Is there a productive assignment we can give our work-at-home team members who don’t have enough to do? I believe there is. And it happens to also serve the world.
For many managers, COVID-19 is an opportunity to invite idle or semi-idle employees to develop social-purpose skills (defined as their ability to help others or a societal cause) and craft plans to apply these skills at work. For example, we can encourage employees to develop their capacity to:
- Respond to medical emergencies. Having team members who are equipped to respond to medical situations at work is unquestionably beneficial. This pandemic might be as good a time as any for our team members to take a company first-responder online training, the American Red Cross’ first aid/CPR/AED course or the University of Glasgow’s basic first aid course.
- Be more environmentally sustainable. Research that I helped EarthShare conduct on Fortune 1000 workers, suggests that 48 percent of our team members want their everyday work to promote environmental protection. Why not help them get there? WWF-Canada’s Living Planet @ Work platform has free resources to help workers institute sustainable initiatives at work.
- Be more inclusive. Why not invite our team members to deepen their ability to work more equitably and effectively with people from diverse backgrounds? Our company might already have a diversity and inclusion e-training. If not, there are public online courses such as the Jennifer Brown Consulting DEI Foundations Course. (I have the honor of working alongside Jennifer in advising a Fortune 500 CEO on CSR and can vouch for her and her team’s work. Use code PODCAST for a 20% discount.)
- Make work autism-friendly. Does your team serve the public or otherwise work with individuals on the autism spectrum disorder (ASD)? If so, how wonderful would it be for your team to learn how to serve these individuals with dignity and compassion? The Autism Society has an assessment and materials to help your unit or business become autism-friendly.
A benefit of helping team members develop these (or any) social-purpose competencies is that it will strengthen their work. If you recall my prior posts, you’re aware that workers oriented toward social purpose are more motivated, calmer, more productive, better performing and happier. And, yes, a few hours of social-purpose training now followed up with a few minutes a week of action (once back at the workplace) is enough to trigger these benefits, per research findings.
If we want a dream team when we return to the workplace, now is the time to help our team members develop their capacity to do good at work.