Episode 6: Pandemic Fatigue, Holidays, and Employee Engagement

CA Short All-In Employee Podcast

Scott and Nelsa discuss the implications of pandemic fatigue on employee engagement and ways your company can make an impact just in time for the holidays. Join us bi-weekly as we analyze key tactics and trends in employee engagement, YOS, and safety programs, while we discuss relevant news topics affecting your workforce. Listen to the episode below or continue reading for a full transcript. 

[00:00:07] Welcome to the C..A Short all-in employee podcast. I'm your host, R. Scott Russell, with Nelsa Weber. And we're so glad that you've joined us today. Let's dive in.


[00:00:27] Well, Nelsa we're here for another exciting episode. Always, except I'm tired. I am too. Imma tell you, I'm dragging so bad today is like, oh, I feel like I have to. I feel like we looked in the mirror together. And that's just how we felt today. I'm havin pandemic fatigue. I think I am just. We are not the only ones, apparently.


[00:00:50] You know, lots of people now are in that sort of phase where, you know, the first the first month of anything is sort of like the panic is high. You know, the purpose of like, what do I need to get? Where do I need to do the preparation? Right. And then you kind of hit that. Okay. This has gone on long enough stage.


[00:01:08] I'm ready to get back to my old normal, but I don't know that we're ever gonna get an old normal back Scott. What do you think?


[00:01:15] I don't know. You know, some of the stuff we're gonna talk about today. One of the topics we're doing today, we're just talking some hot topics and a little bit of holiday. And, you know, there's just you read these stories and one came out just recently about how many small businesses are gonna be gone. Right. And and that's hard, you know, especially getting close to the Holidays. I mean, some data says that eighty thousand small companies known to permanently close from March through July. And that's according to Yelp. So that came out a yelp. And you're like. You know, I just wonder, you know, it's a sad, some of these stories just become so sad.


[00:01:55] Right. And I think they do they just beat up on you little by little as we keep working and we keep doing the best we can.


[00:02:02] And, of course, in our business is, you know, engaging employees and helping create that all in experience. And then all an employee.


[00:02:09] And you just I'm a newshound, so I'm always soaking up news is something I do. But it does get to you sometimes. We just you just see, you know, you try to find the positives. In the story. And and where are those positives? Where are those positives?


[00:02:24] And then you keep seeing things get closed and things get canceled. Things get this.


[00:02:28] And, you know, I'm I'm I'll be fifty in four months. And I'm not too thrilled about the way things are going.


[00:02:34] About to ruin my party. I think one of the things too, is just like old mills and factories, you know, we've talked about before trying to recoup those things and whatever. But when they were just empty and closed, like those are signs of loss in a community. And I was talking to someone the other day and a young person, as a matter of fact. And our comment was just every time you turn around, you see the mask, you see the sanitizers, you see the news still talking about it. It's like it's the story that doesn't end. You know, it is sad to think like when 9/11 happened. I can distinctly remember that. And, you know, it went on for an extended period of time because of the investigations, because of, you know, the severe loss. You know, just the mind numbing thought this really happened. And I think COVID, we thought, would be one of those events where, you know, a couple of months in maybe a year, we'll be turning the corner. Things will have slacked off. We'll figure out what's going on. And it looks like it's the story that doesn't have an ending.


[00:03:39] So I think I'm an eternal optimist, Scott. And I just think, you know, a part of what our company does is something that a lot of companies should do.


[00:03:50] You know, keep bolstering your people who are there. You know, even when you have to give bad news, find a rainbow somewhere in there. But I know that gets difficult for people after a while. And that's why mental health, having those wellness programs, having that those incentives for employees who are doing, you know, good things for themselves to stay healthy and stay productive, I think is really important that programs in H.R. are looking at that at this crucial time because people are just, people are hurting.


[00:04:20] Yeah. I wonder when these days I'd like to have we need to get somebody from Zappos on the show because I got to do the tour years ago. And one of the things I always found interesting there was that they had life coaches on staff. All right. And in the building. And I thought, well, they might. That's really pretty cool that you're not just helping.


[00:04:40] You know, people have their jobs, that you're trying to help their careers, but you're truly making an effort to help them navigate life. And, you know, it is not waiting for an awful incident to happen. Yes. And it is, like you said, I mean, it's it's crazy.


[00:04:53] So, you know, being a musician, I love music. And of course, today, one of the big music news is my very favorite. Stevie Nicks even put out a big statement today and said, just wear a mask, because if I go on a ventilator, I'll never sing again.


[00:05:07] And it makes it real for a guy like me. I'm like, oh, right. I'll never get to hear Fleetwood Mac. Are you kidding me? So I.


[00:05:14] But just every day you see, you know, and then you see the difficulty with, I think people that don't understand what a pandemic is like, you know, or they think it doesn't affect this isn't it, affecting me. So why must I do all these things? And then I think the best analogy I heard recently was somebody said, hey, if you're in a restaurant and, you know, smoking has gone, by the way, that's not allowed in most restaurants, they said, would you allow somebody to sit next to you and blow smoke in your face?


[00:05:42] Well, no. No, we don't do that. So it's the exact same explorer virus. Right. I mean, you're wearing a mask as if you are a smoker.


