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Mini-cast 90: Best Practices and CDC Guidelines

Savvy businesses have long relied on best practices to chart the path forward. CDC COVID-19 Guidelines, although not perfect, provide best practices for businesses to operate while protecting employees and stakeholders.

The CDC COVID-19 Best Practices links referred to in this podcast are:


Mini-cast 90 Transcript

Announcer: 00:03 Welcome to the ESOP Mini-cast, a great way to wrap up the week.

Bret Keisling: 00:14 Hello, my friends. Thank you for listening. My name is Bret Keisling and as it says on my business cards, I'm a passionate advocate for employee ownership. As we release this episode on July 10th, 2020, the United States has over 3 million coronavirus cases and our death toll sadly closes in on 133,000 people. As a country, we continue to grapple with our response and to our collective discredit there's way too much anger and animosity in our national discourse.

Bret Keisling: 00:47 In the last 10 years, I've spent two and a half years as the president and CEO of an employee owned company followed by seven years as an ESOP trustee. During that time I've come to rely on and be a big fan of businesses that follow best practices in all of their endeavors. I've talked on many previous podcasts about best practices in many contexts, from HR issues to accounting practices, to board diversity, including adding outside directors. These are all based on, essentially, what are best practices.

Bret Keisling: 01:21 As it relates to the pandemic and the economic turmoil that we've seen so far, which sadly I believe will only get worse over the coming six to 12 months, there's an easy and credible resource for businesses to follow best practices during the coronavirus: the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC has had guidelines in place for several months for what seems like all aspects of our society, including businesses and workplaces, but also schools and childcare, higher education community and faith based organizations, et cetera. The CDC guidelines are just that, they're guidelines. They are not mandates. They are not the law. And in that sense seem to be regarded by too many in this country as irrelevant.

Bret Keisling: 02:10 Are the guidelines perfect? Of course not. Over the next months and years and with the benefit of perfect hindsight, we'll be able to determine which guidelines are spot on and which missed the mark. But for now the guidelines do serve as best practices for how businesses should operate during the pandemic.

Bret Keisling: 02:29 In our show notes, we're going to include a couple of links to the CDC guidelines that relate to businesses and employees. You're already familiar with the most well known of the guidelines, which include masks and social distancing, but I'm sincerely impressed at how many of the guidelines regarding business communication really do include the practices that businesses should follow, whether there's a pandemic or not. For example, recommendations about preparing small businesses and employees for the effects of COVID-19 include suggestions, such as examining policies for leave, teleworking, and employee compensation. The CDC suggests leave policy should be flexible and non-punitive and allow sick employees to stay home and away from coworkers. They recommend leave policies for employees who may be effected by daycare or school closings. They also recommend establishing an emergency communications plan, reviewing leave policies with all employees, and sharing pandemic response plans, including business continuity plans.

Bret Keisling: 03:33 It's worth noting that the suggestions above fit in directly with what employee ownership advocates have been preaching for a long time. Come up with plans that are important for the success and wellbeing of your business. Share them with the employees and make sure that employees and other stakeholders are knowledgeable about where the business is going. That's just good communication.

Bret Keisling: 03:56 I had a similar reaction when I saw the CDCs "top 10 tips to protect employee's health." Many of these guidelines also comport very well with what we preach in employee ownership. Some of the guidelines are general health guidelines. For example, those related to coughing and sneezing and hand-washing, performing environmental cleaning on a routine basis, and putting in plans to minimize face to face contact through social distancing, where appropriate.

Bret Keisling: 04:24 But many of the tips are also right out of the EO culture playbook. For example, companies should have conversations with employees about their concerns and provide educational and training materials in an easy to understand format. Actively encouraged sick employees to stay home without fear of reprisals and take steps to make sure all employees understand the policy.

Bret Keisling: 04:48 Similarly, the guidelines suggests that if an employee gets sick at work, have them sent home as quickly as possible. One guideline does have me concern for our EO organizations over the next 6 to 12 months: the CDC recommends considering the need for travel and exploring alternatives. I love our EO conferences. I can't wait to return to them when they're safe, but in truth, I'm not sure that any are even scheduled at the moment. For many, myself included, traveling by plane to an area where I'll be surrounded by many people that I don't know is not something I find real appealing right now.

Bret Keisling: 05:30 So by way of closing, look at the CDC guidelines. And again, we'll have a couple of links in our show notes, but you can Google them easy enough, follow the guidelines as best you can and consider them to be best practices for your business and employees. As I said, above the guidance may not be perfect, but it's the best we have to work with at the moment. Thanks for listening. Stay safe. I you'll join us Tuesdays all summer long for our "Summer School" episodes. This is Bret Keisling, have a good day.

Bitsy McCann:06:06 We'd love to hear from you! To contact us, find us on Facebook at KEISOP, LLC and on Twitter @ESOPPodcast. To reach Bret, with one "T", email, on LinkedIn at Bret Keisling, and most actively on Twitter at @EO_Bret. Again, that's one "T". This podcast has been produced by The KEISOP Group, technical assistance provided by Third Circle, Inc. and BitsyPlus Design. Original music composed by Max Keisling, archival podcast material edited and produced by Brian Keisling, and I'm Bitsy McCann.

Standard Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are my own and don't represent those of my own firms or the organizations to which I belong. Nothing in the podcast should be construed as guidance or advice of any kind in any field and the fact that I mentioned an organizational website or an advocate or a company on a podcast does not reflect an endorsement, but if you've heard your name or your group's name mentioned on this podcast, I'd love to have you come on and talk about it yourself.

A note on the transcript: This transcript was produced by Temi, an automated transcription service. While it has been reviewed by The ESOP Podcast, we can not guarantee the accuracy of the transcription. Please refer to the original audio when citing sources.


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