Last week was the second anniversary of the first COVID-19 lockdown in the United States. So, we sat down to reflect on Clickstop’s struggles and successes along the way to who we are now, in 2022.
The Struggle Was Real
Uncertainty. Fear. Confusion.
The anxiety of the last two years infiltrated every person and business across the globe. No one had ever faced something this complex and disruptive before, so how on earth were employees and businesses supposed to decide their next move?
Clickstop was in the same boat. Here are the top three struggles we faced amidst the global pandemic.
1. We had no choice but to slow our pace.
Clickstop is a young, fast-paced company. We were accustomed to moving quickly and decisively toward our goals with our values as our guide, but we quickly were knocked on our heels when COVID-19 arrived.
This had never happened before. It was difficult to quickly commit to a direction when things were changing so rapidly. There seemed to never be a right time or right answer which caused everyone to live in limbo. Picking a strategy required us to rely heavily on ever-changing external entities, policies, and guidelines – all of which moved much slower than we were used to.
2. Understanding what united us
Pre-pandemic there was a buzz the minute you’d enter the building. Collaboration was everywhere. Connectedness was organic and radiating.
COVID-19 changed our proximity to one another.
Our warehouse and manufacturing staff remained on-site and 100+ employees began working remotely. The values were still evident, but the energy was different. A gap had been exposed. We had been united in our shared values – the foundation of our culture – but we had lost sight of what truly united us: our mission.
Focusing on our mission creates unity and purpose regardless of where people work. Without a mission, it’s a gathering of people with shared values and expectations but no common destination or goal.
Returning to pre-COVID-19 Clickstop isn’t an option. The pandemic provided us the opportunity to invest in creating a better version of our culture that improves our focus on our mission and fosters a dynamic workplace.
3. Maintaining a culture of autonomy
The number of unknowns made it hard to pick a direction because the situation locally and globally was constantly in flux. The needs of the organization were ever-changing, as were the needs of our employees.
Our culture empowers employees through autonomy and doesn’t focus on creating unnecessary company-wide policies. We considered and adhered to COVID-19 guidelines and mandates where applicable, while still ensuring we preserved the autonomy of our employees. We had to be extremely cognizant of remaining objective during this time of uncertainty, stress, and high emotions…which takes us to our successes!
Success isn’t about perfection, it’s about progress.
While we were all navigating uncharted waters in odd and trying times, we doubled down on our commitment to being a dynamic workplace. What strategies made us successful?
1. Deciding how we made decisions
How did we make decisions when the pandemic butted heads with our culture?
With a topic as divisive as COVID-19, creating guideposts around our decision-making was critical. We strategically adjusted our approach by keeping two factors at the center of all our decisions: employee safety and business continuity.
While we weren’t immune from making unpopular choices, people had a clear understanding of our priorities and the “why” behind decisions.
Although the changes were difficult, the way our employees adapted was remarkable.
Clickstop isn’t where it is today because of flawless decision-making. It seemed nearly impossible to be flawless amidst the chaos and uncertainty. We succeeded during unprecedented times because engaged employees took ownership, aligned, and took action.
One of our core values is Communicate Openly with Confidence and Respect. Boy, did having this as a centerpiece of who we are come into play!
Having an open, proactive, and transparent dialogue between our teams, managers, and employees promotes ownership and understanding. We do not have flagpoles or traditional hierarchies. We expect team members to speak up and ask questions where clarity is needed. People’s ownership was evident in the openness of communication.
One of our leaders, Tammy Karr, made sure everyone was aware of that open door when communicating to her team: “Don’t assume I know what you need. Don’t assume I can’t provide it.”
Once we understood where to focus our efforts, we were able to quickly create solutions to our challenges. Each solution was rooted in who we are and created values-driven decisions.
3. Values-Driven Culture
The uncertainty of COVID-19 shook us, but not to our core. Our Core Values provided the solid foundation we needed to not only weather the unknown, but to come out of the other side with record growth!
That wasn’t luck. Two things were at play: engagement and understanding.
Because we created and cultivated a values-driven culture prior to COVID-19, we had engaged employees who leaned in and asked how they could help drive our new direction and tackle the challenges we faced. But what allowed them to lean in during all this chaos? Understanding that their company had their back at work and at home.
2022 and Beyond
We took away what most companies took away from the pandemic.
And it confirmed what we already knew and will continue prioritizing.
Our people and their engagement are worth investing in.
It isn’t fluffy or optional.
It’s the difference between a business fading or evolving.
Engaged employees find a way.
They see the opportunities in the challenges.
They find ways to make an impact.
Is your company trying to figure out where to start?
Read about the 3 Keys to Values-Driven Culture and see what steps your company can take to create a solid foundation for engagement.