[00:05:51] That's just the way you got to look at it. Right. It's not to help yourself. It's for other people. Exactly. And and it's true. We've seen this thing, you know, hit people we know that had no real effect and they were fine by it. And then I got my haircut and the girl that cuts my hair. Gave me the story of two folks not far from our office that were 38 and 52 and died within weeks. Right. With no. So you can't predict and predict. You can't predict the best thing you can do. Not don't live in fear. Hear, hear. But I will also not live in ignorance either. Yeah. That's a fine balance between the two.


[00:06:28] And I think, again, it's like you say, you know, I just I live by the golden rule. If I don't want to get smoke blown in my face that I'm not going to blow smoke in other people's faces. But I think, you know, you've got Corona in my face. Righyou know, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The golden rule just live like you want to be treated. With other people. But, you know, sometimes it's a hard concept, still feel some of the simplest things are the hardest.


[00:06:54] And I agree. I agree. And, you know, we're not we're not attempting to be political at all home either.


[00:06:59] Let our doom and gloom today. I think it is because they're tired and they make up. Yeah, I think it's because we're too tired.


[00:07:06] But it does, you know. And like I said, I'd try to find the positives.


[00:07:10] Now what what can you find as a positive? I will tell you for me, I've gotten a little closer to nature during this time. Same here. I've been outside now.


[00:07:20] Not as I'll have to go kayak and of course. Right. Not as much as I'd like to because it's just hot here in the south. And so it's been hot. It is still on the limit. It's been humid all summer. So.


[00:07:31] But I've been doing more things outside in a more narrow group of people, obviously. Of course. But, you know, I've my parents don't leave the house like they don't. They've barely seen people and, you know. But they're in that age group and they've tightened themselves off. And I'm glad that they're doing that. But but, you know, I think organizations, you know, the A you can't ignore it. that's the worst thing you can do. Exactly. And don't fight it. Just go along with what you need to go along with and make it the best for your employees is how I kind of see it.


[00:08:03] Well, you know, the great Segway for an article I read Jacob Morgan and Linkedin. His own research for a book he's writing called The Future Leader. And he interviewed over 150 of the top CEOs and he said there are four crucial mindsets that kept popping up over and over and over with this sort of best leadership, you know, thinking about how we're looking for golden spots. So he said, you know, you've got to be a global citizen. You can't just think locally. Can't just think about what's good for your organization. You've got to start thinking in terms of, you know, there's so much more diversity we can work from anywhere in the world. You know, we're talking about distance employees who are you know, people go on remote, people that are remote here with school and everything. And then he talked about being a servant leader where, you know, the leader isn't just thinking about this is what matters to me. It's about all levels of the organization, you being the one that lifts everybody up as the leader. And I think as a part of that communication and making sure that people know, you know, your rationale for your decision making in this kind of transparency is real transparency, I think builds hard decisions. You know, being able to talk about those things with your people, get their input, even if you if you still have to make a different decision than what your people want. At least giving people a voice in that is always so important. And I think people are looking for that level of engagement right now during the pandemic because they are having to be remote or they are having to, you know, distance themselves from work. So making them still feel connected to decision making is one of those. I think it's a pivot. It's not the way business has always been, has always operated. But it's a pivot that I think if people are going to make it through this storm, that's got to happen.


[00:09:49] And that's really that's you know, that's really an engaging moment, right? When you are creating communication between the levels, the levels and the groups and letting people there. Because you're right. I think being transparent with the most difficult decisions, it builds the strongest trust. Right. Because that that's where people I think leaders have a difficult time showing that side. They want to hide that behind closed doors and and and just try to explain something the way, you know, in in black and white text. But the truth is, the more I think, the more human you can be more real you can be with your people, the more real they'll be with you.


[00:10:30] Exactly. And I think, you know, talk about engagement hotspots. You know, our research shows, you know, a real engage worker is going to increase productivity. And right now, I think there's still pockets of success out there, are still people that, you know, have services that aren't going to stop. You know, the Amazons in the world are not stopping during this time.


[00:10:49] Hospitals are not. I hope they're not. I ordered some coffee.


[00:10:51] I needed to get here now.


[00:10:55] But he goes on to say, though, that Jacob is saying you should be a chef.


[00:11:00] Like, you've got to mix ingredients. You got to mix the blending of, you know, I need to be transparent.


[00:11:05] But I also need to make sure I make good informed decisions or my people need wellness as well as, you know, health and safety, you know, how to manage that, mix in a blend of things.


[00:11:16] And, you know, I find and I don't know if you do. But even we talk about wellness.


[00:11:22] You have to find what you can do, right? Right now, right? So low hanging fruit. You can't there's no gym's open or anything in our state. And so you got to work out on your own. And again, again, I think what happens for us in a pandemic is that we all keep moving forward.


[00:11:41] But fear creeps in and just hangs out with you.


[00:11:45] It's like it's like those old Flintstones cartoons where he's on your shoulder. So, yeah.


[00:11:50] But for us, it's just fear. Yeah. And it's the unknown. It's not knowing how long this is going to go. Not knowing. I mean, we see that there's some vaccines on the rise, right. There's gonna be. But, you know, a lot of us and even me are like, oh, vaccine will be done at the end of the year. Um, but I'll take that shot first thing.


[00:12:07] But then there's people like me who I know I well, I might be nine months for you even get a chance though. Exactly. To my to get it first. Right. It might be all this. Right. So I'm, I'm.


