Defining Support in the Time of COVID-19

BY Caitlin Roark // HR Director

To say 2020 is not what we expected when the ball dropped at midnight on December 31st, 2019, is an understatement. 

We have seen major health, economic, social and cultural developments that have shifted and influenced our perspective on how we operate in a business manner.  We have taken a moment to pause and evaluate what is truly important.  We have been flexible.  We have stepped up for one another.  We have also learned that support comes in a variety of forms.

When we look to support individual team members, it is important to start with a simple question – “what does ‘support’ mean to you?” 

If you ask this question to 25 different people, you are likely going to get 25 different answers.  Each person’s concerns are as valid as the next based on their life situation.

Take parents, for example. 

The age of the children (and number!) could influence what type of parental support is needed on top of a typical business workday. Some team members have young children that require hands-on interaction outside of nap times. We also have young school age children that are experiencing virtual school at home and need help navigating technology —on top of a schedule that may not align with the schedule of their working parents.  Some have older school-age children returning to blended or in-person instruction that require yet another, and different, set of needs. This new way of teaching and learning is a struggle as both adults and children try to find their footing. 

Our job as a business is to first listen to our team for what they need – especially in the time of COVID. Each person has a unique set of beliefs and values that influence their decision making. By showing empathy in a time where any decision seems monumentally difficult, we are showing support.

One of Levelwing’s core feedback tools is a 30-day check-in with each team member and their supervisor. In our fast-paced industry, it is helpful to pause, reflect, and refocus. Sometimes support can be displayed by applying a fresh perspective on the challenge at hand or connecting the dots to a solution that wasn’t initially apparent. There is a difference between instantly providing an answer and helping to define a solutions-oriented culture backed by support.

Daily department huddles further serve as a communication tool to support each other – from aligning prioritization to exposure for additional personal development.  We are consistently developing innovative solutions.  Let’s define what resources are available, so no one starts from scratch.

Time is a scarce resource. It is natural for energy levels to wax and wane throughout the day.  Support could mean simply blocking collaborative meeting time in a window another prefers. It could mean acknowledging that checking and responding to email is going to happen at defined points in the day. By taking away immediate expectations, we can be more intentional partners.

The silver bullet of support is elusive. There is not a one size fits all solution. But if we take the time to tailor our approach, the impact will be that much more meaningful.