Hitting the Reset Button: Changes in Strategy with your Biggest Asset – People!

As governments figure out how to get people safely back to work, now is the perfect time for idled business owners to hit the reset button and begin considering their re-start strategies!  Evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your pre-and post-COVID workforce will help you discover how changes in strategy and staffing could result in a leaner, more adaptable organization.  Following are three suggestions:

1. Review and revise your overall business strategy.

Reinventing, realigning, or reimagining your post-COVID business model is a transformation that will require only the most talented people as you relaunch your business.  If you are fortunate to be in one of the industries that could explode due to “pent-up demand,” you should wonder,  are my people capable of change and ready for the challenge?  Two areas to evaluate are:
– Could you experience critical gaps in your labor pool?    
– Are executives and managers up to the task of leading with empathy, and with the commitment, calm, and decisiveness to do the challenging work of restoring your business to profitability?

First, furloughed employees should make up the majority of your workforce, but you should expect gaps.  If new knowledge and skills requirements could give you the extra boost you need, or if you plan a sluggish relaunch and you have limited capital, hiring temporary or contingency professionals could bring the bandwidth you need without the commitment.   

Next, since effective leadership is critical for any company in crisis, your strategic review must include an evaluation of your executive and managerial team.  Your leaders should be highly supportive, but also able to communicate the urgency of the mission, get things done, and inspire the same commitment and productivity from their teams.  If you don’t have the right team in place, take steps to launch an executive search today. 

2. Plan your new organizational design.

 Your next step should look at how people will get work done in this new era.  Everyone will need physical distance, and that means designing flexible workspaces so that every person feels protected.  Remember, if people don’t feel safe, morale will suffer, so give employees a voice in how and where they wish to be productive.  Ensure there is an accommodation made for vulnerable workers, be it in the office or at home. 

Since cubes, in-person meetings, and set schedules may need to be reimagined, now is a good time to look at designing a more decentralized organizational structure.  In this type of organization, mid to low-level managers and teams are empowered to access information and make decisions aligned to meet their goals for a quicker response to opportunities and problems.  

To successfully restructure, you will need talented managers skilled in digital technology, administrative control, and oversight.  Given our recent meager unemployment rates, finding qualified talent is not easy, as some are still employed but afraid to make a move.  However, Partnership Employment’s recruiters know how to find executive and supervisory talent looking for new opportunities.  They select only the best applicants with the critical skills needed for the future, like intrepreneurship, problem-solving, flexibility, and performance management.  

3. Finally, look for Change Champions.   

When we finally get the all-clear, the temptation will be to revert to ‘business as usual.’  Resist, and look for change champions to help you transform your organization to more rapidly adapt to down cycles.  If you must make painful cuts, preserve managers, supervisors, and employees who promote a positive culture focused on the mission you set before them.  Not only will an agile and emotionally intelligent manager need to deal with physical space and remote workers, but he or she must be able to oversee sensitive health and emotional issues.  They must cope with hyper-charged interpersonal dynamics, and possibly government-mandated contact tracing should an employee become ill.  Choose well and choose wisely.

The COVID-19 crisis will not end tomorrow, and challenging decisions must be made.  Re-staffing is particularly problematic for cash-strapped business owners worried about the disruption in their employee’s lives.  But to survive COVID, the firm must revisit the mission and objectives, adjust, and prepare to maximize limited resources.  Staffing decisions must be compassionate, minimizing job loss, but at the same time be rational so that the firm survives.  But most importantly, invest in your most valuable asset – people.  

Partnership Employment’s expertise helps businesses like yours by recruiting great candidates, helping you utilize your staffing to enhance productivity, and better manage employment risk.   Our partners use sophisticated tools and industry expertise to thoroughly screen and administer skills assessments to make the right match.  Partnership Employment offers Executive Search, Direct Hire, and Temporary workers, depending on your business needs, saving you time and money so that you can focus on the vital task of rebuilding.  At Partnership Employment, we are committed to delivering superior staffing every time.

Other COVID-19 Related Blogs:

Crisis Leadership: Finding Ways to Cope with Coronavirus

Munchkin Survival Guide: Tips to Get Work Done at Home

Inspiring Acts of Kindness in Uncertain Times