People Impact Analysis
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Many corporate leaders attribute the success of the company to its people. Today, we are in a living veracity test of this slogan.
CoVID19 is a crisis of our people. As such, we feel the need to address how people are impacted from a business standpoint as customers and employees and of social impact via individual character and values.
Looking to Employers for Assurance
A recent Pricewaterhouse Coopers CoVID19 survey of CFO's identifies concern over the impact of CoVID19 on consumer behavior and employee productivity, while also demonstrating employee concerns over health and hygiene upon returning to the workplace.
51% of people need assurances that they’ll be notified if someone they work with has tested positive
50% of employees provide assurances about cleanliness and disinfecting procedures
49% of people want clear response and shutdown protocols if someone were to test positive
Employees are looking to the employer for assurance and answers. How are you addressing the impact of a return to the office on your people?
Now is the time for your organization to actively demonstrate the values you hold for your people:
What is your intent by mandating a to return to the office? Is it motivated by keeping things as they were?
If it is essential for some or all of your people to be in the office, how are you addressing their concerns for health and hygiene?
Is your organization prepared for the additional overhead and operations required to have people in the office?
Tracking Employee Health
Assuming you've done your best to address employee concerns for health and hygiene, how will you audit and track that your plan is working?
How will you collect data on the intersection of employee movement, and what will you do with that data?
This raises the topic of character and values, for the act of keeping employees informed about CoVID19 safety and hygiene in the workplace will almost certainly require tracking employees and those they come in contact with.
We know the virus is spread through sustained contact with those who have it. We know that most workplaces are shared spaces, not built to allow for easy avoidance of others. Even cleanroom work environments like at SkyWater and GlobalFoundries have had to make adjustments for CoVID19 exposure.
In a typical work environment, how do you ensure and give confidence to your employees that they can stay healthy when they have to use doors and elevators, use the facilities, eat, rehydrate, use light switches, copiers, attend meetings, use whiteboards, and pass people in hallways? Is there really some level of constant deep cleaning that can take place to assure disinfection? Will employees always scrupulously self report their health, maintain social distancing, and wear their protective equipment?
Mandating vs. Civility
Unlike health care workers, our jobs should not entail consistent exposure to people with CoVID19. The simple answer is, "If you're sick, or exposed to someone who is sick or might be sick, stay at home."
Easier to say or write a policy for than to enforce or even verify. Wearing PPE for 8 to 10 hours a day is a trial for even the most seasoned medical professionals. How will a similar attitude work in the office environment?
While the Taylorist Engineer in us wants to convince our thinking and our egos that we can devise toll gates to block those who would come to work sick (knowingly or unknowingly) the truth, at this moment is, there is no test, scan or questionnaire that will keep unexposed from being exposed to those who have CoVID19.
"...51% of those who have been forced to stop working or forced to work remotely (some 468 respondents) say the fear of getting sick at work would prevent them from returning to the workplace." - Pricewaterhouse Coopers COVID-19 Employee Pulse
Now privacy concerns become a rising crescendo, and for a good reason. So how will your company help maintain a healthy workforce and, at the same time, respect the privacy of your visitors, clients, and employees?
Will your track people and use analytics to understand:
Who attended a meeting with whom?
Who came and left at what times in your facilities?
Who went where on your property, and who's path did they intersect with?
Who may or does have CoVID?
Will you try to predict who may have CoVID?
If you try to predict carriers or CoVID?
Will you share this information with your outside suppliers that have had access to your property?
Will you share information about your rate of CoVID19 instances with your customers, visitors, employees?
Will you be able to assure your customers that the products they are purchasing have not been packaged or handled by anyone with CoVID19?
Awareness vs. Privacy
And the crux of all questions, how will all of this data be kept private? This notion of trying to track people and then share out who is healthy or who may be ill seems to be the PII challenge of the century.
A Shift in Cultural Norms
And yet, in these questions and dilemmas lies the answer, for as an employee, and a member of society we have to hold ourselves to a standard that rises above a paycheck or the employee of the year award, we need to put the health of our families, coworkers and ourselves at a priority.
The social impact of CoVID19 is a calling card for leaders and their systems of rewards, recognition, and promotion. Measured and weighed will be those compensations, promotion, and incentive programs that inadvertently reward those who come to work ill at the expense of others and their company.
Nobody wants to be known as that person who came to the office with an illness that caused a shutdown and expensive cleaning. And conversely, people know that the promotion they want is tied to a productivity game played against their coworkers.
If this virus left a large visible spot on our skin, there would be no option or alternatives. We would have to face the fact that everyone would know who has the virus.
Since the virus is a secret threat, we will have to change our mindset away from personal gain or shame to one of doing right and being able to trust others to do the right thing as well. This is a very large and significant cultural shift towards acting scrupulously over personal gain.
If you've invested time and money into repopulating your office space, the last thing you need is to have to close for re-sanitation or revert to work from home strategy. The disruption of constant restarts will lower confidence and demoralize your employees and your clients.
Leading your company through this crisis isn't just about adjusting to new work from home routines or laying plans for sanitizing your facilities. It will also be about leading people through significant cultural shifts.
How secure are your organization's health and wellness tracking plan? Are your data and systems able to anonymize the data and still be able to trace back to a person? How well are you leading through shifts from a cultural perspective? Perhaps it is now time to take a closer look at how your data is working to keep your business stronger.
Jim Szczygiel has been working as an Information Technologist since the early nineties. Most recently Jim has held roles as a consultant, product manager, data analyst, sales, and solutions architect along with working with agile and extreme programming teams. Jim has provided services in hundreds of different fortune 500 clients in the sectors of; Chemical and Natural Resources, Finance, Insurance, and Manufacturing. Read More