We are all in an unprecedented situation with no rule book to refer to. The corona virus has hit us all, globally, with far reaching impact on individuals, small scale and large organizations alike, the economy at large. The current quasi lock down, with ban on social gatherings, schools, malls, cinema halls being shut down in different states, offices being shut down, work from home being advocated, individuals and families self-isolating to prevent spread of infection, are all good measures to prevent the situation from taking pandemic proportions in India.
At the same time, it is posing problems for businesses. How do we maintain business and work continuity in such situations? How do we manage, motivate and drive remote teams? How do we conduct events, that we normally do at the beginning or end of the year? How do we conduct performance appraisals and difficult conversations over a call? How do we complete selection processes? How do we ensure that employees continue to feel engaged with the organization?
These are all very valid questions and need to be addressed NOW. So that when things get back to normal, your workforce comes back stronger, charged to take on those stretch targets and assignments, which will come because the industry would have lost a month/ month and half of business. All companies will have to catchup, and now is the time to help build that engagement and resilience in the teams.
So, what do we do?
1. Business processes that need to be tweaked to ensure remote working succeeds. Review your way of working, process flows etc and ensure people are enabled to do their job.
2. Build managerial capability to keep employees engaged through this period. Instill simple processes, daily/ weekly reviews, skip level calls to ensure employees and their families are well.
3. Stretch your leave/ medical policy to extend support to those who need it. Ensure Insurance companies and TPAs are engaged and spoken to respond quickly in times of emergency.
4. Engage employees in new learning projects. Develop something new, new ideas, new processes.
5. Continue bite sized learnings through online programs/ zoom sessions and webinars. At this time webinars on how to work remotely, manage self and others, psychological safety, managing stress and crisis will make sense and signal to your workforce that you care.
6. Ongoing communication from Leaders- over zoom call/ emailers to keep employees engaged with what’s happening in the organization at a business and employee health and well-being level.
7. Build Empathy- This is new to all of us and each individual, whether a leader, manager or an individual contributor would be dealing with some issue or the other. Build empathy is your conversations. Listen to what the other is saying and be there to help.
Let’s all remember, this too shall pass. And we shall emerge stronger, braver and more resilient. We just need to work together on building a strong, engaged and resilient workforce.