How has your handling of Covid-19 affected your organization?
We’re not talking about from a healthcare, economic or political perspective. We’re talking about your organization…and perhaps you. Crisis management is about managing organizational resiliency.
- Lesson 1: We need a better plan. While some organizations may have had a contingency plan in place for what happens during an earthquake, a fire, a tornado. Most organizations don’t have a plan in place for what happens when a global pandemic hits. While it’s nearly impossible to plan for every contingency, your organization should have a plan for major disasters, data loss, and people issues (strikes, protests, threatening employees, etc.), just to name a few.
- Lesson 2: It’s not enough to have a good plan. Contingency plans need to be reviewed and updated regularly, especially if your business has undergone rapid growth and other changes. Do you have an employee notification system? Are you sure you have everyone’s updated cell phone numbers?
- Lesson 3: Silence is not golden. Your employees need to hear from you. Even if you don’t have all of the answers, that’s okay. They just need to know they are not in this alone and that the organization, and more specifically you as the leader, are there for them. It’s as simple as a quick phone call or a check-in email. From an organizational perspective, have a voice and be consistent. Keep employees informed and be open and honest.
- Lesson 4: Leaders need to lead…and make decisions. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard HR leaders say their CEO keeps deferring making a decision or how they want more and more data, but no decision follows (i.e. analysis paralysis). We’ve also heard from HR teams that their HR leader is nowhere to be found. Occasionally they may drop an email or two, but they have provided zero direction or guidance on the people strategy, hiring, etc. It’s really simple, if you’re a leader, you need to lead, especially during a crisis. If you are unable to make decisions, it may be time to do some soul searching on whether you should be in your leadership position.
- Lesson 5: Empathy does belong in business. Covid-19 isn’t an organizational illness. It’s a personal one. We were quickly “invited” into the living rooms, dining rooms, dens of our colleagues via Zoom. We got to know each other on a personal level, where the greeting wasn’t, “I hope all is well,” but instead, “How are you and your family doing right now?” The personal connection created through this crisis is something that we need to tap into, even when there isn’t a crisis.
Hindsight is always 20/20 and taking the time to think back over the past two months and reflect on our actions and behaviors as leaders is important. It’s not about placing blame or pointing fingers, but rather how can we be ready when the next crisis hits, and it’s inevitable that our organizations will face other crises. Our responses and reactions during times of uncertainty and stress are a critical factor in shaping our organizational culture. How has your handling of Covid-19 affected your organization?
We want organizations to be prepared and to feel more secure in their future responses to crises. Below are some questions to consider as you do an After Action Report on your organization. Be honest and use your responses as input to help guide your organization’s future crisis management strategy.
- How present were your leaders during Covid 19? Did this differ as time went on? For example, were they present at the beginning more so than now, two months later?
- Was there clear, consistent communication between the leadership team and the employees? What modes of communication were used?
- How did leaders check-in with employees during the crisis?
- What did employees say they needed during this crisis and how did leadership respond?
- Did you have a crisis management contingency plan in place? If so, how did you use it during this crisis? What areas of your plan need to be revisited?
High Performanceology is an advisory firm committed to creating organizations where employees thrive. Partnering with forward- thinking organizations to help build and transform executive and HR teams into agile and resilient leaders, High Performanceology helps guide organizational growth through a series of leadership, culture, HR structure and talent assessments. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.