End of Year Message from Devetry CEO, Brett Truka
Dear Team, Clients, & Partners,
If you would have asked me one year ago where all of us would be, it would not have been here.
The US continues to hit record COVID deaths, unemployment has re-surged, and offices have re-closed after months of gradual openings.
The crude “2020 is a dumpster fire” is not too far from the truth. And as you know, this thing still has the potential to get worse.
While I sit here and think about the positives or the light at the end of the tunnel, I am aware of how it can come off as insensitive and disingenuous for those struggling. So instead, I’d like to focus on some of the lessons I (and many of you) have learned during this tough year.
Being a parent without help is hard. I, like so many, have always relied on parental luxuries. Daycare, nannies, the ability to trade days off to care for a sick kid–even with these comforts, parenting is hard. Without them, it’s grueling. Today, I’m more aware than ever of single parents, parents who cannot afford much-needed help, and parents working from home while also caring for their kids.
Burnout can–and will–affect your team. I used to think that burnout mostly happened in times of stress. If we just eliminate most of our “obvious” stressors, we’ll never experience burnout. After living and leading through the pandemic, I now realize that burnout can, and will, happen despite efforts to mitigate stress. It will occur from not-so-obvious things like monotony, boredom, information fatigue, endless zoom calls, prolonged uncertainty, and a slew of other emotions. Rather than preventing burnout, we’ve got to learn how to help ourselves and fellow team members when it happens.
Creating a more equitable and diverse world starts with the people in power. Talking about diversity initiatives isn’t enough. If anyone is going to enact real, lasting change, the people in power must be willing to get to the root of the problem and find creative solutions that pull people up. It’s naive to think of this as a single, year-long initiative. We will need to take action over the next decade to begin to succeed.
Your team’s health and wellness are important. We always take for granted our health and wellness until we get ill. And I believe most leaders (myself included) took for granted their team’s health and wellness until this global pandemic. Going forward, organizations must strategize ways to improve the physical health and mental wellness of their teams.
Human connection is the crux of it all. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, we were asked to stay away from one another. This single regulation put an end to spontaneous conversations, happy hours, holiday parties, and family get-togethers. And just like that, a year’s worth of in-person human connections never happened. I think we all felt the weight of this, even as things loosened up over the year. While I think remote work will remain in varying capacity, I cannot wait to have these meaningful human connections back.
I think the overarching lesson of 2020 is: cut people some slack.
As we rev back up and move on from the implications of COVID, I hope we can collectively give each other more grace. We never know when someone is caring for their family, suffering from burnout, or dealing with discrimination, health problems, or other trauma.
We’re all so eager to get on with it. We forget that the people we’re interacting with experience real challenges too.
If there is one positive thing that can come from this disaster, I hope it’s greater empathy towards our colleagues, friends, and family.
I wish everyone a very happy and healthy holiday season.