It's About Connection

CII’s COVID-19 webinars, blogs and ongoing discussions reveal one common denominator that emerges as a successful action when addressing the COVID-19 crisis: Personal Connection.
Whether the conversation involves a multi-national corporation, a small department, a technology startup, a contractor, family, friends or even CII staff, we are seeing that how we connect with each other online is making a major difference in how we weather our ongoing COVID-19 juggernaut. It’s not enough to just provide organizational updates or hold virtual staff meetings to convey the latest information. It is critical that we make things personal and retain “the human touch” as much as possible in all of our interactions.

Over the past few months most of our CII Communities for Business Advancement sessions on COVID-19 have evolved into conversations on the need for sincere personal contact in this stressful time of working from home and social distancing. Drawing from those sessions with your colleagues in CII, we’ve devised a few recommendations we hope you find helpful as you navigate through new modes of communication:

Turn on That Camera

Bandwidth permitting, turn on that camera during virtual meetings. Instead of becoming comfortable shutting off your camera, realize the healing power of visual interaction. Just seeing a business partner’s mask-less face, seeing people’s reactions to the discussion at hand, can brighten up one's day and ensure each other “we are all in this together.”

Weekly Employee Check-Ins – Make Them Personal and Fun  

CII staff have made the weekly check-in engaging by selecting a different theme for each week. We’ve displayed our favorite vacation spots as backgrounds, shown favorite movie posters, donned our hats and worn our favorite relax-at-home shirts. Weekly themes have engaged us in fun conversations and have provided a chance to learn more about each other and to laugh.

Virtual Social Gatherings for Employees

Several members have shared examples of Pizza Night, Wine and Cheese Night and Happy Hour. Another social interaction made virtual is Lunch-and-Learns: brown bag lunches that introduce dynamic topics.

Some Companies Offer Virtual Games for Employees   

You might call this social distanced - or remote - team building. During the recent Modularization CBA meeting, some examples given included variations of Trivial Pursuit, various virtual Escape Room games, and a board game called Aggravation.

Share and Relieve Stress – It’s Okay to Use Your Organization’s Mental Health Benefits

Whether you are the head of a company or the manager of a division, work with your HR department and ensure your employees that it is okay and encouraged to access the organization’s counseling and mental health services. Always provide HR contact information at meetings. Encouraging people to address their personal COVID-19 related issues is about keeping your employees healthy during this ongoing crisis. 

More Personal Outreach to Colleagues, Customers, Family, Friends 

Pick up the phone and call a customer/client and ask how they and their family are doing. Share with them how you and your family are coping during this new normal. Listen to each other and place business on the back burner for a while.

Sometimes instant communication can feel impersonal. A personal snail mail note can provide a welcome sense of connection especially for the older generations.

Share Through CII Safety Moments

Finally, at the start of all of our meetings, CII safety moments provide an opportunity for social interaction. Recent COVID-19 related topics have included: How to convey to employees the importance of masks (offer personal examples); PPE and social distancing compliance; Awareness of COVID-19 distraction from the normal safety steps on a worksite; The importance of offering employees assistance with the emotional/mental side of COVID-19 isolation; How best to work from home by giving yourself needed breaks and incorporating the 20/20/20 rule: every 20 minutes take 20 seconds and look at something 20 feet away from you.

In a recent AWP CBA meeting, a notable Safety Moment prompted personal interaction. The CII member titled his Safety Moment “PPE at Work, Play and Every Day - The Day I Died.” He used photos of his recent motorcycle accident to share about the importance of PPE and how a colleague saved his life.

The Glue That Holds Us Together 

Connections like these are the glue that holds us together. Social interactions help us to combat disconnection and loneliness and build that valuable essential in our lives: Trust. Demonstrating our humanity and true sincerity for each other with our clients, family and friends is our pathway through this ongoing crisis. 

As with past blogs, please feel free to share with us any examples of connection practices which we can pass along to your fellow CII members.

Take care, stay safe and stay connected!  

Date posted: August 18, 2020