ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - 33

T

his year, COVID-19 has stress-tested lubricant manufacturers' agility when it comes to serving customers and
meeting employees' needs. As essential businesses, most
ILMA members have been allowed to continue operations
throughout the pandemic even as other manufacturers and suppliers closed due to safety restrictions. Yet for those companies
that remained open, it was far from business as usual.
COVID-19 was not the only concern. In addition to the
virus, employment challenges, changes in the economy and,
in some cases, slowed customer demand have all shaped
what it means to do business in 2020.
No one has been unaffected. Workers are experiencing
heightened anxiety about their jobs, their families and their
own health. Some are figuring out how to balance work
and family as their positions relocated to home offices that
may or may not be temporary. Others are working on-site
in locations that now require daily temperature checks,
masks and safe-distancing measures. Meanwhile, managers
are figuring out how to manage a workforce that is either
working remotely or working under unusual and often
uncomfortable conditions.
"Everybody's nervous," said Terre Christensen, president
of FindLine Connections. "It's COVID. It's the economy."
Because of the current atmosphere, employees are
particularly vulnerable. "Work relationships are a large part
of our 'community,'" Christensen said. "Getting through a
tough spot together can only strengthen the team. It pays
to take the time to reach out to your staff and connect more
personally with them."
For leaders, it has never been more important to keep teams
motivated, engaged and productive. But the approaches that
worked in the past might not be sufficient today.

MAKING ADJUSTMENTS

"Emotional well-being has become even more of a priority
for employers since the pandemic hit," said Todd Witt, a
partner with employment firm Lockton Companies.
Christensen agrees, noting that the situation may be
particularly challenging for salespeople who are accustomed
to frequent travel and building face-to-face customer relationships. "I'm hearing from salespeople that it takes three
times as long to manage a sale as it did before," she said. "Or
it takes three times the effort."
It is no surprise, then, that sales teams might see a drop
in overall productivity, which can be both frustrating and
demoralizing. "Managers need to make sure those employees
are staying supported," Christensen said.
The key is communication. "The crucial thing that
employers can do is improve their communication," she
noted. "It's essential to have a regular schedule of touching
base, whether it's weekly or monthly, to transition people

"Listening to the people in the trenches and
understanding where they are and what's
frustrating them - or what could be done
differently to aid collaboration - is actually an
opportunity to build/retain cohesiveness as we
are separated."
Terre Christensen, president,
FindLine Connections
into new practices. Good managers check in with their
people, ask how they're adjusting to being at home, how
management can offer better support.
"Listening to the people in the trenches and understanding where they are and what's frustrating them - or
what could be done differently to aid collaboration - is
actually an opportunity to build/retain cohesiveness as we
are separated," she added. "It is more important than ever to
keep that human connection. Smarter employers are doing
that, letting their people know how the company is doing,
what they are happy about, what they are concerned about.
They're giving ownership of the success of the company
through those communications, which should result in
keeping their people motivated."
Open communication also can be a tool for retention.
"In these times, more clarity and understanding may increase
buy-in," Christensen said. "The employee may be more loyal
to you and demonstrate more ownership in the success of the
company. If you're not staying in touch with your staff, you're
doing yourself a disservice, and morale suffers."

33



ILMA Compoundings - October 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ILMA Compoundings - October 2020

ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - Cover1
ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - Cover2
ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - 1
ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - 2
ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - 3
ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - 4
ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - 5
ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - 6
ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - 7
ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - 8
ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - 9
ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - 10
ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - 11
ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - 12
ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - 13
ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - 14
ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - 15
ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - 16
ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - 17
ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - 18
ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - 19
ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - 20
ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - 21
ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - 22
ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - 23
ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - 24
ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - 25
ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - 26
ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - 27
ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - 28
ILMA Compoundings - October 2020 - 29
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