Lessons from COVID-19 – Raising and Sustaining Employee Engagement Before, During, and After a Crisis

    /Arthur  /J  Murrayspeaker of Training Doyensinvite
    Speaker: Arthur J Murray

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    Duration: 60 Minutes
    Product Code: 51263
    Level: Intermediate

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As the COVID-19 crisis rapidly intensified, some organizations were able to turn on a dime and respond with astonishing speed to the extraordinary demands for very highly specialized supplies and services, such as respirators, testing kits, and the like. At the same time, others stood on the sidelines, helplessly watching as their employees were furloughed en masse. What was the difference? The organizations which were able to rise to the occasion tended to exhibit high levels of employee engagement. On the other end of the spectrum was organizations with employees that were so disengaged they actually relished the idea of getting paid to stay at home and do nothing.

In this webinar, you’ll learn how to improve employee engagement and keep your employees fully engaged during good times and bad. Looking at how organizations responded during the recent COVID-19 pandemic and similar events in the past, certain qualities stand out. Organizations with the highest engagement levels are able to more effectively:

1) anticipate and plan for problems long before they actually occur;
2) create and maintain a more agile work environment through close, open communication and knowledge-sharing;
3) become more resilient and able to rebound more quickly and emerge from a crisis even stronger than before.

The good news is that there are simple, proven steps you can take to permanently incorporate these traits into your organization’s DNA.


Resistance to increased employee engagement occurs on both sides. Employees remain disengaged because they fear reprisals if they speak their mind openly and honestly, or they see others getting credit for their ideas and suggestions. Employers, on the other hand, often see highly engaged employees as a threat to their position.

Both barriers put your organization at risk in a variety of ways. One is through sub-par performance when things are going well, and in which valuable resources become underutilized and even wasted. Another is a high likelihood of accruing serious losses or even having to completely shut down during a crisis.

The upside potential of an engaged workforce is equally significant. Feeling that their needs and concerns are being met, they feel energized, and are ready to contribute, going the extra mile. The result is an organization that is willing to meet even the greatest challenges and opportunities head-on, in good times and bad. Long-term benefits include: increased employee attraction, engagement, satisfaction, and retention; increased innovation through the generation of new ideas, especially at the working level; a highly favorable reputation in the eyes of the general public, and the increased revenues, profits, customer satisfaction, and market share it brings.

The employee engagement strategies and other insights you’ll receive in this webinar are based on decades of university-level research, including the results of several regional resilience initiatives.


You will learn a variety of techniques and approaches for getting and keeping your employees fully engaged before, during, and after a crisis:

Before the crisis (foresight):

• It isn’t just plagues and pestilence – disruption comes in many different ways for which you always need to be on the alert
• Understanding the dangers of trying to predict future events, and the power of foresight
• Tapping the brainpower of your workforce to plan for the many exciting challenges and opportunities that might lie ahead

During the crisis (agility):

• How agile methods can lead to a fully engaged workforce able to sense, respond, and rapidly adapt to changes on-the-fly
• Transforming how your workforce communicates by introducing a radically new approach in which full transparency replaces reporting, and the free flow of data reduces the need for narrative
• How to overcome the fear of, and even embrace, failure
• The hardest part: stepping back and letting your workforce take the lead

After the crisis (resilience):

• The importance of building planned resilience into your organization, including your customers and supply chain
• The role of the “post-mortem,” how to do it correctly, and pitfalls to avoid
• Identifying and closing gaps in your supply chain and other processes that came to light as the COVID-19 crisis began to unfold

Keeping everyone in your workforce fully engaged:

• Understanding Basic Human Needs, and how these needs dramatically change during times of crisis
• How to improve employee engagement, during good times and bad, by focusing on these basic human needs
• Key de-motivators that can make your employee engagement levels plummet
• How to use technology to detect and respond to “weak signals”
• Understanding the shortfalls of being solely data-driven, and how those shortfalls create opportunities for increased engagement
• Using the power of human intuition and judgment to make sense out of high volumes of complex and conflicting data
• A radically different view of trust: why “less is more”


• The basic underlying principles of employee engagement and how you can apply them to your workforce
• The key factors which contribute to increased/ decreased engagement levels
• How to use the post-COVID-19 “re-start” as an opportunity to boost and sustain employee engagement
• How a more engaged workforce can not only help you re-bound more quickly, but help your organization prepare better for the next crisis – or sudden opportunity
• How to track employee engagement and make adjustments along the way


• CXOs, especially CEOs and Chief Learning Officers
• HR and Employee Development Program Directors and Managers
• Strategic Planning Directors
• Program and Project Managers
• Team Leaders and Supervisors


Years of Experience: 25+ years

Areas of Expertise: Transforming traditional organizations into knowledge-sharing enterprises

For over thirty years, Art Murray and his teams have helped organizations around the worldtransform intoknowledge enterprises.  A knowledge engineer by trade, he has the unique ability to capture and grow deeply embedded personal and institutional knowledge.  His many clients include government agencies, non-profit organizations, and companies of all sizes in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.  He has advised government leaders in ministries of defense, law enforcement, higher education, public health, and whole-of-government in making the transition to a knowledge-based economy.  One of the many projects he has led is the transformation of the Pan American Region of the World Health Organization into a knowledge-sharing enterprise, improving their ability to respond to health threats such as pandemic influenza, HIV/AIDS, and malaria.  The project was documented as a chapter in the book, “Knowledge Management in Public Health Organizations,” by J. Liebowitz, et al, eds., 2010.  

More recently, he led a strategic knowledge capture and transfer initiative for the U.S. energy sector, and is currently technical director of a project to promote knowledge-sharing among world trade centers and science parks across the globe.He is also technical director on several projects to design and develop knowledge discovery and sharing platforms for integrative medicine,food and agriculture futures, and mathematics education.His decades-long research in this area has been published inthe book: Deep Learning Manual: the knowledge explorer's guide to self-discovery in education, work, and life(2016).

As the first Fellow at the International Institute for Knowledge and Innovation, he is Director of the Enterprise of the Future program and author of the book: Building the Enterprise of the Future: Co-creating and delivering extraordinary value in an eight-billion-mind world(2018).

He is a keynote speaker, a member of the National Speakers Association and the Global Speakers Federation, an editorial board member and reviewer for scientific journals and trade publications, and has been featured in various publications and radio programs.  He writes the widely-read column “The Future of the Future” which appears in KMWorld Magazine.

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