We are truly living in unusual times.  As our “normal” lives are being turned upside down, we’re finding new ways of communicating and working – new ways of doing a lot of the things that maybe seemed second-nature or easy to us.  One thing that hasn’t changed but may be more apparent now than ever is the importance of PEOPLE.  Each day we decide to keep things moving; we do it for the people in our company, our family and friends, and in our community.  Johns Manville recognizes the importance of PEOPLE as one of our four core values; PEOPLE, PASSION, PERFORM, PROTECT.

“WE ARE PEOPLE CHAMPIONS. Our employees and customers are at the core of everything we do. We strive to see the world through their eyes.”

So, in these unusual times, we want to encourage you to build new communities.  Tap into the resources that we have as an industry and that we have in the communities within our industry.  We hope to share some ideas to help you continue to build personal and professional relationships and stay connected:

1. Expand your talents by participating on a cross-functional team outside your typical skill set.

Many companies are venturing into new territory – whether they are looking into offering new products or services or having to find new ways of working together and communicating.  This offers up the perfect opportunity to jump into projects where you can offer expertise or even just an extra set of hands.  Being a part of these small project teams not only offers the opportunity to network but to also showcase a skill set that maybe others didn’t know you have.  As an example, the JM innovation team is looking at ways we can lend a helping hand by finding new uses for our products such as using TPO film for PPE equipment.  Although the initiatives are being led by research and engineering, there is still a need for other skill sets such as marketing and communications.

2. Take on a new project.

JMer Laurie Neilson, who works in our Insulation Systems plant in Defiance, Ohio, is going the #JMextraMile amid the COVID-19 pandemic. She’s sewing face masks for firefighters and nursing home workers during her breaks and plans to make as many as she can to help out in her community.

Extend a heartfelt “Thank You” to those on the front lines continuing to work.  Our Scottsboro, Alabama, Plant Manager Terry Couch is paying special attention to how truck drivers are treated amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Terry greets each truck driver with an elbow bump (then physical distancing), then gives them a letter that thanks them for their service on behalf of us and our customers. Terry’s letters also outline the steps we are taking to provide a safe environment, reminds them to wash their hands, and shares do’s and don’ts of physical distancing.

Even small projects can make a big impact and help build long-lasting connections.

3. Take advantage of online education.

Take part in online education and the virtual resources that have become more readily available. JM offers a whole suite of continuing education courses.  Check out some of the options on www.jmroofing.news.   We just launched a six-part series which is AIA accredited – sign up here.  We also have a 20-minute series on various topics getting ready to launch in the coming weeks, so keep your eye out or sign up to receive our newsletter.  If you find yourself just looking for audio, check out the Above it All by Johns Manville Podcast on iTunes or found here.

In addition to the educational opportunities offered by manufacturers, many institutions and universities are offering their courses online for free or heavily discounted.  Consider even doing a certification or training on software like Microsoft Excel or TechSmith SnagIt, which might help give you a skillset needed on a special project mentioned above.

Join in the on the conversation and get some of your peers to join you so you can talk about it afterwards.

4. Network the COVID-way through online webinars, video social hours and mentoring one-on-ones with colleagues.

JM’s Melissa Walker currently sits as the Chair for the NWIR Mentorship Committee.  Last year this group started a series of members-only blogs which touch on various challenges women, and even men, face through their personal stories.  The group is now shifting gears to release a series of blogs based on their challenges trying to navigate this current state.  Juggling working and home schooling, managing how a crew can conduct inspections without contact, how to keep a displaced team motivated and emotional ok, and even one on having a baby during this time are all topics being discussed.

This can also be a great time for NWIR members to find a mentor or mentee.  This will provide a chance to focus on the positive and build not only a new connection, but a way to come out of this stronger.

JM also encourages everyone to join the online-based meetings NWIR has created called “Together More Than Ever.”  The topics range from simple meetups, panel discussions, and learning opportunities all to help provide some navigation during this time of so much uncertainty.

About Johns Manville

Johns Manville, a Berkshire Hathaway company (NYSE: BRK.A, BRK.B), is a leading manufacturer and marketer of premium-quality building and specialty products. In business since 1858, the Denver-based company has annual sales over $3 billion and holds leadership positions in all of the key markets that it serves. Johns Manville employs 8,000 people and operates 46 manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe and China. Additional information can be found at www.jm.com.