The COVID-19 pandemic has made the world go into a standstill. Its impact can be felt not only on personal lives but for disrupting varying areas of businesses as well. With every government in the world issuing some form of a lockdown or other, businesses (especially small) have been negatively impacted. It has resulted in a drop in business activity, supply chain disruptions, and cancelled travels, and postponed meetings.
A distinguishing feature for organizations during such trying times is how leaders lead and respond. Founders, being the masthead of their organization, has people looking up to them. How you navigate your company through the crisis will dictate how will your company flourish in the post-coronavirus world.
Here’s what leaders needs to learn to implement for the organization when facing a global pandemic:
1. Review Risks
There is a lot that could go wrong in such times. Risk assessment is a necessity- we have to be prepared for the unexpected. Have a list of the worst-case scenarios and review if your organisation has the necessary resources and manpower to combat it.
Ask senior executives and managers to review possible risks as they are more attuned to the everyday things going on. Determine who will be the first responder when things go wrong. Similarly have a succession planning where another employee can take over another. Build plans and make sure that the entire organisation is aware of it.
2. Prepare A Communication Strategy
If there is one thing that can get your company through these tough times, it is having open communication with everyone involved. You should have a clear understanding about which groups of audience it needs to reach. That may include your stakeholders, customers, suppliers and most importantly your employees.
Employees will be looking forward to a statement or response from your side. Your communication strategy should be aimed at presenting a clear message about your organization’s current stance, safety measures, and security of everyone involved. Your strategy should also focus on the current HR policies and emergency plans.
Also, anticipating a rise of remote working make it a priority for you to focus on global mobility, IT infrastructure, and communication channels to move you operations to suit the current work arrangements.
3. Collaborate Effectively
As stated earlier, their will be a definite rise in work from home and remote working. Thus, it’s essential that you make the process as smooth as possible for your workforce.
- Invest in some team collaboration tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom.
- Form a core, critical committee from across various teams to make tactical decisions and prioritize issues.
- Project management tools such as Asana will help your teams prioritize and keep track of the key goals and business objectives.
4. Create Resources
Your normal customer base is most likely in a state of panic. During times like this, most companies choose to stop marketing their products/services entirely because nobody is there to buy it, right? Actually, wrong. Such stressful times call for increased levels of social media activity. It is an ideal time for you to create and push relevant content such as blog posts, helpful infographics, PDFs, free resources, podcasts, Instagram live etc. So by the time this pandemic is over (which it will be), you will have made your organization stay
However, do keep the previous point in mind. Be empathetic towards any kind of audience you’re targeting. Unless it is something related to the present pandemic it is not wise to put self-promotional content out there. Not only will it seem untasteful but will also bring in negative reactions towards your brand or organisation.
5. Proceed With Empathy
This is the time when everyone could use a little bit of kindness. As leaders, you set the example for many. While it’s important to ensure that the business operations keeps running as smoothly as ever, it’s also important to acknowlege that we are facing a global crisis at hand. Your employees might not be physically affected by it but it will certainly be having a toll on their mental health. Thus, remember to be empathetic when making key decisions now.
- These tough times call for a bit of motivation every now and then. Provide online counselling sessions for employees who might be too stressed out from the current happenings.
- Health workers and other emergency professions are working day and night to control the flow of the virus. Encourage employees as well as yourself to donate even a small amount of your earnings to the global fight against the Covid-19.
- Keep your goals realistic. If your workforce has just moved to a remote working arrangement, it will be tough for them to get adjusted right away.
Anjan Pathak is a Co-founder and CTO at Vantage Circle – an Employee Engagement Platform. Anjan is an HR technology enthusiast, very passionate about employee wellness and actively participates in the growth of the corporate culture. He is an avid reader and likes to be updated in the latest know-hows of Human Resource.
Pandemic stock photo by zabanski/Shutterstock