By Linda Nedelcoff, executive vice president, chief human resources and strategy officer for CUNA Mutual Group
In just days, our world has dramatically changed, and our day-to-day realities have been flipped on their head. As we’ve watched this global pandemic play out, I’m amazed by how quickly people have responded and jumped into action.
Within a week, many of us have moved nearly all our workforce to remote, grappled with changed or changing priorities during unprecedented times, and worked to care for ourselves, our families, our colleagues and our communities.
At CUNA Mutual Group, we’ve activated our crisis team to monitor, prepare and respond. We’ve worked with our industry experts to compile insights and resources for our customers, and we’ve quickly adapted to a virtual approach to ensure business continuity. In all this work, our priorities are to ensure the health and safety of our customers, employees and community members. Our passion and commitment to building brighter financial futures and being there for people when they need us the most remains constant.
So, while it’s important that we move at an incredible pace to navigate through the uncertainty, it’s also an important time to pause and evaluate how we are staying connected and supporting each other during this time.
Here are the items I’m keeping at the forefront of my to-do list:
- Over-communicate. Now is the time for frequent communication with your members, employees and your community. When in doubt, err on the side of over-communicating. If you manage a team, try daily morning standups to build connection and start your days. Use video chat to help people feel connected and less isolated. If you’re not sure how to interpret an email, get on the phone. Whatever approach is most comfortable for you and your audience, keep the communication flowing.
- Stay calm and focus on facts. We are living in unprecedented times and in a very fluid situation that can cause concern and unease for everyone. While it may be tempting to binge every headline or post, try to stay focused on a few sources you trust and avoid the constant news barrage or rumor mill. I follow the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization for updates on the pandemic; and I stay closely connected and openly share our approach to communications with my network of Human Resources leaders and company CEOs. I have found this exchange of approaches to be incredibly helpful and reassuring that we’re doing the right things for our people. Additionally, we’ve made our business resiliency plans available to you on our website.
- Lead with compassion. Everyone we come into (virtual) contact with is living through the uncertainty, stress and anxiety of this time. Stay focused on our shared humanity and experiences, and ensure your employees take time for breaks. Provide access to stress management and mental health resources. And, try to infuse humor you’re your day, where appropriate. Remember that priority one is the health and wellbeing of your employees who keep your business operating and ensure your ability to continue to serve your customers.
Times like this call for special attentiveness to how we are connecting and caring for each other. Please know that CUNA Mutual Group is here for you. Through challenging times like these come stronger bonds, stronger trust and stronger community. Take care of yourselves and one another. We’ve been through challenging times together before, and we’ll make it through this, together.