[00:12:16] Yeah. I'm not. I'm good. Stick me with the vaccine.


[00:12:19] I'll try it out, whatever it is.


[00:12:21] And so but you do realize, you know, wow, this is gonna go on. And companies really do have to stake their claim now on how they're going to succeed and what they're going to do. And then the people that are out there, you know, a lot of people have lost their jobs. All these eighty thousand small businesses came with lots of people. Yes.


[00:12:43] And there's still lots of people looking for work and auxillery businesses. You know, like for every small business, there's an accountant there. Yes. You know, an HVAC person. And there's a supplier. Yeah. They're all those people affected.


[00:12:56] You know, like I say, we won't really know how many iconic brands are gone until this is over. Right. And then it'll look odd. Wanted to go out and go to auto shop and like you used to and realize while these guys aren't here anymore. People we've known for most of our lives. Yeah. In some cases. Right. That aren't just are going to go away or change or pivot.


[00:13:17] And again, we're not here to be dim and gloom. Now I know we sell, I guess, but, you know, everybody gets tired or everybody gets beat up and you got to take a minute and you got to kind of work through it.


[00:13:28] And why and this is how I think we get through some of those things.


[00:13:31] Well, I tell you what, let's take a short break and then we'll get back to some more ways to survive the pandemic fatigue.


[00:13:39] Scott, we're gonna we're gonna pick it up. And we're back. So, Scott, we've been talking about pandemic fatigue. But we're going to, it didn't go away during the break.


[00:13:56] But we're talking about also engaging our employees during this time, which is so important. And one of the articles, leadership and management people engaging employees is good, but don't stop there is what it's talking about. And this is by Eric Gartin and Michael Mankins. It talks about Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs.


[00:14:18] And so we use that RPI. Yeah, It's so foundational.


[00:14:22] You use it in education. You know, people can't get to the top of the pyramid, which is self actualize, you know, knowing that you're a full, holistic human being and you've got to start with your basic needs first. You know, people are coming to work. They're not sure what's going on with their kids. They're not sure what's going on with their jobs. You know, it's all that we've talked about, you know, small businesses going under.


[00:14:44] That makes engagement difficult. It does. I mean it is a challenge because of that. When you base it, when you think about Maso, you think, hey, if you can't meet those needs, you can't get that top echelon of engagement and recognition appreciation like it doesn't it doesn't sink in.


[00:14:59] Well, and it's the fear factor. You know, people people are down in their reptilian brains when I'm in a state of fear or I'm in a state of perceived lack or there's trouble up, you know, that fight or flight instinct starts to raise up in people. And so, you know, we've got to look at how do we help keep people safe at work? Because if I'm distracted, then I'm not necessarily following my processes and procedures to do my job the best. So they're talking about as leaders just being able to recognize, like you want people to stay productive in a hard time that they've never been through before. And I think even as leaders, these are questions that people are having to ask and answer that they've never faced before. Right. Even leaders must have pandemic fatigue. I would think, because you're having daily come up with like you're not just setting a goal for five years or a year out, like every day you're having to reanalyze and recalibrate and figure things out.


[00:15:53] Like, I don't know how you right now even plan five years out. Right. Because you even know what you know, two months is gonna look like a month from now. Right. Look like things have changed so quick. Are you are you a fight girl or a flight girl?


[00:16:06] I used to be a flight girl, which is very funny. Prior to my 40s, I used to be one of those people who I would just leave, you know, I'm out. If the situation got too hot to handle.


[00:16:16] And so now I'm more of a fight girl, kind of warped like, no, this is not going down like this.


[00:16:30] I won't start one. But but you'll finish it. Don't try me. That's great.


[00:16:38] But you know, so many people are right there, like, you know, you've got to make sure people are good on their jobs. We don't want disgruntled employees, people, you know, who really haven't. And then there were mental health problems to begin with. And people were already in a state of depression. they've lost loved ones or, you know. Right. We now know one so many people who have been affected by COVID. But then there are other things that are going on with people before COVID ever.


[00:17:01] You know, I want to say I wonder about and maybe this is a topic for a future episode and maybe we'll get a good HR guests for this would be, you know, has has this pandemic shifted H.R. issues like ah, like I will say it in our own organization, I believe we've seen less of what I would call sort of the pettiness of issues raised.


[00:17:25] That's just natural in any business. You know, everybody has them, ya'll got em too. But but you know that there's little things that come out on a normal day. Right. Sometimes somebody may not like what somebody is wearing.


[00:17:41] Somebody may say you looked at me wrong.


[00:17:45] I don't like how you looked at me, blah blah blah. And I wondered during this time, is the fear of the greater overcome sort of the smaller tendencies to nit pick and have those moments, you know, crises that seem to draw people together.


[00:17:58] Sometimes we're confident, I guess, for that. Exactly.


[00:18:03] If you're out there and you want to be a guest to talk about it, why don't you reach out to us and we'd love to hear from you.


[00:18:08] I'd like to know. That's something I'd like to know. Right. Is that. It's just. Has it changed that or or are you still dealing with it? Are you still dealing with the petty on top of the greater?


