Today, companies are having to quickly adapt to doing business from a different perspective, both mentally and physically. It’s critical to have a leadership team that is focused on doing what’s best for your customers and employees. With so much downsizing caused by this pandemic, there is no more room for job loss or hits to the economy. It’s also important mentally for people to stay focused and busy.
There are many things that company leaders can do to help navigate this difficult situation. Here are some best practices for getting through the COVID-19 crisis as successfully and healthy as possible.
Begin by creating and implementing a crisis plan. Make sure that this plan is visited and updated often as the virus and business environment change. An article by McKinsey titled, “Beyond coronavirus: The path to the next normal,” explains the five horizons that every executive should use to ensure an organization’s rapid response, adaptation to change and reemergence in a position of strength.
Set expectations and have an open line of communication with employees and customers. A lack of communication breeds fear in people.
- Customers and employees — Create a web page dedicated to providing important information regarding the company and facts about the virus. This page should allow anyone to find out exactly what you’re doing as a company, as well as have access to reputable resources. It’s also nice to include positive or uplifting information or videos. Here is an example from True Influence.
- Customers/partners — Be sure to communicate with your customers to let them know how you are handling business during the crisis, and exactly what you are doing to help support them and their business.
- Employees — Constant and open communication with employees is crucial. They are being inundated with news that can be scary and stressful. Remember to reinforce that your company is supporting their mental, physical and financial well-being. Two easy ways to stay in touch are video conferences and emails. Hold frequent video conferences to enable employees to maintain the face-to-face contact they are used to in a traditional business environment. This can be an all-company meeting or smaller department meetings. Send frequent emails to all employees with information on the company, relevant facts about the virus and staying safe, and add fun activities or videos to help relieve stress.
Make sure everyone has a proper work environment at home. With the technology that’s available today, working from the safety of home is an easy solution. Make sure your employees have the computers, software and apps necessary to accomplish their jobs successfully. Leaders must be more relaxed during these times and understand that employees have children at home now too and there may be interruptions. To build morale, you can do video calls specifically to highlight the kids and their talents — playing piano, singing, drawing or just talking on camera. This fun activity not only relieves stress from the employees but helps build confidence in the kids.
Encourage your employees to follow general safety guidelines, such as staying home, washing hands and wearing a face mask and gloves when it’s necessary to leave the house. Encourage them to take breaks during the day and spend time with their families, creating a balance between their work and personal lives. Also, encourage them to stay active and get fresh air whenever possible for their mental and physical well-being during the crisis.
Monitor any new legislation that pertains to your business or your customers’ business and make adjustments to your business protocol as necessary.
Remember that as the COVID-19 crisis changes, so does the business world. Make sure to plan for all levels of the crisis and communicate your plans clearly to employees and customers/partners. As company leaders, it’s crucial now more than ever to honor your commitment to your employees and customers by making their emotional, physical and financial well-being the top priorities.
Brian Giese is Chief Executive Officer of True Influence, which he co-founded with Chief Technology Officer RK Maniyani in 2008. Brian is a recognized thought leader in marketing and sales process, analytic CRM and database marketing, with more than 30 years of operational experience. Brian drives True Influence’s vision of combining innovative technology with marketing expertise to help businesses connect with the right B2B purchase decision-makers. He is passionate about how the smart use of data can improve marketing ROI and fuel higher revenues.