14 Apr 2020, 17:24 — 5 min read
The current scenario of turbulence and chaos has impacted all aspects of business. However, the most valuable and appreciative asset which needs to be taken care of right now are ‘people’. Hence people practices displayed now will differentiate the leaders of business from the rest. All the talks of values, ethics and engagement practices will be put to test now when the people need to be taken care of.
All what is happening is very sad and unfortunate for business and totally beyond the control of anyone. People assets need to be handled very carefully since once this storm passes people assets will mobilise all other assets such as capital, machine, processes, customers, competitors, brand, business growth. Organisations that will demonstrate and practice what they have been talking so far will gain in the long run.
This is the time to coach and mentor the people. There may be moments of distraction, lack of purpose, no clarity, feeling low, anxiety etc. This may affect families as well.
A few inputs for business owners to keep in mind:
The easiest option is to reduce head count and lay off, however the knowledge experience and the trust also goes out along with it. Once things stabilize, and one day it will, finding good employees may be difficult. This is not a matter of non-performance but a force de majeure scenario. This is not a recommended option. It is possible to reach a win-win solution.
It is a good idea as a business leader to talk to all your employees, do not discuss work but just talk at a human level. Connect, share the challenges. Please do not delegate this to HR. As a business leader maintaining the people connect personally will go a long way to establish credibility.
These are difficult times. Home office will be a reality. All employees may not be adequately prepared for home office scenario. Have trust and give benefit of doubt wherever possible. Be empathetic and engaging while you dialogue. As a business leader ensure the line managers also display the same. Needless to say this does not mean anywhere low demand on productivity or professionalism. The focus is to be more empathetic.
Also read: The truth about trust
Lock down is akin to a soldier waiting in the barrack for action to start. There may be moments of distraction, lack of purpose, no clarity, feeling low, anxiety etc. This may affect families as well. This is the time to coach and mentor the people.
Share openly the situation of the business, extent of loss, loss of customers, no new business, loss of business. Normally leaders are adept at putting up a brave face by not sharing the bad news and keeping the morale high. But a scenario of disruption may be a matter of collateral damage. It is therefore just not about one person, many others may be affected. Hence it is a good idea to openly talk about the extent of loss and challenge. Objective is to get people as stakeholders so that there is better understanding and handling of the scenario.
Have a plan ready for the reset day, the day when things will start afresh. As a leader having a plan ready to start again will be a key task. Roles, responsibilities, accountabilities should be planned well for people.
Once things stabilise and all are back to work it may not be a good idea to remind the employee about your magnanimity that no salary was cut or no job was on line. As a business leader what was correct was done. Employees will see and remember the gesture, hence no need to remind this always to the employees. Humility and character will be needed to ensure an act of responsibility does not look like an act of obligation.
Turbulent times are opportunities to display that people is the core element of business. With everything gone if one is left with people, one can rebuild everything from scratch many times over. I hope and believe that very soon this shall be over.
Also read: Quantum mechanics, spirituality & leadership
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Posted byDebashish Das
Leadership and Business Growth Coach with over 20 years of experience in coaching and consulting. Specialist in HR, Strategy, Business Growth for SME and Corporates. As a coach...
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