Lisa Johnson: Separating the great from the good

You know what separates a GOOD employer/boss from a GREAT employer/boss?

Trust. Positivity. F l e x i b i l i t y.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for these values has been amplified and has become a cornerstone for businesses that have been successful in keeping operations and bottom lines steady.

Many employers have made accommodations for employees to work from home, beginning with the stay-at-home orders in March. This setup works best when employees and bosses alike trust that they will reciprocate one another in this relationship – providing resources and possibly equipment, giving leeway, and producing the work that is needed.

Trust also means being considerate of employees and coworkers. Follow CDC guidelines, have sanitation supplies readily available and work hard to ensure your workplace is a safe place for people to come. Help all employees realize that workplace practices – like breakrooms and visiting “the watercooler” may look different but encourage interaction through Zoom meetings and chat features through your in-house email systems.

Positivity has been a MUST during the pandemic, especially since there are times when it has been hard to produce. We get it. But, making sure you are supportive of your employer as well as your employees and remaining positive about the outlook ahead is a great way to build loyalty and retention.

There is no trait more important right now than FLEXIBILITY! We have all been stretched, personally and professionally, during the COVID-19 pandemic. As businesses and employees, we have all had our own challenges with making changes, sometimes by the hour!

But let’s talk about some ways we need to continue to be flexible to be successful.

First, some people will continue to need to work from home – some examples include those with chronic or immune-compromised conditions, those who have anxiety about returning to work around others, and those with children at home learning virtually.

As schools are set to reopen soon, we urge all employers to think about adjusting policies to allow parents flexibility during this new and uncertain time for their children. This could mean allowing parents to start their day later to take children to school and/or end it earlier to pick them up. We know that not all work duties can be performed from home but being flexible in any way will send a strong, positive message to employees.

As some employees return to work for the first time, you may also need to be more encouraging to employees and coworkers alike. This could mean serving as a sounding board or counselor to employees who have anxiety about the coronavirus and public settings. We encourage you to find a balance to provide a listening ear.

It’s best to remember the golden rule when thinking of any relationship, even employer to employee and vice versa – treat others the way you would want to be treated.

Lisa Johnson | President & CEO of the bossier Chamber of commerce.