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Monday, April 27, 2020

How Charity Navigator Boosts Morale

As a global community, we’re all experiencing COVID-19 together. But, we are all dealing with it differently. We each have unique living situations and are trying our hardest to maintain normalcy and keep business as usual. Here at Charity Navigator, we’ve found ourselves in a fortunate situation to have seamlessly transitioned to work from home. I’m grateful to say everyone at Charity Navigator is healthy, but, like so many, we are empathic and can’t help but feel stressed by current events.

At Charity Navigator, we’ve always been a close-knit, familial community. Keeping up our morale and mental health is top of mind for the entire team, not just leadership. Here are some ways we’re engaging with one another to reduce stress, boost morale, and ensure we get through this together.

1. Listen and engage. Call, Slack, Facetime your team. It’s critical to hear from one another. And it's also critical to engage as an organization. We have a few Slack channels like #thebunker, #CNradio, #recipes, #bookclub for online engagement. We share memes, podcasts, and other content with the goal of keeping us in a positive state. We also set aside 5-10 minutes at the beginning of each meeting to informally check in with one another. 
2. Connect: 1:1. People managers have implemented daily stand-up calls with their teams. Sometimes it's a quick chat to see how teammates are doing. Other days, this designated time provides space for status updates, real-time feedback, and decision making. Our operations team also sets aside time twice a month to connect 1:1 with staff. It’s nice to hear from one another, beyond your immediate teammates. 
3. Connect: Together. We have an informal meeting to highlight the past week’s accomplishments – we refer to this as kudos. Continue to celebrate milestones, both big and small, personal and professional. We’ve also begun asking all to share their experiences, stories, and newly-formed habits. Sharing stories and hearing from peers humanizes stress others may be feeling. We want to hear from everyone and, with a small staff of 21 employees, this is totally doable! 
4. Be flexible. Trust your people! Have empathy for those who are juggling personal responsibilities with working full-time. Work with your employees to create a work-balance structure. If they have personal responsibilities they have to tend to, let them. Encourage good habits and create structure – whatever that may look like. 
5. Communicate. Have honest conversations with one another. We’re all human and trying to do our best. My favorite aspect of Charity Navigator is everyone always asks, “How can I help?”We also have formal COVID-19 communication updates sent from our President & CEO on a weekly basis. He also sets aside time weekly for a virtual office hour and constantly encourages people to reach out if they need anything. 
6. Give Resources: Do employees have what they need to perform their job from home? Does everyone know where to address COVID-19 related communications? These are some questions we surveyed staff to ensure their resource needs are being met. We also shared mental health resources and encouraging ways to improve their well-being. 

Most importantly, connect as a community. Working from home is a privilege, and we’re beyond grateful for our essential, front-line employees who are protecting from further spreading of COVID-19. We have to lean on one another during this time and remember we’re all human. Create a community that emphasizes this from all levels of your organization. These are some examples that can reduce employees' stress during COVID, which, in return, can boost employee morale. With so much uncertainty, no one wants additional, unnecessary stress. Communicate with one another, and keep going forward. This too shall pass.

Written by Julia Bieniek, HR and Operations Manager at Charity Navigator

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