Hiding a workplace problem doesn’t mean it will go away: What we can learn from Donald Trump’s coronavirus denial

Donald Trump recently claimed he was joking when he asked staff to slow down coronavirus testing, asserting that ‘by having more tests, we have more cases.’ Whilst you can’t question the logic, it’s assumed that most experts would believe this to be a very short-sighted approach – by testing fewer people, reported cases will decrease, but this does not mean they do not exist. Much like in any scenario – from relationships to health issues to workplaces, ignoring a problem does not make it go away.

Business plans and projections have effectively been thrown out the window in 2020. Never before have we had to rethink our strategies on such a regular basis. Many leaders may feel like finally they are in control of the future, only to be thrown a curveball. Whether it’s a supplier going under, a ‘dependable’ client seeking cheaper services elsewhere or ever-changing imposed restrictions, there are so many impacts of the pandemic that are out of our control.

This makes it more important than ever to manage the aspects of our business that we can control. If we are able to pick up issues in real-time, we can tackle them head on, and contain them. But for many reasons – lack of resource, denial on the part of leaders, or a gap in understanding how simple gathering employee feedback can be, this crucial element is ignored.

Through the Teamgage user-friendly platform, senior leaders can gather informed insights from their organisation, on issues, actions and ideas that are bespoke to their business and then develop strategies to tackle them. As teams are also given their own results to own and improve, many leaders find this actually saves them time, as they don’t have to resolve all of the smaller issues that are better dealt with at team level.

Here’s some examples of how this data-driven improvement can work:

  • Your data reveals that HR workload is up 20% and yet somehow that team is finding a way to deliver all of their KPIs, along with keeping everyone COVID safe. Starting to measure how supported the HR department feel will reveal how they are really coping and how this arrangement can be sustained and improved if the pandemic continues well into 2021.
  • A team’s results for productivity have decreased by 10% as they’ve returned to the office after the easing of restrictions. Your dashboard reveals that staff are actually feeling anxious and stressed about the health risks in the workplace and this is affecting their work. Without knowing this, the team leader then wouldn’t be able to action the ideas that will allay their fears. This in turn empowers the team, increases their engagement in the feedback process and improves their productivity.
  • Energy levels are being rated by employees at a historical low and people are calling in sick. The assumption is that people are being particularly cautious due to the pandemic, but by surveying the organisation anonymously online, the data reveals that a new service you’ve introduced is actually making their job harder, not easier. Teams are having to work longer hours to adapt to it. With this information and the 30 relevant employee comments submitted on this topic, you can justify to the board that additional training sessions are required to bring everyone quickly up to speed.

Good business is all about relationships – with teams, clients, suppliers and stakeholders. As with any relationship, they can suddenly break down without open and clear communication. If you suspect there could be issues causing difficulties in your business, obtaining the accurate, true data to quantify it means it can be tackled. Much like a health issue, by not checking it out, you’ll only make things more difficult for yourself further down the line.

Remember, you can only make the much-needed positive changes and continue to improve if you are aware of all the facts. This is empowering. Pretending that an issue in your business is not happening won’t make it go away, if anything it will get worse. By gathering real-time, accurate information from teams you can tackle them in an informed, educated manner before they have a detrimental effect on the business. The alternative is to just not test. And if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s how dangerous that can turn out to be.

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