On March 11, 2020 the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 coronavirus a pandemic, officially elevating the disease to a worldwide issue. All countries, all people. Since then, each of us have faced unprecedented and accelerated changes in our daily lives and work. Analysts and researchers have projected disruption in the workplace due to technology and changing attitudes about remote work, but no one imagined that the future would become the present so soon. Very few organizations are prepared to handle the logistics, let alone the impact this will have on the relationships of employees, managers and organizational leaders.
Generosity in a time of crisis is a sign of good character and the COVID-19 pandemic only expands the good we can do for one another. But money or time aren’t the only ways we can serve those in our communities and workplace. There’s another key asset that many of us in the workforce can give, even in these shaky times: social capital. Social capital is broadly defined as the positive outcome of human interaction like the exchange or gifting of ideas, information, and opportunities. We aren’t limited in these exchanges while working from home and social investments may be more valuable than ever.
Here’s one thing you can do when you’re ready to give: sponsorship. Sponsorship involves an organizational leader or manager (sponsor) using their influence to advocate for the success of a more junior employee (protÃ©gÃ©). This might sound like mentorship, but there’s a distinct difference between the two. Mentors lend an ear and give tough advice to mentees because they’ve been there and done that. Sponsors use their relationships and reputation to ensure their protÃ©gÃ© is recognized by the right people.
Mentors invest their time, sponsors invest their influence.
The sponsor’s journey looks like this:
Select top-performers from more junior ranks of the organization (or performers from outside your work who you feel comfortable recommending)
Plug protÃ©gÃ©s into meaningful projects to build on their skillset
Endorse protÃ©gÃ©’s work and make valuable introductions to key power players
Advocate for their protÃ©gÃ©’s career success behind closed doors (where the decision makers are)
You might not spot your company’s next high-potential at a company happy hour, but taking time to invest in the long-term career of others is always meaningful. Getting involved and sponsoring someone else gives you the chance to flex muscles that could lie dormant during this time of crisis: empathy, embracing positive differences, and prioritizing inclusivity while navigating a change.
To learn more about how you can apply sponsorship as a leader, check out our Content Anytime Leadership & Management subscription and maximize your leadership’s potential to spot, cultivate, and surface your best talent.
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COVID-19 caused a seismic shift in every corner of life, including how employees work. Within days, companies were forced to shift to remote work and many completely shook up their business models to adhere to stay-at-home restrictions and other regulations. The challenge was and remains colossal. But weathering the storm of the pandemic is just one part of ensuring business success. As other forces—including the rise of automation technology and the evolving expectations of the incoming Gen Z workforce—continue to put pressure on how organizations work, businesses will have to become more nimble than ever. In an op-ed for Human Resource Executive, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer at Cornerstone OnDemand Heidi Spirgi discusses how to create a more agile workforce and business by emphasizing and nurturing employees’ adaptability quotient, a measure of resilience and flexibility. Read more here.
3 Steps to Building Organizational Adaptability and Resilience During the Pandemic
In working with more than 6,300 organizations in a wide variety of industries across 20 years, Cornerstone has partnered with countless clients that are navigating organizational change. Weve found that during troublesome times there are three constants that emerge time and time again: First, while crises are difficult and traumatizing, they can also bring out the best in people. Over the course of the past year, weve all witnessed extraordinary acts of compassion, creativity, and selflessness. Second, and on a practical note, organizations who are (or learn to be!) agile, flexible, and innovative during disruption have a better chance of surviving this and any other crisis. Third, organizations that keep an eye on the future while still effectively managing the crisis at hand come out stronger and more successful than those who only plan for immediate needs. And that, in a nutshell, is the purpose of this eBook: To help you and your organization not only navigate todays challenges but to plan for the future by continuing to motivate, engage, and inspire your employees and stakeholders. Within this eBook, youll find practical actions to take today to navigate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to provide stability for your employees. Just as importantly, these steps will also ensure youre ready to survive and thrive in whatever may come.
How Cornerstone Can Help Your Organization Thrive in the COVID-Era and Beyond
Our customer success team shares how you can leverage your Cornerstone investment to tackle critical activities in these evolving times.