How to Survive the “Covid Churn”

I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. 

Philippians 2:19-20

More recently, people have retired, changed employers, or started their own business. Some have referred to this as the covid churn since this could be a response to the pandemic’s effect on the economy. 

During the “covid churn” in the workplace, I’ve been thinking more about the role of a manager or director in the workplace. I’ll define a manager or director as someone who is responsible for someone else’s work for this post. I think, in the end, there’s two goals for any manager or director:

  1. Retention
  2. Results

I have to admit, these come from years of listening to Manager Tools podcasts, so I can’t take all the credit. What I can say is that there’s truth in those two words, and a whole lot of books, consultants, and organizations dedicated to one or both of those words. 

To retain talent is to not “keep people,” but rather to not “lose people.” (The perspective shift between those terms can make a big difference.) So, if we are to keep people, the desire and goal must be to invest in other people. 

To have results is to make sure that the organization hits their mission. Most of the time, that means making it possible for your boss to accomplish their goals. How can you support your boss to be more successful and do better? While I wouldn’t advocate blindly saying yes to every project that passes your desk just to make someone else look good, I would advocate focusing on projects that bring real results. And, if your boss is after retention and results, they’ll do everything they can to make sure you are successful. If they aren’t that kind of a person, you can lead the way by bringing retention and results to your organization, regardless of “air cover” support from those above you.

Neither retention or results are new managerial concepts. Paul retains Timothy as a mentee (so to say) and showing results. And what does Paul do after that time? He sends him away: he releases Timothy.

How does this look in the modern nonprofit?  

First, Paul invested in Timothy and knew his strengths. Paul says, “I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare.” He would not have been able to see Timothy’s knack for “showing genuine concern” if he didn’t see this in action. In other words, it’s not possible to invest in others if you don’t know the strengths of those working for you. Consider those that work for you, where they are going, and their passions. What work do they tackle first? That’s usually an indicator they enjoy the project. Give them projects, presentations, and meetings that help them bring results. Invest and empower those who report to you so that they can achieve results. 

Second, Paul sent Timothy to where he could do more good. “I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon” says Paul. What a brave thing to do. Paul values Timothy, and yet he sends him to have more, and perhaps bigger, results. After retaining Timothy, he releases Timothy. 

Today, that looks like sending people out. I heard a story of a woman who worked for a company for 18 years. She submitted her resignation, and didn’t get much of a response from her boss. But, because she had seen him in other situations, she packed up her desk after giving him her resignation letter. The next day, he called her into his office and said, “You need to go now because I fear what I say in the next two weeks will be something I’ll regret.” She got her boxes and left. After 18 years, that may not be the best way to go about releasing someone to greater things. 

When someone hands you a resignation letter, perhaps it’s best to say, “Wow. Congratulations. Tell me more about that.” (Listen to this podcast from Manager Tools for more.) Give them a going away party so that the rest of the team can process the loss. And then use the moment to evaluate what kind of a role would bring more results to the organization. Retain, and be ready to release.

It’s possible to survive the covid churn, with the focus being retention and results, just as Paul retained Timothy, then released him, so that more results came.

Order Hopelessly Hopeful During Separation, a 28-day devotional for people who are separated from their spouse because of marital struggles. And, if you are avoiding the book title on your statement, order a signed copy through PayPal here.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

© 2022, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

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