Putting People at the Heart of Business Recovery

The COVID-19 spread is still prevalent, but businesses around the world are looking ahead to the time when their employees can safely return to work. To get back to business and subsequently recoup lost revenue, many organizations are running spreadsheets to see how many people spaced six feet apart will fit in an office, figuring out ever-evolving safety measures and adaptations to their brick-and-mortar offices.

As operating models evolve during recovery, leaders need to adopt a more “people-centric” approach to change management rather than simply exerting authority. The current economy has disrupted organizations and forced leaders to rethink their roles in an organization. In this time when recovery is every business’s priority, it’s also essential to examine the evolving people landscape.

Put some thought into restructuring

For balancing the retention rate, switch to basics. Use Maslow’s theory of the hierarchy of needs if you need to. Sensitize your workforce as per their hierarchy. Help team leads understand each individual’s needs, which can include compensation, perks, recognition, up-skilling, re-skilling, and more. While you restructure the workforce, understand the perspective of all stakeholders. Focus on your staff’s wellbeing as you sustainably shift to flexible/remote working models.

Rely on empathetic communication

Reimagining the workforce after such a hiatus is a daunting task. It’s puzzling to bring people back to the workplace and address the challenges of creating a sense of belonging, common purpose and shared identity when some people remain at work in their homes and some in offices.  Plus, anxiety remains a big part of the workplace as the pandemic continues to impact the economy, adding an additional layer of concern.

Some managers may have a learning curve when it comes to managing teams in the new normal. But, not communicating enough can lead to feelings of FOMO (fear of missing out) among team members, not to mention rumors and other miscommunication.

The COVID-19 crisis has been emotionally challenging for many people, changing day-to-day life in unprecedented ways, making empathetic and personalized communication essential.

Train for mutual advantage

One of the biggest concerns for organizations is the decrease in productivity during countless hits and trials of business recovery. That means up-skilling or re-skilling people to enable them to perform effectively in a new role with the same levels of productivity should be a priority. Training the current employees on emerging technologies will truly help them move up the value chain and increase productivity. This way, you will not only up-skill them for future roles, but they will also be motivated to deliver more. Those efforts also help employees feel engaged and valued during uncertain times.

Make the most of technology

The use of technology in your HR operations can play an important role when each individual is challenged to contribute to revenue retrieval. It will give you the power to analyze and make quick, near-perfect decisions to keep your employees happy. For instance, artificial intelligence can be a great choice for carrying out surveys and gathering feedback in real-time. This will enable you to see a detailed productivity map at any given point in time and retune your engagement plan, policies, and processes accordingly.

Invest in their wellbeing

Create a culture of wellbeing that puts individual resilience and wellbeing front and center. Take a holistic approach towards employee wellness as an initiative, helping your employees to focus on both physical and mental health. Here, at IT By Design, we’re doing virtual exercise classes, as well as offering virtual meditation rooms.

Though daily virtual townhalls, our leaders address top of mind questions directly and keep a regular pulse check on how our people are doing. We have also introduced a bunch of virtual fun options – The Movie Club, Ladies’ Lunches, and Fun Friday quiz competitions so our employees spend time collectively, blowing off steam.

Final Thoughts: As businesses scale back to pre-COVID times—let us hope—leaders can seize the moment to support their employees by communicating empathetically and putting a great deal of thought in all training and development initiatives.