By Brian Giese, CEO of True Influence
All of our worlds have changed dramatically: home, school, church, and work. In each space, we’ve had to find new ways to cope and carry on. As my business team and I navigate through this disruptive time, three commitments continue to guide us. Your organization may also find direction and purpose in them.
1. Pledge to protect your people.
Early on, I made a public pledge: No lay-offs for 90 days. (Also, any raises due would be paid.) I can’t tell you the outpouring that I’ve had from employees and others since then. The energy around this pledge has been spectacular. It brought us together, and it was the boost we needed at that critical time.
Part of my mission now is to get others to take the 90-day pledge, too. The best thing you can do for your business is to reassure your employees, and if you can, pledge they won’t be laid off. Even if you have just one person in your company, if you’re willing to save their job, you’re in. I can’t imagine a business leader not wanting to do this, but of course, it’s not something every business can do. We’ve found other ways to reassure and inspire our organization.
One way I connect with True Influence employees is a Daily Stress Relief communication through email and social posts. Employees now contribute to the content, too, and we share thoughts about the latest updates, relevant business articles and things about the personal side like family and self-care tips. We include lots of employees’ personal stories, and that’s another piece of advice I would offer any of you – share the human side whenever you can.
You need to keep your healthy organization for your customers, so everything you do now to help your employees also benefits customers. (There’s science behind that!) And that leads us to the next commitment…
2. Protect your customers.
As a B2B demand generation organization, we work with enterprises that are now struggling with uncertainty as we all are. By staying present and in the game, we — as our brand — signal we are here; we are strong, and we are built for this.
That’s what customers need to hear from us right now. It’s not at all about selling and marketing the same a usual. It’s about business continuity, and when customers are ready to get back to business, we want them to know we’re agile, positive and set to go. Every business will be different and some will be more affected now than others. We’ve let them know whatever they need from us is still here for them.
Right now though, B2B marketers may need more than a demand generation partner. Whatever their industry, they’re under more stress than ever. To help, we launched our COVID-19 Stress Relief page as a public source of information and advice.
We’re also following our customers in the media and online, and when they do something great, we share that good news through our owned and individual social networks. The positive stories are important, and that’s where you definitely have the ability to make a difference. Keep your messaging to trust and ethical conversations; stop selling and start marketing. It’s about showing your true brand character now.
3. Get off the bench.
Don’t be quiet. Don’t be hesitant. Tell the world what you’re doing for employees and customers. The communication doesn’t have to be perfect or fancy, just sincere. You may have an inspiration late at night as you’re heading to bed. I know I have. I’ll think of something and just have to write that email right then. It doesn’t matter. Act on it. Share it, and you’ll get better at it as you go. This is exactly what we’re doing as a team, and it’s working.
Now lots of our employees have also taken to social media to share stories and connect, and the positive effects are cumulative. It’s working because our employees are in a good place, and we’re all more connected than ever. Our customers are reassured, and other companies have made the 90-day No Layoffs pledge.
Get in the fight, because it is a fight — the most serious we’ve ever faced. In all our worlds (including LinkedIn land), we’re doing what we can to support each other. We’ve made these three commitments, and we’re going to be there when this is over. Our company will survive, and we’ll be better for it. We wish the same for you.