[00:18:19] And has it gotten, you know, sometimes in a crisis, It makes it people used to say a crisis will reveal who you are. You will become more of what you are. So, you know, are people. Is it intensifying to a greater degree because people are already on edge? And if you are already not a great employee, that really making you even worse. Right. You know, I think those those statistics are so imporatnt as you make decisions, though. And why? More than ever. Do not back off your engagement budget because, you know, right now your people need encouragement. And you know.


[00:18:57] Yeah, I agree. I mean, work and feel like there's some place I can go. I mean, to me, this is where we're the most important, where what we do and what our partners do as i've mentioned in these organizations. It is so important right now because people need to feel good. They need to feel supported. They need to feel good. They need to have a direction and true engagement. You know, we talk about that is what we call our podcast.


[00:19:22] Keeping those employees all in right is a job. It is. It is not a natural organic occurrence. Right. It is a focused, intentional strategy.


[00:19:32] And you know, where you where your money is or your treasury is there, your heart is going to be also. So if your company is not budgeting for engagement right now, like, I really think this is a great time as we get rain today. We're gonna talk about holidays in this episode. This is a great time to figure out, like if you haven't done anything all year with this whole COVID situation. The holidays is definitely. That's going to be a definite place to put your put some money down and start budgeting for that right now because it's gonna be time to soon start looking at what do you want to do to say thank you to your employees who've had a really, really 20-20 has been a really rough, rough year for people.


[00:20:12] So, you know, and we just said something. I think maybe our next episode, let's get together and talk about budgeting. Sounds like let's talk about program budgeting. You know, there are some great best practices there. And I get asked that a lot. And it really depends on your organization. But there are some best practices for budgeting and now's a great time to talk about it. So we'll do that in our next one if you want. Perfect. I'll pull out some RPI data.


[00:20:35] Well, let's talk data before we get into that fourth quarter for people. I mean, this is really the time to start looking at it and feel like, you know, in this home stretch. We're gonna close this year out. We're going to probably all be on roller skates and, you know, sliding in script, you know, kicking and screaming. But it's a good time to really let our employees know you matter. I agree. Awesome.


[00:21:00] Well, let's just take a break and we'll come right back with hoidays, grab another drink, a coffee, I know pandemic fatigue.


[00:21:13] Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way.


[00:21:18] I guess that gets me in the mood.


[00:21:21] We're going to talk holiday in just a little bit. Thank you. I needed that on this 95 degree day in the hope that we're going to have. So.


[00:21:30] And you're probably all thinking, why on earth are these fools talking holiday? But the truth is, if you're going to do a holiday program at your company, really now is when you think about it. I will not lie to you guys. We already have our holiday gift for our employees. It is already in the storage room right over here. We knocked it out because you have to do it in advance. Yes. And I'm really going to tell you this, especially this year, because supply and demand. Supply and demand. Right. So there are some suppliers out there that are not able to fulfill. And so when we're talking that, we're really talking particular product. So if you have something very particular but you know, our company originally was built on the backbone of holiday business zigzag course. That was 1937. And I don't think you're right that we were not around. And that's when Clyde started everything. And it just morphed right over time. Now, holiday business has definitely changed. It is not as prevalent today as it once was. But I am still a big fan and I am fond of sharing at the holiday time whether it is a you know, it doesn't have to be a particular secular holiday. Exactly. Experience. It could be. We're we're gifting you for all the work you've done this year, celebrate his end of the year celebration, whatever you want to call it. That's up to you.


[00:22:54] But in our life, it's a holiday program. Right. So now is really the time you want to start to think about what you're going to do. Yes, because if there are particular things, you might have a little problem getting what you need. You know, this year. But of course, our programs, we have a few great programs. I love our programs. And so you can work with any of our team here and you can do the catalog model, which, you know, I grew up with.


[00:23:19] Can I just tell you my. Oh, no. I grew up with Stiegel I grew up with Montgomery Ward. I grew up with Sears. So, you know, I still like that physical, give me this and let me look at it and take something right now. I know. Ninety five percent of you are probably saying this is a podcast. Why on earth would you tell me to look at it?


[00:23:39] So there's digital versions, too, that can now get you can get a packet with a code and then you can go in and choose something. Or maybe you just want to do like a great logo item for your input. We do a great logo item every year. That's one of the things we do, gym bags. Yeah, we do some, last year's gym bag was good. It was really, love that gym bag. That is my official gym bag now.


[00:24:02] So you know, but but now is really the time you want to start to think about it. You want to work with the team and start to kind of figure out what are you going to do for your employees this year? And I'm going to tell you what, if you're an organization that's done holiday. Don't don't skip this year.


[00:24:16] Yeah. This is not the year to skip. This is the year to actually make it mean even more.


[00:24:21] Yeah. You don't let people panic and feeling like, OK, what happened?


[00:24:24] Things are off now and they're they're going to need it more than ever. Right. That support. Whatever it is that you did. Right. We'd love to work with you, obviously. And if you're our client, we'd love to work with you. But if you're an organization out there that's that gives food or that gives you something else, you know, keep that up if you can. Please don't cut that, because I think it is to be even more important because we're not there yet and parents are really going to try to figure out what to do. Yeah. Now, one of the great things I'll say this to an end user version of our programs is that I tell people all the time, you know, use the program for holiday gifts for your kid. You know, if there's if there's not something particular that you're after today and an engagement or recognition program and you're building up points. Use those at the holiday. Yeah. You know, use them, help keep money in your pocket. Yes. Use your program for those types of things. Right. And and somebody might say, well, wait, that's not recognizing in point. Yes, it is. Because it's providing the employee with opportunity. Yes. And decision making. That's theirs. Let them do. Right. And a positive to say. Yeah. Positive decision. So so I think, you know, having a program is very important because there are ways to utilize that. And then. But if you don't have one and you're interested in one, we'd be happy to work with you. Call soon and get that stuff moving.


