At the time of writing this blog, the numbers are grim. Globally, there are over 2.5 million active cases of the novel coronavirus, while the death toll stands at 300,000-plus.
We’ve ruminated enough about stalled business operations, the slump in financial markets, and the march towards a recession. Companies are trying to grapple with new and uncertain ways of doing business. As fear spreads faster than the virus, how a brand pivots and responds to customer concerns will have a lasting effect on its reputation.
Countries, provinces, states and cities are implementing staggered stay-at-home orders. Wherever possible,businesses are coping via a rapid transition to remote working. Other than essential services, most grey and white-collar workplaces have shuffled their employees, managers and senior directors home for an undefined period to align with social distancing protocols.
This workplace disruption requires confronting the challenges associated with a distributed workforce; the need to adopt new measures and deploy technologies; and reconfiguring existing models and hierarchies, affecting how they interact with society at large.
A trusted business management consultant like Iris can reinstate a sense of equilibrium into your day-to-day operations. Rebuild your employees’ capacity for productivity and make sure your revenue models remain stable during these difficult times.
With the depth of expertise across management, organisation, human resources and people-friendly measures, here are some areas where Iris can lend a hand:
Clarity is vital in such times. Employees need to be aware of the impact the health crisis has had on their organisation,and the problem areas that need attention. But what is the best way for management to communicate these issues? What should be the level of disclosure? Should bare facts be revealed—that a business is significantly struggling—or should bad news be kept under wraps temporarily? With continued layoffs, it’s a panic-stricken time for employers and employees alike.
For any organisation, their workforce is their greatest asset. For employees to drive change, they have a right to know what they’ll receive in exchange for their labour during a pandemic. Will there be salary cuts or delays? What safety measures will the company be taking? And willwork modes become more challenging?
Iris Management Consultant can help develop an internal communication strategy that understands and empathises with employee welfare while being forward-looking.This gives everyone a heads-up on what is to come. Iris can also help businesses strengthen their internal social platforms to interact with one another and address each other’s concerns.
This may present formidable challenges for a business, regardless of whether they have a work-from-home policy in place, or are implementing it for the first time. The company management needs to understand and pre-empt the problems employees could face, and supply the necessary tools and infrastructure to smoothly run remote work stations. Iris Management Consultant can help make this transition seamless by quickly identifying gaps and suggesting the best tools and technologies to resolve them.
For instance, Slack is a great option for team communication, courtesy of its segregated channels and file sharing features. Google Meet and Microsoft Teams are popular (and now, free) videoconferencing platforms that enable face-to-face interactions, supplemented by call recording and collaboration tool features. For greater privacy in messaging, there’s signal, which guarantees end-to-end encryption in video calling.
Entrepreneurs must recalibrate their financials to stay afloat and avoid making hasty budgeting decisions. Iris simplifies this process with a multi-tier approach that identifies your company’s profit and growth centres. Not only do we provide comprehensive reports that inspect key performance indicators like total compensation cost, market share, employee turnover and deficits, but we also analyse qualitative domains.
This includes consumer satisfaction, workforce planning, HR practices that could lift profitability, and even the potential for expansion based on emerging market demands.
Employees undoubtedly benefit when recognised for their hard work. For a morale boost during this global crisis, Iris offers reward management and incentive strategies. Design a programme that recognises good performance without inflating overall expenses, assess where to bestow financial versus total rewards, and fix a realistic pay to incentive ratio that works for both you and your employees.
Times of crisis can also present an opportunity for brands to redefine their communication strategy and relay key messaging more effectively to allay consumer concerns. Iris can help identify the gaps in your current brand strategy and suggest suitable steps to tweak them to adapt to the crisis. Consumers want to know how their favourite brands are responding, about timely innovations, and how these brands plan to continue operations.
Iris can help you identify how to expand your workforce to take on additional challenges and address security issues. If you’re in immediate need of a work-from-home policy, Iris can help you assess your capability and set up a contingency plan to build on your existing infrastructure. Quick but effective upgrades, such as implementing a secure virtual desktop software that allows your team to access confidential office files using a browser, is an option.
Similarly, you can also invest in a Mobile Device Management solution (MDM), which doesn’t require visits to a physical office. Your IT department can centrally manage devices that use different providers and operating systems, and load applications remotely.
Devising such a plan boosts awareness among employees, management and key stakeholders. They are informed of the stress level of a situation, the challenges presented by the market, and the steps the organisation needs to take to adapt to it. A rigorous assessment will help a company combine new lessons with the requisite procedures for navigating abrupt disruptions in order to achieve its overall goal. Subject to necessary modifications, this change management plan can then become an integral part of the company’s crises management playbook.
While the pandemic acts as a catalyst for new policies and work cultures, we anticipate it will fundamentally alter the way we work and engage with our employees. Those in management roles will need to take steps for capability building to maintain productivity and revenue volumes and confidently manage the fallout from this global transition.