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Both True — One Eye Part 5: Starting Small in Our Response, Recovery & Rebuild

April 23, 2020

I believe oil and gas companies should be leading North America into our COVID-19 response, recovery, and rebuild. As companies grapple with remote work forces and massive capital cuts, we have small yet mighty gestures we can take right now. 

The first step: helping our available work force participate in remote volunteerism opportunities. Doing so isn’t just the right thing to do; it builds capital in durable ways with our employees and our community.

The situation:

I’ve received a lot of queries from Both True readers on how we can Give Back Out There during such dramatic capital and workforce reductions. Today I provide you with ideas and resources. At Adamantine, we have had the joy of helping our client companies provide inspiration and coordination for mobile remote volunteerism over the last few weeks. So I know first-hand that oil and gas leaders and employees are genuinely motivated to participate in our collective pandemic response. Supporting employee volunteerism helps motivate your co-workers, brings teams together, and engages your company in the community.

There are business reasons for supporting volunteerism as well right now: doing so mitigates your company’s future social risk.

Morning Consult has been doing some really interesting peak-pandemic polling. This week I have been paying attention to their Covid-19 Brand Management work. Our collective oil and gas brand was suffering mightily pre-pandemic. As you know from last week’s post, I believe we have an unprecedented opportunity to transcend historic divides on oil and gas. One lens we can look through to help plan our future progress: how consumers view brands right now. 

The chart below (found here) highlights what consumers care about in company brands, and the top four out of five can be addressed by inspiring, mobilizing, and supporting our employees’ community volunteerism. What people value in companies includes:

  • Taking care of your employees, even in tough times
  • Caring about society
  • Contributing to society
  • Standing for something besides just profit

The critical mistakes not to make:

  • Freezing. It is easy to worry about overtaxing employees right now — and therefore doing nothing. You can avoid this by making your volunteerism voluntary.
  • Expect employees to organize themselves. Teams are struggling to keep their own momentum, focus, and strategy clarity right now — they do not know if it’s okay to take on work extra-curriculars unless you empower them.

Seize the day: Successful employee volunteerism requires these traits: 

  • Create options. You are solving for a variety of needs, abilities, and availability. We give some ideas below. Email Adamantine’s resident remote volunteerism expert, Anne Carto, to receive our full menu. Make sure you provide some family-friendly options!
  • Keep it light and flexible. Many employees are covering double-duty — both homeschooling and working full time. Others are juggling a grueling, essential work schedule with life management. Yet others are home alone with the cat or teenagers and could use some great give-back ideas! We recommend a light touch focused on inspiration, teamwork, and giving back.
  • Set some shared goals. Depending on what employees select, set some goals together: Can we write 10 letters in April? Sew 12 masks?
  • Share, share, share. Pick a coordinator and share your opportunities and successes abundantly. Working alone together requires extra communication and abundant celebration of small successes.

A few virtual ideals to get you started:

  • Be a virtual pen pal. United Way organizes this, and it is very straightforward. Here in Colorado, you can write a supportive, conversational letter, and United Way provides the address of Denver-based nursing and senior living centers to send it to. This short task helps lessen the burden of social distancing on senior citizens who can’t see their family or visitors. Local organizations offer a phone call option as well. Other organizations, like Virtual Visit Friend offer similar volunteer opportunities.
  • Send a letter of gratitude. United Way also makes sending letters to front-line workers, family resource centers, and homeless shelters easy through snail mail or online. You can start here with United Way to find your local chapter.
  • Choose your own adventure. I’m a long time American Red Cross volunteer and board member. The Red Cross lets individuals choose their own remote volunteer opportunities here

I would also like to hear what you, your family, and your organization are doing. Send me an email and fill me in!

This week my colleague, Lindsey Gage, provides tips on successfully working remotely that I highly recommend. I’ve worked remotely with Lindsey every day for more than 5 years and I still learned a lot!

I joined David Ramsden-Wood on his weekly #hottakeoftheday podcast for a spirited discussion of the oil and gas world we find ourselves in. You can listen or watch – enjoy!

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