[00:25:45] And then we can talk about too, you know, moving forward like we make it through the holidays. You know, let's help get you a game plan for next year because I think 2021, we're all praying it's going to be a more uplifting year in terms of how things go. But, you know, starting the year off right. With your employees after they make it through the holidays and, you know, whatever happens, happens, you know. How do you keep them on track? Recover from, you know, maybe some of the things that have gone on in 2020.


[00:26:16] Yeah, I tried to get us an extra day off. Yeah, no good.


[00:26:20] No. That was shot down. I think I got half a sentence out there. That was shot down. So I couldn't. I didn't win that battle. I got you know, Jeff was pretty good about everything else, though. Clear. Communications.


[00:26:32] So, you know, for our employees, we do points and we do a logo gift and we eat. Now i'll be honest with you, I have to start looking at that this year.


[00:26:42] How are we going to pull off Thanksgiving? How we're going to pull out of holiday? It can't be the normal. You know, this will be the first time, I think probably in 20 something years that our holiday will look different. Yeah. You know, because I know the stories from before. Exactly.


[00:26:55] And, you know, how do you keep your employees feeling that same spirit of camaraderie and relationship and unity when, you know, you got your gloves and face mask on? You know, we sit and six feet apart, we need to make sure. It's hard to have a potluck in the COVID era.


[00:27:11] Yeah. You know, I can tell you that probably be boxed. I would think, it's gonna be different.


[00:27:16] So I know you're all thinking, okay, y'all can stop talking holiday now. I can tell you it's cranberries sauce already, it's 90 percent humidity. It's 90 degrees outside. And so we won't do it again for a while, but we got to get it out because it is it is this time it's time to let you guys know.


[00:27:32] And so we just had to let you know. But it's been a good day today.


[00:27:36] I know what I feel like im perking up and I hope you guys are too out there and hopefully we'll hear from some of you. Please feel free if you've got a topic or anything. Yeah. Topic ideas, anything I want to share in this. Let us know. And we love guests. I know that's our favorite thing because we don't have do all the talking, but we can handle it if we do.


[00:27:56] Right, Scott. So I guess until next time, hopefully people will get out there, get in to cashort.com on the web.


[00:28:07] If you're interested in hearing more about our holidays and our program and let us help you make sure you keep those employees engaged and all in, all in, till next time.


[00:28:19] But thank you for joining us on the C.A. Short all-employee podcast.


[00:28:30] Scott and I will see you next time.


[00:28:38] And we're back, Scott. So it's time for hot topics. Always a good time. Yes.


[00:28:44] You know, we talked a lot about pandemic in felling sort of ehhh. We keep talking about the pandemic, right? It hasn't ended yet. But let me know when it's over.


[00:28:54] Bright spot. You know, we're coming to you with some positive energy today during the crisis. We're seeing that people are volunteering more. Ashley Peterson's got a little editorial LinkedIn news for those people who follow on. It's talking about how volunteering has surged across the country. So this is data from LinkedIn's economic graph team. But U.S. members have been adding more than 110 volunteer activities to their profiles each month. Nearly two and a half times the rate in 2017. Oh, wow. So what are your thoughts about what we're seeing in this trend?


[00:29:30] Well, the I mean, I think I think people one of the positives probably that's coming out of the pandemic is that people are looking at how to support their fellow man in other ways. Right. We're all stuck. You know, a lot of people I said I in fact, I'll give an example. I talked to my friend today. She's an American Idol alum, and she and her mom are still on like a very strict lockdown. They don't let anyone in their home. They don't go into anybody's house because her mother is older and is at high risk. And I I think all of that is is driving our need for companionship and our need to feel connections and our need to help those who are not in the shape.


[00:30:18] We're still working. I mean, I've always been working. Right. But we know that there are people that aren't.


[00:30:23] And I do feel that I feel like there's a higher connection. Right, to volunteerism, to community service. Community support. Right. I think sometimes we wonder, like, I know some people do habitat home, you know. Are those still happening during this? Are they still? I would hope so, because people still need places to live. Right. But we're looking at something very interesting. And I just found this this past week.


[00:30:50] Shout out to Carry A. At first bank out in Colorado. She gave us a little insight to this organization. It's called Project Helping. OK. And you can visit them at ProjectHelping.org. And they have this really awesome product we're actually talking about. We might actually end up carrying it here at CAS. But they're called kind kits. And I really love this concept. So they this organization puts together these kits that you can order and you get them for you to go to your home. And then you just follow the steps that the kit tells you to do.


[00:31:24] And the kits are like, there's one for a teacher appreciation. There is one for homeless. There's one for the aging population. There's one for a first responder.


[00:31:37] Right. And it has a note card. It has some little trinket things for them. It has. And you go through this process, it's really kind of cool. And then you can either take that and donate it yourself so you can literally do some of these and take them to the fire department. Right. Or you send them back and they donate them in a big stock to an organization that that is align.


