Surprise! Employees Like the Way Their Bosses Handle the Pandemic
A chat with a recruiting specialist—and a guest cameo by Procol Harum!
By Ed Goldman
(Note: Procol Harum fans might enjoy calling “lavender-blush” a lighter shade of pink. Note to rest of galaxy: Procol Harum is a British rock band whose biggest hit was called “A Whiter Shade of Pale.” The guys got together in 1967, broke up a decade later, then got back together 14 years after that. Their hits since then have been, uh, “A Whiter Shade of Pale.”)
Okay, back to the Department of Earth.
For the employee satisfaction survey, states considered to be in the “West” segment of the country are Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, and Utah.
Shantel Poole manages the Sacramento region’s branch of the Robert Half staffing agency, which did the study. She told me late last week that one of the reasons for the satisfaction is that these employees work for places that “keep them in the loop, via video conferencing, emails and whatever it takes. If employees are going through self-isolation and feel ignored, they get resentful or just plain bored and leave their jobs.”
The photo of Shantel Poole is courtesy of the Robert Half Agency
Consider that fact alongside the finding that Sacramento recently held the dubious distinction of being what Poole called “the number one place among 28 U.S. cities in which people were planning to look for another job in the next year.” She had added that Sacramento “also ranked Number 4 for burnout in the workplace.”
That was then. So why aren’t these same people burning out during what I’ve referred to as Global House Arrest (ankle bracelets optional)? “Well, communicating, which I mentioned before, is a big part of it,” Poole said. “I also think that since most of the job categories we recruit for here remain strong, people may be realizing that, at least during the pandemic, staying put might be the best option, that there’ll always be another place to go.” Half’s recruiting specialties are in accounting, administration, finance, human resources and information technology, fields whose jobs have remained safe during the current crisis.
I asked Poole if the results of her agency’s survey, conducted from April 7-12, represent only a snapshot when the government response to the coronavirus has been more of a moving picture, with “re-open” orders sometimes conflicting with “continue to stay home” edicts within the same news cycle.
”Oh, things are changing all the time, no doubt about it,” she said. “It’s a very fluid situation. But we’re actually faring pretty well in the western states. We think it’s because at first there was an adjustment period, where people were getting used to this new way of working. Now that they’ve settled in, it’s mostly a matter of being back at work, even though the workplace might be your home.”