Gen. X, Y, and Z? Not for now! Let’s talk about Gen. Pandemic!
I was always biased, and not in favor of putting people (employees) in boxes, groups, or demographics, as I always attended to Human Resources on a human level! These basic traits that make most people happy, engaged, satisfied, and ultimately productive at work. What is beyond that is something I leave my fellow HR management consultants, and HR data analytics experts to attend to it.
Today I find myself, on that human level, very keen to speak about a unique generation, Gen. Pandemic.
So, what is Gen. Pandemic?
Not based on any Google search, Gen. Pandemic is the generation that was actively working in a full time or part-time job between January 2020 to now; during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please, do not be too specific about the definition, you know what I mean, it is all of us employees who witnessed the pandemic and its impact on workplaces.
So, what about them, Gen. Pandemic? What are the five key things that today I as an HR professional or a people manager, leader, or business owner should take note of while attending to Gen. Pandemic?
Here are five tips, just based on my observation, and my close contact with the market for the last 12 months. My words/thoughts are not best practices, but they may resonate at some point.
1. We have all lost something. Empathize!
If I can only give one piece of advice to every leader this year, it would be to try their best to empathize. Gen. Pandemic have all lost something; be it a job, a loved one, a fraction of our salary, perks, personal space, the luxury to travel, the comfort of walking down the street and watching the world as it goes by, the dopamine, the endorphins, the serotonins, and all brain chemicals to balance the human in us. We did lose a lot of it, the basics of life, Our O2.
Empathy, as per Oxford Languages definition; ‘’is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another’’. So, when you want to speak to your employees, share your revised vision, your new sales platform, your updated targets, your updated business objectives, start by empathising, and then they will be able to hear you better because quite simply, you will be closer to their mindset at that moment. Do not let fancy consulting words and corporate standards get in between you and the most important foundation of your business. Your people!
2. We are all scared. Understand!
Yes, we are. We are all not just scared, we’re petrified and extremely anxious about what is going to happen next. We wake up every day and try to learn more and equip ourselves with the latest news, research, global and local financial market predictions, WHO statements, etc. wanting to be prepared and ready for whatever comes next. But truth is, we do not know, No one does, and that makes us all anxious! Even Country leaders, CEOs, doctors, financial advisors, people managers, do not know! And we are all trying to deal with anxiety to our level best.
Be kind, be supportive, listen, reflect, and be patient! We are all trying to get through this together. If they can attend to the flood of daily Zoom and Teams, etc. meetings without letting you feel their anxiety, and they are getting the job done or almost done, that means they are doing their best and for that they all deserve, WE ALL deserve, to be EMPLOYEES OF THE YEAR.
3. We are all skeptical. Communicate!
The power of communication is a fundamental factor that is going to help you all manage again. Let us just pause and remember the amount of news revealed and then denied/changed in the last year that, consequently, made us all very SKEPTICAL. We are all having trust issues with media outlets. They all say the same thing but also are quite different, the virus is airborne, but not, you must wear a mask but not, our company is not going to let people go, but then we must let 40% of our people go. TRUST hardly exists today, and that important value is extremely hard to build and quite easy to break.
Today after all we have witnessed as professional workers, employees, people, resources, we are in need for proper and honest communication to be able to start trusting again. So, the next time you have an “online” townhall, leadership meeting, or a huddle, just be clear, true, honest, and above all authentic. If you think you cannot because the situation does not allow you to, I will still say try your best. If not, then don’t expect employee engagement and customer satisfaction any time soon. FACT!
4. We are all doing our best. Appreciate!
We all know very well the ultimate impact of a simple ‘’thank you’’ on behaviour and performance. Just look online for “The power of appreciation in the workplace” and see the amount of research and case studies that appear proving the power of unlocking human potential when you appreciate and recognize. Again, it is basic behavioral psychology. We all tend to do more if we are recognized in private or public, we get instantly re-energized and just want to do more. People have always been like that ever since we were little kids and our parents applauded so proudly and happily when we took our first steps. Acknowledge, recognize, and celebrate. Send personal and public emails, be specific, genuine, and mention that unique individual or team achievement. Be clear of what you have learned and unlearned and set a role model for the rest to aspire to.
5. We all need help. Lend a hand!
If you have reached this point in the article, I really want all your attention now. We all need something at this point, and we can all give something at this point.
Pause for a moment, and understand what you are good at, what you can grant without charging money for. Now, ask yourself, how can I give back to the community? To the world? Not only because you want to do the world a favour, but because you owe yourself a favour as a member of this generation. We all need that “sense of meaning” or “purpose” for us to be motivated, to be actively engaged, to be actively productive, so whether today you are the CEO of a big multinational, a small business owner, a sales team manager, a personal fitness coach, a doctor, a psychotherapist, a teacher, yoga instructor, dancer, etc. Ask yourself this question, what is it that you are passionate about and how using that passion can you give back to the community for nothing in return, just a “sense of meaning”.
For example, organize free webinars, free yoga classes, or tips to manage finances, and trust me the return may not be a credit message from your bank, instead the return will be unquantifiable, but more sustainable. It may not pay for your next fancy dinner, but it will be a story to tell forever on a stage, to your spouse, or your grandchildren, and you would always have that sparkle in your eyes that says, “we’ve made it” “we’ve proudly made it”. The COVID-19 pandemic unleashed a new generation of humans out of it. Yes, I am Gen. Pandemic.
We are learning together; we are all evolving together! Just remember, there is never one size fits all. It is called Human Resources, so it got to be Human!
Thank you for reading! #weareallinthistogether