[00:32:01] That's a fabulous. I really like it. And it's got this little tag in it so that you can put in a code and kind of see who did your box and what their message to you is directly. And it has the handwritten note in it as well. Exactly. You can add to it as well. So if you want to put money in it you could, if you wanted to put gift cards in it or something, you could, or say, oh, my God. Yeah. It has some really cute things. So Carrie A. kind of turned us on to that. And we started looking at it and I was really impressed. They have about fifteen or seventeen different kits in them. And they're simple. They're not complicated. Right. So then anybody could easily follow us.


[00:32:39] And so I immediately saw it and thought, wow, I would love to add this as a redemption item because, yeah, it is. I do feel stronger as we're going into you know, we're in third quarter was headed toward the board. Exactly. Right around.


[00:32:59] But this year I took more thought that I'm like, wow.


[00:33:03] I feel like there's so many in need. I I'm stressing myself even to think about I don't feel comfortable going out and doing big things for my friends and family like I normally would with so many suffering around us.


[00:33:18] Yeah, I, I feel like I'd rather I almost feel like I want to do something more volunteerism like and maybe get a group of friends and go hey can we go serve food. Can we go. Let's do something together. Right. Remember this has been a tough year.


[00:33:32] It has. So what can you do to give back?


[00:33:36] You have to remember this year for that reason. Exactly, and bring some light to somebody else. Five years from now. Oh, my gosh. Remember that pandemic, wouldn't it? Right to say, oh my gosh, you remember that Thanksgiving that we served food, blah, blah, blah?


[00:33:49] Or we helped build a house? Something that one moment that we took that we don't do normally, right.


[00:33:57] I think that is a beautiful spot. You know, as much as the energy for people all across, like, you know, remote workers, people still going into jobs. The first responders, medical staff, teachers trying to do remote learning. You know, all the things that we see that have not been our norm. I won't say have all been wrong. But, you know, there've been some real places of suffering and and loss for people this year. But to me, this this is a real sign that people still have hearts of compassion. They're still trying to. Like you said, be good to our fellow humans. And we want to I think most people want to do good and to be able to have an opportunity. Sometimes you can always think of what you know, people sometimes need a temple this is a good idea. What can I do right now? I think about it.


[00:34:45] But but I do I think that there's I think people want to feel like they're giving this year. Yes. And especially your employees to right, so if you're in an organization and you're I know most support some type of charity, some type of volunteer effort.


[00:35:02] But I think what we're even talking about this year is not just giving money. Right. Is about really putting yourself in the shoes and helping people like doing time and activity, time and talent. Time and talent. So I definitely I definitely understand that need, and why we're kind of doing that this year. So I like to see that.


[00:35:23] So two and a half, listen projecthelping.org, reach out. If your organization is interested, that sounds like a great idea and I hope we'll be able to activate here as well.


[00:35:34] And if you're my friends and you don't get no big gifts this year, I'm sorry, because I've got to do something.


[00:35:42] It's 2020. Some of them might be listening. Check it out. Oh, I'm not getting my gifts, Scott.


[00:35:50] But time together is a gift.


[00:35:53] Remember that. Now on the downtrend. Still is. I know. But I think just talking about the volunteerism, this is another story that, you know, kind of leads to.


[00:36:03] How do we make a difference when United Airlines is planning to cut 16000 jobs? American Airlines is planning to cut 19000 jobs.


[00:36:15] This story really does kind of take us out of our our happy place. But the question is, is sitting right there for us in the engagement industry.


[00:36:26] How do you keep employees who are still working all in when they get this kind of news from their company? And I know these airlines are not the only ones. There are other other companies that are looking at downsizing and cut backs as those numbers are huge.


[00:36:41] I don't know that we've seen those numbers in a long, long time. Yeah. Or with most of these other industries. I know we're losing some retail. I mean, my heart is going to break for the places that will never get to visit again because they're going to go out.


[00:36:53] But you think about, you know, our company, we do a lot of travel and I do I do a lot of travel on a normal year and probably 40 percent. And so I'm with an airline all the time. And I just I can't imagine the thought of laying off, you know, 20, nearly 20000 people.


[00:37:11] And the logistics of that, like, you know, we're talking about unemployment benefits and, you know, whether things get reauthorized, you know, and the uncertainty, just like you said, you're going into fourth quarter. People are going into the end of the year with the thought of no job.


[00:37:27] You know, I know. I think it was I think they got they did get a government bailout. But I think the restriction was they couldn't lay anyone off until October. Right. And now. So they're planning that. Right. Unless something happens, that that's what's going to happen. And, you know, those are specialized skills, right? I mean, I don't know if you know anybody that works in the airline industry, but I've known a few. And I mean, you have to work to get that job. It's not an easy job. Right. And it's very security. You got to go through a process every day, but you have to go through processes to get that.


[00:37:59] And so to think that, you know, they're going to lay off that many people and that's not somewhere you're gonna just go because it's the industry. So it's not like I work at this restaurant or bar or I can go to the next airline because they're all you know, they're all looking at significant loss?


[00:38:16] What if you're an airline pilot, what do you do? Right.


[00:38:18] I mean, but I will say, you know, we've seen a lot of stories about entrepreneurs coming out of the, you know, rum factories and whiskey folks turning their distilleries into hand sanitizers. You know, what's the saying? Necessity breeds invention. You know, this is a time where people are learning to pivot. Companies are pivoting, people are pivoting, and that seems to be the the hot buzz word.


