LEADING THROUGH CHANGE: CRISIS MANAGEMENT & THE CORONAVIRUS
The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has impacted a number of businesses across a variety of industries, forcing leadership teams to rethink their daily operations to ensure the safety of their employees, the general public, and the company’s financial health.
As the COVID-19 outbreak evolves, businesses face growing uncertainty as to how this pandemic will affect their operations long term. This is especially true when you consider that many organizations—including bars, restaurants, entertainment venues, retailers and manufacturers—have had to close their doors or cease operations as a result of COVID-19. Not only has this severely impacted their ability to serve their customers, but, for some, it has also led to indefinite disruptions—disruptions that could impact their bottom line.
As you’re looking to evolve and protect your organization, we’ve included an overview below of methods to help your business prepare and navigate through these unprecedented times. You can also Download The Full Ebook: “Leading Through Change: Crisis Management & The Coronovirus” by Clicking Here.
Creating a plan for your business is crucial as this crisis evolves. The following are some insights of how you should be thinking about developing a plan amongst COVID-19 and how you can continue to modify your operations as you continue to keep a pulse on the situation.
- Ensure the plan is flexible and involve your employees in developing and reviewing your plan.
- Conduct a focused discussion or exercise using your plan, to find out ahead of time whether the plan has gaps or problems that need to be corrected.
- Share your plan with employees and explain what human resources policies, workplace and leave flexibilities, and pay and benefits will be available to them.
- Share best practices with other businesses in your communities (especially those in your supply chain), chambers of commerce, and associations to improve community response efforts.
- Identify essential business functions, essential jobs or roles, and critical elements within your supply chains (e.g., raw materials, suppliers, subcontractor services/products, and logistics) required to maintain business operations. Plan for how your business will operate if there is increasing absenteeism or these supply chains are interrupted.
Reduce Employee Exposure
- Identify possible work-related exposure and health risks to your employees. OSHA has more information on how to protect workers from potential exposures to COVID-19.
- Explore whether you can establish policies and practices, such as flexible worksites (e.g., telecommuting) and flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts), to increase the physical distance among employees and between employees and others if state and local health authorities recommend the use of social distancing strategies. For employees who are able to telework, supervisors should encourage employees to telework instead of coming into the workplace until symptoms are completely resolved. Ensure that you have the information technology and infrastructure – guidance, training, tools –needed to support multiple employees who may be able to work remotely.
Master working remotely
- Plan for how to proceed if extended telecommuting becomes difficult for your business operations. Identify additional risks that might come into play with remote work like fraud or data breaches and create a plan around putting tools into place to mitigate those risks.
- Be flexible with business processes, leadership styles and communication rhythms to set your newly remote workers up for success. Make sure expectations are clearly set and you’re communicating regularly with your team. You can even share guidelines around when to use video and when audio will work and appropriate work backgrounds and attire.
- Make sure employees know steps and who to go to with IT or HR questions. Since you can’t just pop over to the IT director’s seat when you’re working remotely, make sure your team knows how to reach the right people if they have issues or questions. And, on the flip, side, make sure your IT and HR teams have someone available and easily accessible to answer questions.
- Review human resources policies – Remove Work, Travel Policy, Sick Leave – to make sure that policies and practices are consistent with public health recommendations and are consistent with existing state and federal workplace laws (for more information on employer responsibilities, visit the Department of Labor’s and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s websites)