How to Strengthen Your Relationships Amid a Crisis

Posted On by Veronica Abalos

Today we find ourselves amid a global pandemic we could not have anticipated.
COVID-19’s impact is far-reaching and our businesses are not exempt from it. In fact, many of us are learning to work from home for the first time! And who knew the distance from the desk to the fridge was exactly 24 steps?

Now, perhaps more than ever, we are eager to communicate the trust that frames our organisations. We also long to hear that trust communicated back to us – it is how relationships thrive!
So, what are some measures we can take to solidify our relationships with our teams and customers to ensure we are doing everything we can to minimise business impact?

We will consider two areas of focus: a team focus and a customer focus.

QUARANTEAM

Let’s start by defining what we mean by team. Simply put, we mean all the “work from home warriors” (and their pets) who are continuing to move their business forward. This most definitely includes those on the frontlines, though they are not working from home!
Without the commitment and passion of a team, organisations would not get very far, especially in a circumstance like the one we are in today.

“You’re on mute, mate”

By now you’ve probably met your colleagues’ family members and roommates – or at the very least heard them slamming doors and blending food in the background. You’ve finally mastered the art of understanding what your coworker is saying with his morning voice during those early meetings, and you’ve discussed your Netflix binge-watching habits.
You’re closer than ever.

You’re learning that above all else, you need to lean into your team. You’re in this together and you will get through this together. In this time, we need to maintain a razor-sharp focus as we seek the long-term well-being of our teams and companies.

Let’s consider some practical actions organisations can take to boost employee morale:

Connect, connect, connect: Check-in with team members during the day to see how they are doing. Are they particularly stressed about something? How are they managing their work-life balance? Is their cat repeatedly making guest appearances during client video calls? Be ready to listen. Even if you do not know the right words to say in an effort to counsel or care, your listening ear goes a long way!

Informal catch-ups: Set some time aside for catch-ups with your team during the week where you can blow off steam, play games, and discuss non-work related matters. We all know long hours working from home can be taxing, so this can be a simple way to engage through different, much-needed activities. Show off those rockin’ giraffe sweatpants, joke about how long your commute is, and ask what day it is because yet again, you can’t recall.

At 4C Dubai, we have come up with a collaborative list called “Work From Home Inclusion Activities” where we can write down ideas of activities we’d like to try out. Then, we collectively vote on which ones we will carry out for that week. Some examples include running an online quiz to guess the baby photo, creating a shared playlist with our favorite songs, and even taking pictures of our creative lunches for us to rate! This has promoted a feeling of togetherness while we are physically distant from each other.

… Who added MC Hammer to the playlist?

Be transparent: Nothing will build trust among a team like being open and honest about how COVID-19 is affecting company performance. Set up a virtual meeting and hold those conversations. Anticipate questions, immediately raise concerns if there are any, and provide solutions. These meetings may be difficult to conduct but your team will be grateful that nothing has been hidden from them. Remember, it is far better to overcommunicate because this will give your team more confidence in a situation that is uncertain, and be sure to document these communications to ensure they are accessible at any time. This will encourage everyone to keep up the good work and serve as a reminder that you are facing these times together!

THE HEARTBEAT OF YOUR BUSINESS

We know that our customers are facing the same challenges that we are facing and perhaps others that we are not aware of. At this time, it is vital we stay close to them. The present circumstance beckons us to go above and beyond to support them as they battle their own uncertainties and navigate the unique ways they are affected. As always, let’s remember that their success is our success!

Below are some practical actions you can take to support your customers:

Understanding breeds empathy: It is easier to consider ourselves and discount the ways our customers are affected. However, those who we interact with behind our screens are people too! Our customers may be dealing with pay cuts, redundancies, or even suffering with illness in their own families. Therefore, our approach is to be understanding. Let’s show compassion wherever we can!

Be proactive: Call your customers and see if they require any additional or particular assistance. Taking this initiative can really make a difference and as you’d do with your team, offer your customers an opportunity to vent, laugh, or talk about their random musings of the day. They’re probably also learning how to evade their children during company calls…

Offer exceptional value: Is there something your business can offer to your customers to aid them in this difficult time? This can be an opportunity for you to showcase unique offerings to ensure your customers can continue moving forward amid the challenges they are currently facing. In other words, be attentive, let your customers know what is available, offer simple demonstrations, and give them the space to decide if they would like to move ahead with your support.

At 4C, our job is to make sure our customers are aware of offerings that can leverage their communications with their customers and employees. Salesforce have recently launched a number of rapid response care solutions that are free for the first 90 days to help customers manoeuvre through the COVID-19 crisis. We are happy to set up these solutions for our customers as fast as possible to ensure our customers remain connected and responsive.

The birds are singing

Have you noticed the sounds of nature that were faint before?
As difficult as this time has been for all of us, and it really has been, let us keep pressing on knowing we will come out stronger on the other side of this pandemic. Enjoy working with your dog sitting on your lap, talking with your loved ones during lunch breaks, and laughing when your colleague freezes on your screen with yet another awkward look.

Let’s take this time to care for ourselves and one another, further develop our strengths, and overflow with thankfulness in remembering we have each other.
Jimmy Dean said it best, “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”