[00:38:47] But how do you recreate yourself in this time? And, you know, we've talked about it here, like, how do you have your employee start looking at what are my skills? What are the things that I know how to do? And what are those skills transferring to whether I want to move up in my company or whether I want to move out into my own work or, you know, whatever the case may be. But I think this is a story that really brings to mind, like, you can't get complacent in your skills, like you can't allow yourself to feel like, I don't know, the baby boomers used to work my parents work. You're probably yours for 30 years in the same place and never changed jobs outside of the company. But nowadays, especially, in this pandemic. It's like people have to learn how to be adaptable and flexible and the skill that I have in this sector. How do I market it to a different area or how do I even start, you know, make my own startup?


[00:39:40] What are the things that I can do that will help me? And since we're talking airline, let me ask you this question. When when will you feel comfortable to fly again? Oh, that's that's a good question. You know, I'm of this opinion and I probably am a little bit crazy, but I sometimes think now is the time because everybody's on red alert. It was almost like 9/11, like. Now is where everybody's heightened awareness about COVID and about, you know, being extra careful with your sanitation of your hands and not touching your face and all that. So sometimes I think the present moment is really the time, because right now everybody is thinking about it. Everybody is doing something about it. Everybody is wearing a mask. And when people start to get comfortable again and take less precautions, thats when we start finding ourselves back in a bind with the numbers or whatever. But now would be to me, like a great time to do it because.


[00:40:46] Yeah, well, you know, we're clean and it's sanitizing and whatever. Right, now you're direct leader has Christopher has who will have as a guest on here in one day too. He has flown back and forth from Texas to Charlotte. Right. For all through this. Right. Pretty much. Right. He's been safe. He has given he told us about when there was nobody in the airport. And now he says, of course, you know, they're they're back up, but obviously not normal. Right. And I saw a quote in this story that we're talking about that, you know, some people are like, you could not pay me to fly. Right? Right. And I'm I'm indifferent. You know, I'm sitting in the middle of this. The last flight I took was to Mexico, and it was right before the pandemic.


[00:41:28] And every time I look at some of the great specials, I'm looking at them. Right. I'm getting an email from my friends at Southwest. They got some great flights. I've seen some things. And I. I almost hit that button. And then I stop and I go.


[00:41:41] I just I don't know that even I'm ready to be in the airport with a big crowd of people. A lot of people. Right. And so, you know, like even for me. So I am taking next week off.


[00:41:53] I don't know when you're gonna listen to this show, whatever it is. Pretend it's the next week.


[00:41:57] I am going to take the next week off. It's the first week I've really taken this year. And, you know, we.


[00:42:03] We had to change everything that we initially we were on a cruise right. To the Bahamas. And that's not going to happen. So that's pushed off to next year. And I'm really crossing my fingers that that's going to happen next year. Right. We've got great friends in the cruise industry. We know they're really struggling as well.


[00:42:20] But we ended up changing our whole plan to basically stay in for a few days. And then we're gonna rent a cabin for a few days and just, you know, still be by ourselves.


[00:42:30] Fly, isolate or whatever. No flights. I mean, this is probably the first year you're driving or flying. Driving, OK? Yes.


[00:42:38] So we decided to dry, not do any of the flying, not do any big events, not do anything like that. And I mean, it does wear on you. We talk about it. Yeah. You get that. You get that kind of beat you up over time, cause you're just. We're such people. Yeah.


[00:42:53] We love people. And we went, well, I love people until they get on my nerves.


[00:42:59] We we we crave it. And we're having to get most of it from the people we're around the right now. Right.


[00:43:07] Exact work environment then. They're tired. They don't always have the energy to give. They probably a boost up. Right.


[00:43:14] I'm not tired of you Scott. Oh, I. I mean, I'm not living with you and I don't like going on vacation with you.


[00:43:20] So, you know, I think that's an issue you supposed to go kayaking with me and you still haven't done that. Okay. I'm ready. I'm ready. I'm ready. You know, I saved a life last week. I could save yours. Look at volunteerism. I did my job.


[00:43:35] Really?


[00:43:36] I was on the river and it was just me and these two guys and all of a sudden I heard somebody holler for help and he had flipped and his friend couldn't get to him fast enough. And so they yelled at me to see if I could. And I, I busted over and helped get the guy out of the water and they went back, got his boat.


[00:43:54] I mean, you would you would have thought I was an Olympic kayaker all of a sudden.


[00:44:00] And you would've thought it. I was like, I got some skill. You love superheroes. Well, that was my day?


[00:44:05] Yeah, I was just having my calm Sunday morning on the water. Yeah, well, I haven't done the river yet. You know, I've only done a lake, which, by the way, if you're looking for fun things to do. This is a total PSA off the script. You know, find a lake somewhere. I mean, you can get out there, mask free in your own kayak, several places that rent them for really cheap in case you don't have one. Round here, it's 20 bucks for 90 minutes. Well, I was gonna say five bucks an hour and and one of the lakes nearby and guests and county. So it's just like, oh, my gosh, this is like I'm getting nature, I'm getting my vitamin D, I feel alive.


[00:44:41] I can breathe well, but I haven't been on the river. So I'm hopeful that, you know, when I go. Yeah.


