COVID-19 has brought about extreme uncertainty around the world and it is impacting everyone on personal and professional fronts. Indeed, these are difficult and unprecedented times, especially when uncertainty, fear, grief and pain are the emotions spreading across the world, leaving people really unsure of the future.
An organization reverberates its culture through resonant leadership. Employees are now looking up to the executive teams and the management to take actions that will help secure them and the business. The pressure and urgency make it tempting to act quickly, but organizations also need to measure the consequences in the future. More than ever, the leaders now need to demonstrate high trust in their people. A resilient organization not only survives the crises but also finds ways to generate value for its workforce and other stakeholders along the way.
Here are a few ways through which you can guide your teams through this crisis:
- Consider how COVID-19 has impacted everyone:
The first and foremost thing that the organizations did or can do to ensure the emotional, psychological and physical well-being of every employee as well as their families & friends is to give them a set of directives on how to stay safe, seek out the most comprehensive information from reliable sources and create a system of constant support. Great organizations, in an endeavor to have a safe workplace, released Employee Health & Safety Advisories & Emergency preparedness plans much in advance. They offered the employees to work remotely much before the lockdown became effective.
- Communicate openly:
Open & transparent communication is the need of the hour. Communication is a two way street. Monologues can be motivational for a certain time but what inspires is a dialogue. Regular morning meetings with the teams, weekly updates with the larger group, fortnightly business reviews to calibrate budget plans and connecting with the entire organization on online platforms with the Leadership team will work wonders. This enables employees to keep a responsible mindset rather than letting fear and uncertainty lead to a victim mindset. Leaders should demonstrate an inclusive mind-set and involve employees in the decision making process or finding solutions to the business problems.
- Infrastructure - Emerging technologies for lifelong learning and success:
Technology is the disruptor or the game changer at this time. While we emphasize on the aspect of communication; nothing can be practically achieved without having a solid IT infrastructure and technology. Companies who have shied away from investing in such technology in the past should now strengthen themselves by devising the right kind of infrastructure to ensure a steady flow of communication in such trying times. While some such developments may not be feasible in this limiting environment, out-of-the-box alternatives are readily available that can be easily adapted to suit any organization’s requirements, whether big or small. The underlying idea is to stay open towards these and continue investing in the necessary tools required to maintain work and keep people together.
- Remove financial concerns:
Leaders have to make sure that their people can keep working safely and comfortably in a manner that keeps them financially secure. The salaries / benefits should continue to be provided to employees on time, as far as possible. There could arise a need to take some temporary measures in these difficult times but if pay reductions do become an absolute necessity, then they should start from the top.
- Prepare for economic downturn:
Leaders should strategize & run financial models with recession assumptions to assure the business is prepared for the future. They should refine recession and post-recession strategies and determine what will be required to drive innovation by all concerned. All efforts made by the organizations in the past to create a diverse and inclusive workplace should not be erased due to the disruptions caused by this pandemic. Building a high trust culture at this time will ensure organizations emerge stronger than ever before after the clouds of this pandemic move away.
- Engage, Inspire & Develop People:
So many digital platforms are available wherein employees can be engaged meaningfully while they are working remotely. So, why can’t organizations use these platforms to engage, inspire & develop people? The use of social media judiciously for online learning and playful engagements can not only keep the spirits high, but also ensure that the commitment and coherence of the company stays afloat.
Managers should avoid micromanaging; they should not be judging their team members negatively by the number of breaks, social media time or the hours someone puts in while working from home. Our world has changed faster than we anticipated and Work from Home and managing from home is here to stay as a norm even after the lockdown. Our leaders & managers need to be prepared to enable remote work instead of being the remote control.