As the global pandemic continues, people across the world have been adversely affected by its calamitous grip. While some are mourning the loss of loved ones, many more have been negatively impacted by the socioeconomic effects of the lockdown.
As employees’ transition to working from home, the process has posed a number of challenges. And for those with school aged children that are now required to take responsibility for distance learning, the challenges have increased exponentially.
Managing your team during these unprecedented times requires strong leadership skills, combined with equal parts compassion and flexibility.
Chances are your team has been struggling to retain its motivation and productivity. With that in mind, ISC’s team of executive recruiters have rounded up 5 ways you can offer some much-needed encouragement mixed with clear direction.
1. Lend Your Support
Prioritize employee physical and emotional health and wellness by lending your support—collectively and individually.
While this pandemic has affected many people physically, it has also taken a heavy toll on mental and emotional health. The uncertainty, fear, and isolation have increased anxiety, stress, and panic across the nation. In addition to rapidly changing economic conditions, this has concurrently reduced productivity levels and overall motivation.
Empathizing with your employees is an important way to help them realize that their concerns are valid and being acknowledged. We recommend hosting group meetings a minimum of twice a week utilizing a video platform such as Zoom or Skype, and then also incorporating individual calls as much as possible to ensure they feel comfortable about voicing any specific concerns. You would be surprised how many people quite literally have no one to share their worries with, and being a strong leader requires you to care not only about their performance as an employee, but their overall well-being.
A terrific way to ensure that someone feels that they have been heard is to actively listen, and then repeat back to them what you believe you have heard. Ask direct, open-ended questions in terms of how you can best support them, and then follow through.
You can be assured that your employees will share their experiences with you with others, and you want to have those stories be positive if you want to maintain loyalty when this is over.
2. Enthusiastically Share Positive Feedback!
We are all being bombarded with bad news these days. Make a conscious effort to double and triple the amount of positive feedback you’re giving out to help your team members feel acknowledged and appreciated for their efforts.
Working during a global pandemic is not an easy feat to accomplish. There are many ‘out-of-the-box’ ways to motivate your team and raise moral. Check out this infographic for 5 terrific ways to motivate your team, on a limited budget.
Here are some tips for helping you improve your feedback strategy.
Sharing empowering stories is a great strategy to keep your employees engaged and productive. We recommend sharing motivational videos and narrating short but effective anecdotes during virtual meetings.
This will boost your employees’ morale and help them feel encouraged to keep going without losing motivation.
We also recommend sharing success stories—both personal and professional—to help employees feel capable of maintaining performance despite the uncertainty around the pandemic.
3. Adjust your Goals
Every successful manager knows that the key to achieving goals is to have clear cut milestones lined out.
Prior to achieving those goals, your team needs to know precisely what steps they need to take in order to hit those numbers. Breaking down a sales cycle typically involves 4 or 5 steps, which a sales rep needs to accomplish in order to get to the finish line.
Smart managers are going to be taking a close eye at those metrics, and adjusting them accordingly to your targeted customer base. The chances of having anyone be able to conduct live presentations these days is pretty slim, so you need to change those expectations to skype or zoom meetings.
Be realistic and encourage your team to simply reach out to your targeted customers, not to necessarily sell something, but to simply connect.
Not every single action needs to be monetized.
By investing the time and energy in reaching out to current and potential clients, and simply letting them know that you are thinking about them, and will be around when the dust settles, can be something that will be remembered long after this current crisis abates.
While specific goals should clearly be adjusted during these unprecedented times, it is still important to provide your team with clear direction. Setting goals is a great way to keep your team on track. While you may feel compelled to sideline metrics and growth temporarily, it could end up doing more damage than good. Set healthy and realistic goals to keep your team members motivated and boost productivity levels.
Rather than expecting your team to reach out to x number of potential clients to pitch your services, adjust that goal to simply encourage them to reach out to current and targeted clients to touch base.
4. Control Your Messaging to Clients
Be sure to go over the messaging prior to having your team engage in contacting clients to ensure that the message is sure to be well-received. Some people are better writers than others, and you will want to be acutely aware of what the message is prior to setting out that directive. Consider reviewing written messages and have consistency amongst your team, and role playing is always a terrific idea when encouraging team members to go out with new verbiage.
While the intent is good, we have personally already received some messages from vendors that felt tone-deaf considering the current circumstances. Don’t let the wording conflict with the intent of your desire to extend a hand with no expectation for anything in return.
We also recommend holding individual team meetings to track performance and provide personalized guidance. This initiative will not only make employees feel respected and assisted during a challenging time, but it’ll also encourage them to maintain performance.
Take each employee’s personal circumstances into consideration to ensure they’re not being held responsible for a situation that is out of their control. External factors like difficult circumstances at home and sick family members require empathetic acknowledgment, support, and leeway.
Handling each situation with care will ensure your team feels positive and motivated.
5. Be a Leader that Leads with Strength and Compassion
Company culture starts at the top.
Rise to the occasion and be conscious of the messages you are sending to your team. Be flexible in your expectations and acknowledge the unique challenges that many of your employees are most likely dealing with.
Employees are watching how their managers are reacting to this crisis, and are taking notes. Those that lead with calm, realistic directives combined with compassion, will gain immeasurable good will that will be re-paid in loyalty for years to come. Those that fall short of those expectations can anticipate issues with attrition once the world turns right side up. Sow the bed you want to sleep in, and do it consciously.
Since 1999, ISC has been a leading team of executive recruiters, providing exceptional candidates to clients across the United States. International Search Consultants specializes in identifying top tier professionals for companies operating in a wide range of industries. If you’re struggling to fill a critical role, or just want to strategize on hiring strategies, on-boarding or keeping potential candidates warm during this unique set of circumstances, please feel free to contact us at any time.
We are all in this together, and we will get through this together!
Ann Zaslow-Rethaber is President of International Search Consultants, and can be reached via direct dial at 888-866-7276 or via email at
Kara Onorato is Director of Sales Recruiting for ISC. Kara can be reached at or direct dial at 877-316-6249