[00:44:47] And so I went this past Sunday and no doubt I didn't go to the middle of the day. That's the mistake. And then because it gets busy. Yeah. Well, they do when it's busy. You're wobbling the whole time. Exact waves. I like going early in the morning. Right. And then what I did get myself is I got myself a little JBL speaker with my points. Right. With a Caribbean or on it and it clip's to the Kayak, so Celine Dion and I had a very nice morning. I bet that was lovely, kind of hang out on the water, sang a little to myself. And watched all the people it was very pleasant. And I agree. I agree. I mean, if you can't volunteer, get out, get outside. You just get out. I got my bike set up. I'm ready to do some bike ride. And I need to I'm getting that. I think I did get the COVID 19 pound thing, so I need to drop a few here. So, I need to work out a little bit.


[00:45:38] Well, those are some good ideas. Now, here's another thought for you. Another topic. It's time to get uncomfortable, which is great that we're talking about kayaking and doing something different as you're going through the pandemic. But this is a Kappy chain. I hope I say it right. Yeomen's, editor at Lincoln News. OK.


[00:45:56] Our friends at Lincoln alive also. Yeah. Yeah. Lots.


[00:46:03] But anyway, they're talking about are you being comfortable and content at work. And if so, it could hinder you to move to the next level because the brain just kind of stalls and wants to stay comfortable. And it doesn't always help you to stretch and grow. So this futurist, Merilee Kern, claims that the nature of business, which is constantly evolving, requires leaders who can step outside of their comfort zone and embrace the unnervingly unfamiliar. And then one UC Berkeley study found that some amount of acute stress when Short-Lived primes the brain for improved performance.


[00:46:41] So what do you think about that? I think the words unnervingly unfamiliar are very interesting. Right. As a writer, that's not.


[00:46:49] I love the way that flows.


[00:46:51] I wouldn't have thought of it. And I really like it. And this pandemic has a lot of whole heartedly agree. I think while I always feel personally, I feel very strong, very confident in the familiar. I do know that it's the unfamiliar that fuels my growth. Yes. Right. And so I think as for the employee experience, you have to think of that as well, to have a highly engaged employee who is all in. They're all in today, right? But how do you keep them all in overtime? You do sort of have to push them into the unfamiliar, allow them to take risks and chances to grow. Otherwise, you don't grow. You might become content and possibly stale. You say that in a spot right now. Now, don't get us wrong. We have great employees here some who have done a job for 20 years. But but I also know that there's times they take on projects and initiatives or we even ask them to get involved in something. Say I. I'd really love to have you involved in this project. Would you? And it does stretch that their abilities. Right. Do you do you think that way, too?


[00:48:03] How does it work for you?


[00:48:04] For me, as you know, my background being in education, you know, the brain needs those new experiences to fire out. You know, I'm a get a little technical here, but to create synapses and new connections. But if you're your pathways once they're created.


[00:48:22] If you're doing the same thing over and over and over, what you're doing is you're further cementing that pathway that already exists. And so the brain typically wants to do the easiest thing. So, you know, when you're doing something new, you're in a position where you're stretching your skill set. You've taken on new responsibilities. Well, the brain tries to convince you. Oh, come on. Come away from there. Danger, danger, danger. But there's not really danger in it. You know, there's not really a lion in there trying to eat you up. Right. But the brain, the way it's wired, wants you to stay in a comfort zone. It feels safe. But if you don't put yourself in those new situations, you aren't going to grow. You aren't going to build new neural pathways. You're not going to get just your. Those new opportunities to see what you are able to do beyond where you are currently.


[00:49:11] And again, we're talking about all this pivoting and new creation with the world that we currently live in.


[00:49:18] If you're not somebody who is willing to stretch your mind and get uncomfortable and we're not talking about long term, you know, it takes about 21 to 28 days to develop a new habit, research says. And so if people are willing to just give it a month of doing something new, you might be surprised at what you find. And, you know, it's talking about engaging your employees and bringing it back to what we do. Leaders who are willing to just give a new thing a month before you before you scrap a project, before you scrap an idea.


[00:49:50] Think about it for about a month, given it a real opportunity to to thrive and grow and work the kinks out. And usually most things buy after 30 days. You know, if, you know, we've worked it out. We've worked through it. We've gotten it to go or we've got to go back to the drawing board.


[00:50:05] But a lot of times people will start a new initiative and not give it time and not give their employees time to really work through the kinks and to get comfortable and to create a comfort zone. They want to stay where we've always been. But we know now like that could really shut your business down if you're not willing to take certain risk. Calculated, of course, educated.


[00:50:26] Right. Risk and allow your people to experience growth. Because if the bottom isn't growing, the top's not going to grow either. I truly believe that. So well said. Anyway. Oh, thank you.


[00:50:39] So these are hot topics. Well, guess what? We're gonna come back with a very interesting topic. Okay. Yes. We're gonna talk about ideas and habits that we're going to leave behind after this pandemic.


[00:50:50] Perfect Segway.


R Scott Russell, CRP, CEP

About the Author
R Scott Russell, CRP, CEP

R Scott Russell is a video host, public speaker, and a sought-after thought leader in the world of employee engagement and recognition. At C.A. Short Company, he is responsible for producing engaging content, helping clients maximize the effectiveness of their programs, and providing ongoing training and education.

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