Covid-19 has turned everyone’s– personal, professional and social world upside down.  The “status quo” is a distant memory.

The question:  How can we help each other take the best of the old methods and combine them with today’s new realities?

Stressed Employees – Together Minute #5

My father gave me some advice that is particularly important today. If you are going to manage people – walk in their shoes.

Effective CEOs understand that the world changed in mid-March 2020.  They know that by reducing employee stress, companies can increase quality, safety, employee engagement, customer service and profits.  CEOs know  that small changes in the company’s policies, flexibility, and communications can have a huge impact on their employees.

Below are a few things that cause stress. You may not be able to fix them, but if you walk in your employee’s shoes you will find ways to lighten their load.

  1. being behind on mortgage payments.
  2. finding affordable daycare for my kids.
  3. no money for the car repairs.
  4. keeping the kids busy without organized activities (camps, etc.)
  5. a disabled family member.
  6. Corvid – 19.
  7. being laid off.
  8. An abusive partner.
  9. the direction the country is going in.
  10. taking the bus for 90 minutes to my $11/hour job.
  11. working two or three jobs to simply get by.
  12. a parent who is dying.

How many of your employees would say “I do 99 things right and never hear a thing.  Do one thing wrong and the wrath of God descends on me.” There is a better way.

In the past, companies operated at 120 mph.  Unfortunately, at that speed too many employees were literally run over.  By running at 95 mph, companies can increase their bottom lines while improving their employee’s lives. Creative ways to reduce employee stress is a win – win.


Together Message #4 _ Semi truck

If we are honest, 2018 and 2019 resembled a tractor-trailer speeding down the highway at 100 mph with the back doors open. Despite your best efforts, profits, customer service, employee engagement, safety, quality, etc. were falling out those open doors.

Now, that semi is either parked or running at a much, much slower pace.  That presents an opportunity to review and look at the big picture – what will I keep? What will I change? How will I grow personally?

The reality is that some of your customers and suppliers may not make it through these tough times.  Given the changing marketplace, some of your products may not either.  Again, being honest, some of your employees will not be returning.

You have changed, and so have your employees.  In many cases valued employees went from the bread winner to the unemployment line.  If that was not enough, their kids will not go back to school until the fall.  Money issues plus no school, no daycare, no summer camp, or vacation, etc.  That is a lot of pressure.  Your returning employee will be bringing those concerns to the workplace.  Some thoughts:

  • How will you encourage and motivate returning employees? Do you have a first day, first week, first month plan?
  • Are some company policies out-of-date and counterproductive?
  • Your current hiring process gave you A, B and C performing employees. Is there a problem with the hiring process or the manager who made the hiring decision?
  • Who will you bring back first and why?
  • What three things will make you a better manager?
  • After slowing down and having some more time to think, what is important to you now?

This is a very unsettling time for all of us, but we will get through it.  I do not want to sugar coat it, but maybe we needed to slow down.  Less “me” and more “WE” will make the world better.  How will you use this period to help others?


Together Minute #3 – Rehire Questions 

Hopefully, your employees will be returning to work soon.  Likely, they will be returning in waves depending on the economy and your company’s specific needs.  Here are some things to consider.

10 Questions to answer before you re-hire someone:

  • Was the person an “A” or “B” performer?
  • Is the person flexible?
  • Will the person fit your new strategic plan and culture?
  • Is the person a team player (we) or self-focused (I)?
  • Does this person fit your management style?
  • Is the person a creative problem solver?
  • Will the person do more than is expected?
  • Is the person trustworthy and does he/she have a positive attitude?
  • Does the person have specific, desirable talents, skills or knowledge?
  • Is the person respected by others on the team?

Our world has changed.  We can’t go back, but we can move cautiously forward.   People will be your strength and ultimately will define your success.  Choose wisely.

Helpful Quote

“How do leaders serve their people? They may pay good wages and treat employees with respect.“         John C. Maxwell


Together Minutes #2 – Change

Covid – 19 is wreaking havoc on every facet of our lives.

Not long ago we were running 100 mph in the “rat race. Life was hectic, but that was our norm.  The new norm is working from home.  The good news is that our pace has slowed, and we now have some time for self-reflection.

As an owner, executive, manager or HR professional, how do you define these seven words?  After watching more TV than any of us want to admit to, do these words take on new importance?

  • Appreciation
  • Leadership
  • Honesty/integrity
  • Trust
  • Loyalty
  • Stress
  • Truthful communications

When I was just starting my business career, my father said: “remember that everyone has a story.  Don’t lead others without “walking in their shoes.”

Covid – 19 has “pulled the rug out from under your employees’ feet.”  They will not be the same as before the pandemic.  Neither will you.  How will your employees redefine these seven words?   How will you help them regain their footing?


“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
By Leo Tolstoy

 Helpful Book:

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad One

By James Clear

Together Message #1  

Company owners, executives and managers have had to make difficult, heart wrenching decisions to lay off their employees, family and friends.  Net result:  A great deal of guilt, stress and misery.

Five things I’m sure of:

  1. It is NOT your fault that employees had to be furloughed
  2. You are not alone
  3. The best way to help your out-of-work employees is action
  4. Yesterday’s strategic plan needs major updating
  5. Blaming yourself or others will only hold you back

We are going through some very tough times, but it is inspiring to see people helping each other.   Your company, plant, department or team will never be the same, but it can be better.   Together we win.   Stay positive.  Stay safe.


“You can get everything you want in life, if you help enough others to get what they want.”   Zig Ziglar, a famous motivational speaker

 Helpful book: 

Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring

by Bob Chapman, CEO Barry – Wehmiller