Management and Leadership in Nonprofits


The Employee Experience: A new language in times of uncertainty

Apr 02, 2020
By: Julia A. Johnson

When I first began working on this blog, we weren’t all immersed in learning a new language: coronavirus, social distancing, sheltering in place and all the other new words and phrases we are learning and interpreting hour by hour and day by day as it is all moving and changing so quickly. None of this was on my radar, and today it reflects what is top of mind for me and what our clients are sharing.

The employee experience is probably more important today than it was yesterday, and it will be more important tomorrow than it is today. The employee experience today demonstrates our values, our culture, our ability to come together as an organization and as communities to overcome and to carry on — both today when we are in the thick of it and in the near future when we consider what awaits us on the backside.

Services will not stop for essential businesses, but they will be transacted differently. The team delivering those services will need to think differently and behave differently and will be called on to bring forward new thoughts and ideas. Today, you may be checking “titles at the door.” The president/CEO may be called on to answer the phone. Your manager may be called on to ask screen questions of customers. Your human resources manager may be charged with cleaning an area where a customer was served to protect the health and well-being of employees and the next customers.

Today, the employee experience is of paramount importance. COVID-19 hasn’t changed that — it has changed the temporary lens we look through. We are being challenged to adopt a “new language” despite the unprecedented times and the level of uncertainty in which we are all operating; we are being called on to create the best employee experience possible. We create that by demonstrating understanding of the fear and anxiety others may be facing (employees and customer), creating policies and procedures aligned with new legislation, openly communicating with our employees, demonstrating care and compassion and being mindful of words and language used.  

When I was faced with challenges, my mom would look at me and say, “Julia, you are at a crossroads, and there is more than one path to follow. No path is good or bad, right or wrong, just different. The path you choose demonstrates your character. Which path are you going to choose?”


Julia A. Johnson
Director, Organizational Performance
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