In effort to get employees back safely, most organizations are looking at how they can effectively monitor “Elevated Body Temperature” (EBT) as their employees and contractors enter the building. Many technologies are being tested and evaluated based on the best performance, speed of implementation, and overall cost of implementation. I have become an expert on the use of thermal imaging cameras as a way to diagnose EBT quickly and at a distance. None of these solutions are inexpensive, but we know that we can improve total productivity in the future by ensuring our workforce is not exposed to any contagious virus.
A week ago, this was the only temperature check we were worried about.
Fast forward one week, and our concern has shifted from Covid-19 to the conversation of race relations, specifically the inequality of African Americans. The death of George Floyd, which is a failure of leadership we can study in the future, has raised the emotional temperature of our country as protests make their way through nearly every city. Just like that, the news coverage shifted from all things Covid to the conversation of equality and privilege. It is inspiring to see people of all shades listening and participating in this very important conversation. However, just as quickly as media shifted from Covid to privilege, the coverage will shift again. When this happens, the conversation will begin to die down. As leaders, we must recognize that the conversation may be quiet, but the emotional temperature of our valued employees may still be elevated. Technology will allow us to the privilege of monitoring body temp, but how will we effectively monitor the elevated emotional temperature (EET) of our team? It cannot just be ignored, or we will find ourselves in this cycle again in the all too soon future.
The goal of EBT detection is to get an accurate read from the greatest distance possible, ideally the recommended social distance of 6 feet. The only way to get an accurate read of EET is to get close and personal. Yes, it will take a real-life personal connection and conversation to get an accurate read. How do we do it? Based on a conversation with Aaron Layton, author of Dear White Christian, we need to sit down with a humble attitude and just ask questions to help us understand what our employees are feeling and how we can help. Without a doubt, this takes time and energy, but the return on that investment will be high.
When I survey my students of what they look for most in a leader, the number one answer is always to feel valued. We all know those good employees do not typically leave bad companies; they leave bad leaders. As leaders, if we take the time to invest in getting to know our team genuinely, they will feel valued. If they feel valued, they will perform at a higher level and will dismiss any attempt to entice them away.
Few businesses were not impacted financially by this pandemic. We will have to be smart and innovative to find our way out and get on the financial footing we desire. The best place to start is by reducing turnover by showing your team they are valued. Do not just focus on EBT, remember to stay focused on EET as well.
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