Creating a safe, healthy and productive business environment for employees and customers post-COVID takes mutual trust and responsibility.
While our states begin to set their respective “Return to Work” schedules, it is up to us as employers to design policies to optimize the health and safety of our own employees and customers. When it comes to COVID-19, the old adage “Ready or Not” just won’t suffice; preparation and readiness are key.
Specific mandates will vary from state to state, but there are common-sense steps to take, no matter where we work. We continue to follow our home state of Ohio’s guidelines for Stay at Home and Return to Work policies, and tweak them if needed to comply with the other states where we operate.
Establishing Guiding Principles to Set Business Priorities
Millcraft was designated as an “essential critical infrastructure business” from the very start, so we began preparing early for returning our teams to safe workplaces when the time was right. Even before Stay at Home orders launched, our first step was to establish our COVID-19 Guiding Principles, putting the health and safety of our employees and families first. We have used it to steer our business priorities ever since.
Millcraft’s Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President Greg Lovensheimer explains the importance of internal communication in times of crisis. “From Day One, we have striven to be as transparent and communicative as possible with every employee in our organization. We’ve introduced company-wide, “daily update” calls led by our Executive Leadership team. We recap the previous day’s business activity, hear from representatives of each division, and open the floor to Q&A. We’re honest about what we know, as well as what we don’t. But we try to set goals that we can all work toward, always starting with each other’s continued health and safety.”
A Team Approach to Process Improvement
Lovensheimer adds, “Change is never easy for any of us, especially during times of stress. When implementing new policies, it’s important to gain buy-in from those who will be most affected. Usually the people performing the specific jobs are the ones who understand the problem areas. So why not ask for their input from the beginning and get their suggestions for improvement? Then, once everyone agrees with the final plan, be sure to ask for their help to put it into practice. And be sure to hold them accountable for its success.”
Recently, Millcraft surveyed all employees about the prospect of returning to work, including their biggest concerns and suggestions for getting ready. By encouraging everyone’s participation, we gained great insight and constructive feedback on what our “new normal” might look when we welcome them back in the weeks to come.