National Connections, Local Ownership
National Connections, Local Ownership

Pandemic-related Lessons Can Be Leveraged for the Future

Originally published in FleetOwner

Many people have been analyzing 2020 and offering some thoughts on lessons learned from what businesses faced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A guide from BetterUp called 2020 Insights For Thriving In Uncertainty says that “[2020] brought a recalibration to the importance of resilience, agility, and community. And it brought a time of accelerated learning and growth.”

As we all know during 2020, businesses had to pivot and make significant operational changes. And while we all faced adversity during the year, BetterUp says we also learned about our capacity for growth through adversity.

Through its works with employee assessments and coaching sessions, the company gained some insights. One thing they discovered was that people can rise to the occasion when faced with a challenge but can maintain that “surge” status for about eight weeks before they become fatigued.  The report said, “In fact, people appeared to thrive at the beginning of the pandemic but by July, around 12 weeks after the declaration of the pandemic, cognitive thriving was at its lowest point.”

The lesson here is that in times of disruption managers need to amp up their support of employees and encourage them to take time off to recharge once the initial surge passes.

This next lesson learned may come as a big surprise. “Effective communication is just as critical during routine work as it is during times of crisis,” the guide said. This is especially true when managers and employees are not face-to-face. Make sure both managers and employees have outlets for airing their ideas and giving and receiving feedback. Make sure everyone on the team is heard and feels comfortable expressing their opinions and sharing their ideas.

During 2020, more managers began focusing on the personal well-being of their employees as they recognized that a person’s mental health could have an effect on their performance at work. BetterUp does not expect this to change in the future because “there is a mental health revolution upon us, wherein it is becoming a more central concern to employees and employers.” Managers need to make sure they have resources available to support the well-being of people across the organization.

While 2020 had its share of challenges, there were also some takeaways that we can use going forward to make our businesses stronger than ever.