Being designated as part of the supply chain is both a great responsibility and an unforeseen burden on businesses. Being needed, sometimes critically, brings added pressure to provide the product or service your community needs, all while facing additional danger and health risks as a result.

This is The Harsh Truth- - many companies in the supply chain face now. I recently participated in meetings with the company I consult for, planning how to run the business, support our customers and keep the employee’s safe.

The company services and repairs tractor trailers and provides products to secure loads/freight and to protect freight from weather damages and other environmental exposure. This means the employees are interacting with the drivers in various ways, while also working in an environment where they are in close proximity to one and another, repairing and working on equipment.

The overwhelming feedback we were given was, the workforce didn’t feel safe, although they knew what they do is very important to maintaining the supply chain and they had the added responsibility to help get products to the people who need them the most.

So our challenge became, how do we make the employee’s feel safe?

We had already limited the interaction with the customers, asking them to call ahead, so we could prepare the items they needed to purchase. We implemented a stringit cleaning protocol, shut down the lunch room, asking all employees to eat in their cars, and we directed all customers to wait in their trucks while we repaired their equipment. But more was still needed.

Our next step was to limit the amount of people working per shift, moving some people to other shifts. This helped us manage the proximity of each worker. Additionally, we increased the amount of hand sanitizer locations, making it easier to access when needed. Then we went the extra mile providing each employee with a small personal bottle. This helped to increase morale.

We then made available, for any member who felt the need, to have their temperature read at any time during the day, as well as checking staff at the beginning of each shift. All of these were a big boost to the feeling of creating a safe workplace for our employees. But there was one thing that went above and beyond in making them feel safe. It was the key to managing the fear.

We asked them what would make them feel safe and we acted on those suggestions.

The majority of the things we put into place were the things the employees wanted to see. It wasn’t the government regulations or guidelines. What mattered most to our staff was, their concerns were being met, we put them first and foremost, as we conducted business in the new norm.

This is the best way to manage fear and make your employees feel safe as they continue to make positive contributions to the supply chain. And think about this, even if your workforce is working from home during this global slow down, what will your plan be when you start back up?

How will you manage the fear and anxiety of your workforce returning to their roles and duties while the threat of this virus still looms for months to come?

They canceled the Olympics because of this virus, everyone will need to go back to work long before this summer. How will you manage the fear?

Author's Bio: 

W.T. Hamilton is the award winning author of the ONE Chapter Book, The Harsh Truths- - and the co-author of the Your Invincible Power- - book series. He is a business consultant, speaker and author helping driven entrepreneurs solve business problems One Chapter book at a time.