3 Tips for Supporting Your Team in a COVID World

The Association’s Katherine Shenar sat down with Oregon Humane’s Brian August, Chief Operating Officer, and Rhonda Palos, Vice President for Human Resources, for the scoop on HR challenges and successes brought on by COVID-19. Listen to the complete interview on Spotify, and read on for the highlights here.

Recognize and Address Staff’s Ongoing Need for Security

With changes and uncertainty as the new sure thing, Executive Leadership and HR can expect one of staff’s top concerns will be security—in their job as well as in their personal safety. You can address this by communicating—well, actually, by overcommunicating— regularly. Palos says Oregon Humane is sending all-staff “weekly state-of-the-nation emails,” as well as posting news on bulletin boards. It’s working—they recently asked staff to fill out a simple 7-question survey. “Most people are feeling okay and grateful for the opportunity to be doing their job,” she says. Remember—you can never communicate a message of care too often.

Pay Attention to the Calm

You may have noticed, at your organization, what August calls “microperiods of stability.” In these periods it’s paramount that you stay on track with your communications, as “you may see people on their own, doing their own thing.” Good ideas and progress can happen as a result—as long as they’re shared! Stay vigilant to ensure those newly opened lines of communication stay open.

Don’t Think 6 Months Ahead

Don’t get them wrong—Palos and August are definitely thinking ahead. But in order to best plan, Palos says, “I’m thinking of what things will look like in 12-24 months.” That means asking questions like:

  • How is our organization’s job changing?
  • How is the service we provide changing?
  • How do we shift so we feel as cohesive as before—and even more so?
  • How do we rebuild our teams? 

HR Resources from Oregon Humane

Oregon Humane has shared a wealth of new HR materials with the field (scroll down to Human Resources sample documents), including:
Return to Work Guide for Employees (powerpoint)
Social Distancing Policy


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