How to Respond Empathetically to Social Crisis in the Workplace
From the crisis in Ukraine to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, employers like Snapchat and Netflix (as well as Culture Amp & Namely) have taken a public stance to support their workforce during these uncertain times.
Namely CEO, Larry Dunivan, joined Culture Amp’s Head of Regional Director of People Science, Hannah Wilken, earlier this month to share tips on how to respond appropriately and quickly to employees' concerns in times of crisis.
In case you missed it, here are our top takeaways:
Establish & Lead by Your Values
How do you lead through a crisis that isn’t necessarily considered a crisis for everyone? Dunivan said that when he first became the CEO at Namely, it was paramount that he established organization values that reflected the nature of the Namely culture and the CEO he aspired to be. Instead of having values that are mainly used for branding or esoteric purposes, Dunivan wanted these values of the organization to be a set of rules to live by.
The anchor of those values helped immensely in situations like these. When moments of crisis arose, Namely was able to articulate their stance transparently as an employer and share why it was in alignment with their values to do so. Dunivan also recognized that there are multiple sides to these arguments, and Namely would respect all of them.
Create Community Spaces
Namely found that by creating virtual community spaces, employees could gather and grapple with turbulent world events. It allowed employees to feel supported and heard, which helped work through things and maintain business as usual.
Namely has a set of rich ERGs that helped employees process what was going on, such as the murder of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the election. They were used as an open forum where employees gathered to share and discuss shared or differing values.
Remaining Neutral Wasn't An Option (For Namely)
Throughout the webinar, Wilken and Dunivan received very thoughtful questions from the audience. One was posed to Dunivan about whether or not being silent in the midst of a social crisis was the same as being complacent. Dunivan said that, for him, remaining neutral was never an option. He thought that a lack of response or acknowledgement of world and social injustices could be viewed as complicity.
Wilken wrapped up the webinar with some final words of wisdom, “Be transparent, be respectful, and create a safe space for employees.”
If you want to dive further into their conversation check out the recording of the webinar, “Responding Empathetically to Social Crisis in the Workplace”.
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