Mankind has seen challenges from the very beginning. We have been challenged some way or the other numerous times throughout our lifespan. Be it a major epidemic such as the Spanish Flu (1918-1920) causing a global pandemic or the SARS outbreak (2002 – 2004), the global disruption been disastrous, converging towards a great loss of lives, businesses being shut down, creating a disbalance in the normal economic activities, globally. But, there is one thing which we have always been able to come up with, solutions. As by nature, humans adapt as well as evolve when the situation demands. Change is inevitable and is a must.
As Charles Darwin once said – “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
We start to learn ways to bring about changes and keep things going, be it a business or your daily chores, we evolve.
With the current situation building up to be no less than a global catastrophe, COVID-19 as a crisis has taught us even more than we could ever have thought of. Leaders across the globe are understanding the need for technology, the need for proper investments in the healthcare sector, and the need for businesses to be more cautious about their employees well being in order to keep things running smoothly.
The pandemic left us again in a situation where we need to be more agile and keep in mind sustainability especially when it comes to running an organization.
The question now is, which are the immediate needs for leaders when it comes to building a more agile organisation keeping in mind the sustainability of all the business processes.
Here are 7 most critical factors to keep in mind –
- Technology Adaptability :
Traditional organisations which were extremely technologically handicapped, have now turned their ways to leverage the same, not because they needed it, but because they had to. And turns out, this actually helped them!
Tech adoption with Digital transformation has now become the existential need in almost all business verticals in order to tackle this pandemic. With the majority of consumers shifting towards a more digitally enabled environment, organisations now need to implement best practices in terms of transforming their business processes into an output that can be digitally sound, leading to a more integrated and calibrated workforce. As the need for remote work gets an uprise, organisations are now realizing the need to concentrate on ways to configure their work with technology.
The enterprises that lead or have an edge in the digital maturity curve were noted to be better equipped to handle the crisis beforehand whereas those who were not ‘digitally sound’, found it difficult to cope up with the growing changes in the way an organisation would function in these times. It is high time that organisations start to understand that remote-work is here to stay and staggered work shifts are going to be prevalent throughout this year and the coming year as well. Handling such challenges demands orgs to be more tech-centric.
- Increase Visibility for your Employees :
With large enterprises, we often forget that not every employee has a proper communication channel in order to gain more clarity and visibility to his/her tasks and also to what are the plans of the organisation in the near future.
Visualization can be done from 2 lenses, one is the employee lens where she/he is clear in his head of what are his immediate tasks to do, and one is the organisational lens which helps its employees to concretize those visualisations and provide clarity on what are the upcoming plans, especially in these times of crisis
- Talking from an employee lens –Visualising one’s work helps in seeing things from a different perspective. Whether we are dealing with projects, plans, or even open-ended ideas, visual mapping helps gain immediate clarity to help order, prioritise, share, and review it personally and with your team. Creating agile information dashboards provides real-time, tactile communication channels for collaborating and maintaining a shared understanding throughout the organisation. This will definitely help in breaking down business silos and encourage cross-team working.
- Talking from an organisation lens – It’s important that every team leader/manager/business process owner provide a clear path of communication to their reportees and to their subordinates. With most teams working in staggered shifts, it’s very important to communicate with the team as a whole as well as with each member separately. This helps in creating a more agile and productive team.
- Performance Management :
Managing employee performance is not going to be the same as what we have been seeing in the year 2019. Organisations can’t simply an absolute target specific metric assess workforce productivity. One needs to make growth the major focus for performance management
A very interesting fact which might be very evident is that many people hugely overestimate the motivating effects of money and completely underestimate the impact of a manager or a peer or even a subordinate who helps employees to grow. One cannot simply deny that progression is what motivates employees the most. As an employee, we would want a manager who helps us to grow. This links like a moth to a flame that performance management is about growth, both, in terms of knowledge and career.
Focussing on how the organisation portrays performance in these times has been one of the most important aspects towards an agile organisation.
- Virtual Pat on the Back – Rewards and Recognition:
It’s true that incentivizing performance right now is going to be a difficult task given that there are some definite financial losses which most organisations are facing now. So how can you tackle this situation? Is it going to be a proper solution to completely dismantle the way Rewards and Recognition work? No right! You need reward and recognition in order to keep the employees not only engaged but also to make them feel that they are a crucial part of the organisation.
Handling this isn’t easy but not impossible. Certain HRMS Providers have a very intuitive and flexible rewards and recognition program builder which can solve for your immediate needs. You can set up different programs based on the orgs needs and gamify the entire platform to make it more lively by having digital badges and personalized citations which would be available on the profile of the employee. Sounds interesting right!
- Updating or Adding Critical Policies:
Every central government has rolled out specific guidelines for organisations to keep in mind of when most of their workforce are working from office or even from home. These critical guidelines need to be communicated throughout the organization either in terms of new policy additions or updating the old policies.
Just adding/updating policies will not be sufficient enough when it comes to delivering communication, organisations have to make it mandatory for its employees to sign off these policies, preferably via digital signatures and make them understand the vitality of the piece of information.
- Making sure that there are daily health checks done
- Making sure that a hazard assessment of the workplace
- Encouraging employees to wear masks/face coverings in the workplace
The above mentioned points are some of the crucial factors to look out for. If you need to know more about the guidelines, here is an informative article for reading.
- Prioritise Employee Safety :
We are now at a stage where having 100% Remote Work would not be possible, especially for organisations which deal heavily with on field operations. While employees who work in the self-contained bubbles of their homes keep a large segment of the workforce safe, it is definitely more difficult for that part of the workforce which can’t.
And how do you tackle this? A number of organisations are quarantining objective-critical business functions that must remain in operation, isolating physical spaces where these employees can do their work without coming into contact with other people. A few of the energy companies are even exploring the idea of having power plant operators remain at the plant for the night in order to minimize exposure to germs.
Looking from a broader angle, such measures may seem to be extreme. But given the current scenario, once everything comes back to some sort of normal, these can surely be disbanded when social distancing is no longer required.
The one thing this pandemic has made incredibly clear is, just how critical it is to pay attention to building health by managing proper ventilation, air filtration, cleaning, and facility management preparedness. Coming back to work is critical, but keeping employees safe is the utmost priority.
Historically, we are prone to adapting to all sorts of situations and coping up by evolving. Be it an organisation or self, change is important and the crisis has taught us just that.
Stay Safe, Stay Healthy 🙂