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Apr 21, 202011:12 AMProgressive HR

with Coreyne Woodman-Holoubek

Human resourcefulness will allow us to adapt from COVID-19

Our world changed overnight.

We can all agree that despite the challenges, we will rise together, better and with knowledge that we are stronger.

This novel time will show us that we can make shifts in working practices, hiring practices, and self-evolving practices that will support organizational agility, dynamic teams, and a cultural evolution. This time will show that organizations can trust workers to be productive and be their best. This time will show that we can work remotely and that we can stay connected, engaged, and work together towards solutions.

Humans are meant to be adaptable and agile. We are cognitively built to be resourceful. Given the new and emerging organizational realities, we must be intentional, tell the truth, provide clarity, and engage people in the hard work of creating new solutions together.

In the response, our community has banded together to support each other, and each in our own unique way. It demonstrates that we care deeply for our collective selves and for others. In our efforts to work together, to pathfind our way today and through this novel time, offers and stories of advice, hope, inspiration, levity, and support are needed. I would like to share a look into how a few of our Progressive HR community are maintaining morale, promoting care, and voicing their values.

Calibrating to a new normal — having empathy and compassion for ourselves and others

Angela Nino, CFI, finds herself calibrating to a new normal. She has always been a champion for empathy but now even more so. She says that when you and your co-workers’ new office mates include spouses, children, and pets — and “much more we may not imagine” — it is time to practice a new work-from-home etiquette.

“Check in before getting to the work. These are trying times. Being empathic and human is even more important now than ever, as many of us are isolated, overwhelmed, and just getting used to this all,” she says. As well as, “set boundaries and honor boundaries.” We may be in response for a time and having boundaries between professional and personal is important for many of your co-workers and peers.

People are in their homes, so they may not all have a home office or space to work other than at the kitchen table or a store room. “We may not want to bring the people we work with into our homes. Respect their privacy and use careful consideration before we ask for video with the understanding that everyone’s circumstances are varied.”

One of Angela’s guiding principles is to “let go of perfection; we are all in this together and our pain is not unique. Taking time to recalibrate our lives is big and we have emotions about it.”

Ultimately, she says, “we can take this time to see outside of ourselves to others needs and at the same time keep ourselves safe and well.”

Being flexible and adaptive in your leadership

Derek Deprey, a corporate director of people, states that “managers need to be more flexible and willing to allow their employees to work the way that is best for them. This means trusting your team members so much that you could give them flexibility to take care of all things work AND life. The more flexibility you grant your employees, the more walls they’ll be willing to run through for the organization. Also, it is up to you as the leader to nurture the transparency in your team. Give your team opportunities to voice their challenges and concerns, either with the team or one-on-one with you.”

We can control how we treat each other and we will be better for it

Holly Anne Burns, a senior design manager, is focusing on how this time will make us better humans. She expresses that “while we might be physically separated and apart, never has the statement, ‘we’re in this together,’ been so true. While we are all affected by these surreal times in different ways and at different levels, no matter race, age, gender, or even socio-economic circumstances, we are all being touched by this virus in some way.”

She adds, joking, “With that being said, I’m no saint.” Something she tries to evoke whether on phone calls, via emails, or face to face with kids and/or family, is that in this time of increased stress and lack of control, we can control how we treat each other.

“I’m trying to be extra considerate, extra kind, and extra patient, and remembering that everyone I’m talking to is going through something due to this virus. It’s true that some have it harder than others, and it’s definitely affecting us all in different ways, but in this instance in time, we have the control to treat each other as we would want to be treated. A little kindness truly does go a long way.”

See the humor and opportunity in working at home with family/young children

Humor and levity can bring us closer together. Pat Dwyer is finding the metaphoric silver lining in working at home, from the kids’ playroom that is now his new office, while balancing shifting his business and being his children’s new math teacher. The organizational humorist and Second City comedian opens up that the good news about everything happening in this time is:

  • The commute is way shorter;
  • Everyone else’s kids are wrecking (or saving) all their conference calls, too;
  • All those meetings are finally messages on Slack;
  • Water cooler talk is now just standing around your Brita filter; and
  • After all this help with your kid’s schoolwork, you could easily re-enroll in elementary school and ABSOLUTELY CRUSH IT!

In all seriousness, he says, “We might be in the thick of an absolutely unparalleled global event. Yet, it also has provided us with an amazing double-edged sword of an opportunity to spend more time with our families and/or more time on self-reflection and growth. As odd as this sounds, this time is special, and though it won’t always feel like it, it’s pretty darn cool. Inside each of the eye rolls, the yells, the headaches, the blatant acts of disregard for privacy, and deep-seeded frustrations are powerful memories. Deeply detached as this time in history may feel, at its core it may be the most interpersonal thing we’ve done thus far.”

What Mr. Timspiration says

Tim McMurtry always has the most inspiring and uplifting comments. They are not only igniting but unique in only the way Mr. Timspiration can compel us to feel.

“The key things to set the stage for a positive outlook during these very big introspective weeks, forces someone who is active to slow your roll and find beneficial rest in the creative process. Live your life at the tip of the radar and treat ourselves and others like the valuable specimens that we are,” he offers. “These times are extra deep. Practice living your life from the inside out, you can pull from that. Squeeze the creation out of a new situation. You just have to get to doing it!”

Focus on the things you can do something about and:

  1. Make a quality decision that you will not panic nor live in fear.
  2. Evaluate the overall situation. This helps to not be overwhelmed by the enormity of the moment, but to instead compartmentalize each element of the situation. Cool heads prevail.
  3. You can now overlay the overall situation with positively that can be exercised in bite-size chunks:
    1. Rediscover yourself. Take as self-assessment of things that make you valuable.
    2. From within, exercise a positive self-image and outlook because it opens the flood gates to creative outputs from you and reciprocal attraction of positivity back to you. YOU begin to attract favorable circumstances.
    3. This positive flow will come to you in ways that you often cannot manipulate or manufacture. You become a beacon of light\positivity to others.

I will leave you with this one last message of Timspiration, his favorite proverb: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Meaning the right word at the right time can be life to someone dealing with a crisis or hardship.

In tough times, collaboration and virtual togetherness shines.

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About This Blog

Coreyne Woodman-Holoubek is a CHRO with over 17 years of global business and human resource leadership expertise, living and working in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Spain. Coreyne has an B.A. in International Business from the University of Brighton, UK, a B.A. in Spanish Linguistics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and a post-graduate degree in Human Resources from the University of Plymouth, UK. She is a passionate progressive human resource business professional, and is best known for her work as co-founder of Contracted Leadership, and as president of Disrupt Madison and Disrupt Milwaukee.

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