The people factor – why engagement is critical during the coronavirus crisis
At a time of crisis, nothing is more important than your people, and as a business owner there are a lot of very complex and serious issues at play.
This is an unparalleled situation and people will understandably be both anxious and uncertain. As a management team it’s vital that you offer your team confident leadership and clear direction in the face of adversity.
Keeping your people safe, motivated and enabled to do their jobs will be a major challenge for HR teams and the wider organisation. They will need to feel re-assured and secure, as well as understanding their positions. These are complex and emotive issues that can’t be taken lightly or without due diligence.
Engaging staff is crucial for keeping people motivated and re-assured of their roles. It’s essential for the well-being of both your staff and the business as a whole.
Resourcing is changing. New customer and client demands mean additional capacity may be urgently needed in some areas, while under-used in others.
Succession planning for critical roles might be required at short notice, and the skills that are needed in key business areas might have changed.
Supporting staff will be a challenge for HR. Your employees will be anxious to understand their rights, obligations and benefit entitlements, as well as trying to adapt their working arrangements to new demands
Relocating staff across international borders will be more common, whether as part of business continuity strategies or for personal reasons. This presents a range of unexpected logistical and tax issues to address. Employees currently on international secondments may wish to return to their home countries or need additional support.
Actions to consider
Constantly reviewing the immediate impacts of the situation is essential. Information you find that’s relevant to your business needs to be communicated and used to update your employee value proposition; capacity and capabilities; scenario planning; and immediate strategic requirements.
Communication with your teams is vital. Help them understand what will change, share your approach and be clear about where they can go for support. Make sure you’re listening and adapting to feedback effectively.
Create engagement plans and support functions to manage change and minimise uncertainty. Protect both your people and your business through training and succession planning, and explore all the options around reduction, retention and flexibility of your workforce, while delivering against changing market conditions.
Better times are ahead!
When this unprecedented situation is over, you will have a wealth of experience in dealing with crisis situations and continuity planning. Be sure to document the steps you’ve taken and what you’ve discovered. Incorporate what you’ve learned from increased remote working and other solutions into your new standard operating procedures.
Questions to consider
What is your plan to support your people?
Is your team engaged and resourced in the right areas to deliver on your top business priorities?
How will a reduction in revenue impact the affordability of your workforce?
Are your health and hygiene policies and processes clear and relevant?
Could additional training increase agility and resilience across your organisation?
If you require strategic advice and support during this challenging and unprecedented time, please don’t hesitate to contact our team here.