As the novel coronavirus storms the world, businesses stand deeply impacted. With employees forced to stay home and economies slowing down, companies are grappling to find alternative means of revenue. From designing new policies to strengthening employee relations, businesses across all sectors need to revisit their organizational development strategies to survive and emerge stronger from this crisis.
As a bespoke business consultancy service, Iris Management can extend tailor-made support to companies who want to effectively combat current market challenges. The firm offers online consulting and operations support that promotes well-being alongside a sustainable, performance-driven culture.
In that vein, here are five critical areas where Iris can offer organisational development strategies during COVID-19:
Designing a flexible communication plan that shares information around health and safety measures for the workplace is key. The plan must outline changes in operations as well as the vision for the future, conveyed clearly and effectively to internal partners, employees, and senior leadership.
The choice of the communication channel is just as crucial—some popular digital options include intranets, employee newsletters, workflow management software, document sharing, videoconferencing and podcasts. To maintain uniformity of thought, approach, and direction, it’s best to have a centralised communication channel to disseminate information. This way, each communication item’s performance can be analysed and improved without having to inspect exchanges within the entire company hierarchy.
Build on everyday policies to include measures that curb the spread of the virus. Revisit old policies, and integrate new ones to adapt to the situation at hand. Some strategies include:
• Cutting back to only business-critical operations to reduce costs and minimise resources.
• Providing cross-training to the team to perform critical functions, in the event a colleague is absent or quarantined.
• Making revisions to employee benefits and compensation, so that the company can offer compensation or paid leaves to those diagnosed with the disease, or employees who are caring for an infected family member.
• Moving site operations to a less-critical area, if possible.
Change management should be at the core of your policies and procedures. These are challenging times and they require agility, ability and clarity in response
Are your teams primed to handle the situation? Are your employees well-informed and ready to work from home? With work and leisure zones now blurred, you might find your team working longer hours, struggling to stay efficient, and edging towards a burnout.
To help them find a balance, Iris can educate your employees about remote collaboration and self-management practices. As a company, you must ensure that all necessary tools and infrastructure are in place to enable hassle-free daily operations. Management must also confirm that every member of the team is comfortable with the arrangement. There is no all-encompassing strategy that works for every employee—reach out to those facing repeated issues, and make the effort to solve them on a case-by-case basis.
This extra bit of attention can make or break a distributed workforce—after all, everyday human connections are now absent. Employees will appreciate regular interactions, virtual meetings, and an emphasis on learning and development as steps towards creating an inclusive atmosphere.
Furthermore, their performance can be boosted by online participation in impact training programmes, upskilling modules, and webinars relevant to their area of work. Provide an opportunity for certification—or just more diverse thought—so that employees may return moreaccomplished and confident when things get back to normal.
And finally, this goes without saying: if any of your team members fall sick or begin to show symptoms of infection, offer paid leave and help them secure medical attention. Gestures towards professional growth and personal well-being go a long way in fostering a sense of belonging.
As supply and distribution chains are hit, businesses are in a state of financial stasis. To grasp the bigger picture, it’s important to observe where you stand, relative to where you ought to be. Revisit your financials and assess the performance of each department. Identify how your cash flow is positioned, review your major profit and loss areas, and take action accordingly.
Businesses must show an openness to change and using alternative models of credit, if they are to pull through during duress. You cannot deploy relief-driven communications if your company’s financial framework remains fragile.
MSMEs constitute a significant share of the economy. Small business owners—whether they be cottage industries, creative startups or neighbourhood grocery stores—are struggling to clear overheads and pay employees on time. But these problems can be alleviated with timely intervention that is personalised according to your business type (product/service), target market, and its segmentation.
For instance, if certain services or products earn higher revenue, channel your resources and efforts to boost those areas, and withdraw effort from the non-performing ones. Cut back on unnecessary expenditure and focus on the bottom line. This often requires an objective view of the books by an external organization, and that’s where Iris Management can help. As an organizational development consultant, Iris employs reputed management models and a multi-stage analysis to improve performance and capability building.
Iris’ approach starts with analysing the business and identifying departmental job responsibilities. This is followed by identification of growth-inducing departments, and a breaking down of its strengths, weaknesses, competency and skills through psychometric assessment and competency mapping. Finally, a training programme is suggested for strengthening the required centres.
To ensure transparency and a broad overview, Iris provides cumulative reports of the following:
• Customer, financial, internal, and employee perspectives—in terms of strengths and possible improvisations
• An analysis of revenue and profitability targets, cash flows, expenses, and possible deficits
• The speed of your internal operations, and how you can implement quality control mechanisms
• Your employees’ satisfaction, skills, talent gaps and turnover
• Determinations of market share, customer retention, brand strength and brand identity
Armed with such insights, proprietors and business managers can efficiently realign affected operations to meet business objectives. This trickles down to bolster profit margins and stabilise financials through the worst of times.
It was Einstein who said that an opportunity lies in the middle of every difficulty. Depending on what glasses you choose to wear, the crisis can either leave your organisation hanging, or open a window to learning and revising inefficiencies. However, this can only happen if proper crises management mechanisms are in place.
Iris can support your company in conducting a post-crisis review. If the period of uncertainty is prolonged, then reviewing your financials and workflow after every new, implemented policy is another option. Despite not being the final result, it’s a barometer to gauge employee sentiments across the organization—and that of consumers—to see if your policies have been taken positively.
Company leadership must note what worked and what didn’t; encourage feedback from all stakeholders; and tuck away major lessons for future reference. These will form an integral part of the organisation’s larger crises management playbook.
Navigating the impact of a global pandemic is complicated. The last time humanity battled a disease of this scale, be it the Great Plagues or influenza, we were living in a very different world. Countries are in wait for a vaccine, but economies and productivity will continue to fluctuate.
Growing competition in the food, delivery, medical and e-commerce sectors are pushing businesses to rethink their models—to either join this wave, or at least ride it out. As a trusted and reliable organizational development consultant, we at Iris Management are happy to share our expertise with clients. Alleviate uncertainty around business operations andhelp your team adapt to the new normal, with an appointment today.