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Working Capital Insider: Employee Engagement and Communication Through Crisis

 

By • Published May 7, 2020 • 5 minute read

In this Working Capital Insider™ video interview, PrimeRevenue’s Tom Roberts, SVP Global Marketing & Inside Sales, interviews VP Global People and Talent Michelle Kilroy on the importance of maintaining employee engagement and communication during a crisis.

Tom Roberts:

Hi everybody. I’m Tom Roberts. I’m the Global Head of Marketing for PrimeRevenue. The topic we’re going to talk about today is something that just about every organization around the globe is grappling with at this point in time during the pandemic. And that’s how you reinforce company culture, values and collaboration in a work from home environment. I’m joined today by Michelle Kilroy. She’s our Global Head of People and Talent. Welcome, Michelle.

Michelle Kilroy:

Thank you. Glad to be here.

Tom Roberts:

So the first question I have for you is exceptionally easy. What advice do you have for others trying to drive collaboration and values and communication in this environment where we’re all working from home? And what are we seeing that’s really working?

Michelle Kilroy:

I think it’s easy to make sure that we’re communicating, collaborating, and living our values when we’re running into each other in the office every day. And so I think the best advice is really making sure that we’re being very deliberate, very purposeful, very intentional about our communication and collaboration, and making sure that we’re engaging as many people as possible.

Tom Roberts:

Can you give me, let’s say, two examples of what we see is really working for us?

Michelle Kilroy:

Absolutely. I think making sure that we are well prepared to be able to engage virtually, not only with our employees, but our customers as well. So having the right technology in place, working with our internal team. We are a global workforce, so making sure that we have the right virtual technology is incredibly critical. And I think the second thing is around frequency of communication with your employees. We have moved from really focusing on all employee meetings quarterly, and we’ve been doing them for the last several weeks weekly. Improving that communication flow and frequency has really done wonders for our employees.

Tom Roberts:

I think the other observation I’ll make about our global town halls is we’ve gone from longer, more formal meetings to shorter and much more informal and a lot more Q and A, which also has worked. Can you give me a specific example about how your organization, People and Talent, is outfitted to help support employees as it relates specifically to working with customers, which is exceptionally important in this time?

Michelle Kilroy:

Absolutely. I think we all know that making sure our employees are productive and engaged means we have productive and engaged relationships with our customers. So not only the technology we talked about and those resources, but I think right now we’re all having to really exercise different skill sets. So supporting our leaders, supporting our employees from a leadership development perspective, and other skills that they need to develop is really important. And then I think we don’t want to ever forget about the benefits, especially right now – ensuring that we’re reminding our employees how they can take advantage of benefits for themselves and for their families is really, really critical.

Tom Roberts:

Another phenomenon that I know is true for me and I know is true for others on my team and the executive committee and other places that I’ve witnessed is that I can come and sit down in this chair, start at 8:00 in the morning, and be on back-to-back Zoom calls – internally and externally – then look up and it’s 6:00 PM. And that happens day in and day out. The consequence of that is going to be burnout for various folks. So how are you seeing people work on that to avoid those negative consequences?

Michelle Kilroy:

While it may seem counter intuitive to encourage people to take their PTO, their paid time off, I think it’s actually even more critical now, because you’re right. I know for my husband and I, we’ve set up our home offices at the kitchen island. All three of my kids are doing virtual learning, so their home offices are in their bedrooms and it can be really dangerous. You can find yourself working even on the weekend. I finally, this past weekend, had to disconnect the monitor, disconnect the laptops from the kitchen island. Because it’s not healthy to really be looking at all of that when you’re cooking dinner on a Saturday evening. So I put it all up. I put it in the closet and just had to detach. And I think that’s really, really important to encourage our employees to do. But it’s even more important, I think, as leaders to make sure that we’re setting that example for our employees. And taking that time.

Tom Roberts:

Yeah, that’s so true. So Michelle, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me about these topics, and for those of you watching, thank you for your time. If you want to see more content like this and other content that we’re publishing about what we’re seeing across the global economy, across world trade, please follow us on LinkedIn and check our website. Thank you very much for your time, and be safe everyone.