Pep Talk RVA: Managing and morale boosting in the time of coronavirus (Episode 2)

This is the second installment of our Pep Talk feature, letting leaders of local companies – business owners, CEOs and managers – tell us in their own words how they and their employees are faring, what they’re hearing from their workers and clients, and, most importantly, things they’re doing to boost morale, allay their fears and maintain some semblance of normal productivity.

John Asbury

John Asbury, CEO, Atlantic Union Bank

“The first thing we’re saying (to employees) is ‘we’ve got this.’ We’ve got this.

“I wrote a letter to all hands, after the first Fed emergency rate cut when it became very clear that dramatic action was about to be taken and I didn’t want them to be frightened. The way I ended it … the message from the leadership team is, we’ve got this. We’ll take care of the big-picture issues. We need you to take care of each other and our customers.

“I’ve gotten heartwarming feedback from across the organization. They’re expressing confidence. Our company has been around since 1902. We survived the Great Depression, WWII and the Great Recession. And we’ll survive the coronavirus.”

Elle Corell

Elle Correll, co-owner, Buskey Cider

“Right before this we were working on a program to utilize our tasting room hands better. So basically everyone has more than one job, you might be tasting room and sales, or marketing and sales, or production and operations, things like that.

“The way we’re keeping the mood up is by giving people more responsibility than they might have had before. … If someone works the tasting room normally, what other skills do you bring to the table? It’s been fun to be like, ‘Oh, I didn’t know that about you, you’re now in charge of this program.’

“Once you’ve got everything covered as far as basic needs, then it’s all about staying busy and continuing to push forward, rather than waiting until we’re told we can start everything back up again.”

Mark Hourigan

Mark Hourigan, CEO, Hourigan

“I have a daily meeting with my senior leadership team every morning at 10 a.m., and we gather all the intel on what’s happening at the national scene, the statewide news and what may be affecting our industry. We talk about the impact that may have on us, and then we are communicating daily with our people, with an update every single day, of what it is that we’re doing.

“We are having twice-a-week companywide calls, conference calls, where we have everyone on the line, making sure that we are aware of anybody’s needs, concerns, issues that they’re dealing with, just to make sure that they know that we are all in this together. We have said we are going to work to get through this together, and I would say the morale and the spirit in our company and on our job sites is remarkably good.

“Our people understand what’s going on, and they’re doing everything they can to keep things moving as well. We’ve seen some very ingenious efforts to make jobs safer and cleaner and trying new products and stepping up the cleanliness routine. People are really stepping up, understanding the importance of doing everything we can to make sure that we do stop this spread.”

Thoughts to share? We’d like to hear them. If you’d like to let our readers know how your organization is keeping things moving in these trying times, please email [email protected].

Episode 1: The Martin Agency’s Kristen Cavallo, The Broadberry’s Lucas Fritz and One South Realty Group’s Rick Jarvis

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