COVID thumbs up

Last fall, we shared our thoughts on what we believe to be the number one priority every successful business must have — its employees. In that post, we recommended doing annual “Stay Interviews” with your most valuable staff, those you want to invest in, keep, and grow, to help understand (and subsequently address) what could possibly cause them to leave your firm.

Fast forward just a few months. Today, in these unusual and unprecedented times, it is more important than ever to assess the well-being of your employees with consistent check ins. Managers should be reaching out to all staff, in particular those same standout professionals, and conducting “Check INterviews.”

Questions you might want to ask include:

  • How are you doing?    
  • What do you like/dislike about working remotely?
  • Do you feel that there is adequate communication coming from the top as well as from me/your manager?
  • Do you feel supported?
  • What additional information, resources can we provide?
  • What attention are you giving to your own self care?
  • Is there something that you are making a point of doing to manage stress?
  • Have you done something you’ve always said you’d do if you had the time (learn a language, cook or bake, read for pleasure)?
  • How is your family coping/How are you coping being away from family?
  • What is the first thing you/you and your family will do when things return to “normal”?

Keep notes so that when you continue the conversation the details (things said, people mentioned, ideas shared, concerns voiced) are at your fingertips.

We are embedding health & well-being at the heart of our business strategy because our people are our greatest asset, & we recognize that a healthy, happy, & committed workforce is vital to our business success.

ALEX GOURLAY, CO-CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, WALGREENS BOOTS ALLIANCE

The stress a manager carries can be burdensome in the best of times. So require that their supervisors check in on them with frequency.

Finally, one in five adults have a mental illness (National Alliance on Mental Illness). An event, let alone a pandemic, can trigger feelings of inadequacy, loss, thoughts of suicide, anxiety, and more. Encourage employees who are struggling to reach out for help. The NAMI HelpLine 800-950-NAMI (6264) is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., ET. Email to can be sent to: info@nami.org.

Moving forward, managers shouldn’t only be checking in to ask employees what they’re doing. They should be asking them how they’re doing.