of employees by setting up a work wellness center to monitor return-to-work readiness, assess employee wellness, and streamline shift management. Mandate that employees with any symptoms stay home. 

6. Reimagine business  

  • Drive 100% participation across your organization so that there's a strong enablement plan in place and keep your business relevant.  
  • Over communicate and drive collaboration to reduce fear and get people moving in the right direction again.  
  • Historically, different innovations have come out of crisis.  How can you learn from that and build a vision that makes your brand and company stronger… or maybe even makes it a newly reimagined company?   

Can your great idea drive next-gen innovation? Find a plan that works for your business and build a path to that value realization. We’re here to help. 

To watch the full interview with Angela, as moderated by Appirio’s Blake Nunley, watch the recording on-demand.   

Interested in learning more?  

Reach out to Angela here.   

Connect with Blake to learn more about how Appirio can help you find a plan that works for your business and build a path to that value realization.  

About the Author

Melissa Southard

Melissa Southard is a Go-To-Market Manager at Appirio, leading the marketing strategy for the communications and technology practice. She’s a proud native Texan from Laredo and currently lives in Houston, TX, with her husband and two dogs.

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