Critical Topic Discussion Group 1 Communications in a Crisis – March 26, 2020

On March 26, 2020 Einblau & Associates hosted a Discussion Session for managers and leaders to talk about the challenges of  communicating with their staff during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The session consisted of 15 minutes of best practice information by our keynote speaker Jason Mercier – Manager Investor Relations, Novagold Resources Inc. Subsequently, everyone was divided into breakout groups for 45 minutes to discuss questions and concerns on this topic and get insights from others.

Below is a video of Rachelle Lee, President of Einblau & Associates kicking-off the session, followed by our keynote speaker, Jason Mercier.

Outcomes from Breakout Groups

Challenges and communicating with staff during a crisis:

  • Daily meetings group challenges: everyone is talking at once, working through process
  • Build in daily routine, including family members
  • Introverted – hard to extract information
  • Group weekly meeting
  • People working from home, different levels of comfort
  • One person in the office refusing to work from home
  • Non-profit organizations are not a priority at this time for Board and volunteers
  • Social groups splintering from organization for support – building stronger relationships over WhatsApp
  • Decision-making has slowed down due to technology uptake at different speeds.

Lessons Learned

  • We have similar issues that we’re dealing with, we’re not alone.
  • The investment made in building good relationships with staff really helps when situations like this come along.
  • Everyone’s doing interesting things to stay connected with others, sharing these would be helpful.
  • Don’t avoid communication. Set an example and pick up the phone or set up a video chat.
  • We typically work with the manger in the middle and our team around us where in a time of crisis the managers needs to walk in front.
  • With face-to-face communication we ensure eye contact and appropriate body language and ask how people are doing, whereas Skype messages and calls were short and to the point. We need to alter this now that we are no longer communicating in person.
  • We have no “hind-sight” yet.
  • We need to be open to changing our perspective on everything.
  • Have to be adaptive.
  • People may be more receptive to using technology in a new way; everyone has different comfort levels in picking it up.
  • Meetings becoming more stand-up meetings because social discussion takes more time.
  • Concern about developing shadow IT and where is data going as people work from home. Are emails being forwarded to personal email addresses?
  • Need to work on policy changes going forward – tech use, WFH guidelines, HR, health benefits.
  • Are companies still responsible for the employee safety and ergonomics of workstations while people are home?
  • This situation is forced digital transformation – where’s our opportunities?
  • Need to learn how to compartmentalization routines – take them to turn the work phone off.

Lisa Arora from Get The Picture created a graphic recording of our session:

Einblau & Associates hosted 2 more Discussion Group Sessions on Critical Topics in a Crisis:

  1. Remote Management: Practical solutions for effectively managing the performance and productivity of a remote workforce.
    Wednesday April 1 9:00 am PDT | 10:00 am MDT | 12:00 PM EDT
  2. Staff Mental Health: Your role as a manager & leader in supporting mental health within your teams during uncertain times.
    Wednesday April 8 9:00 am PDT | 10:00 am MDT | 12:00 PM EDT

Graphic Recording Created by: Lisa Arora from Get The Picture

Get The Picture captures a group’s key ideas – in text, images and colours – in the moment, during a facilitated group discussion. Their proven visual facilitation methods inspire dynamic and highly productive collaboration and lead to stronger decision-making and positive strategic action.

Get The Picture is now serving the world virtually and visually. That’s because they believe ALL meetings are better when they’re VISUAL. Their expertise includes:

  • Designing effective, interactive virtual meetings.
  • Visually facilitating virtual meetings.
  • Visually recording virtual meetings with a facilitator of your choice.

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