Written by Benjamin for iqDynamics
The world as we know it has certainly been shaken up as a result of the spread of COVID-19 and the subsequent lock downs. Most plans for expansion and growth within organisations have been thrown out of the window with Singapore facing a much deeper than expected recession.
In the wake of so much uncertainty, pay cuts and job losses are likely to be inevitable and will remain an issue that will plague the Singaporean economy for the next 6 to 12 months according to a Bloomberg report.
With most businesses focusing on just getting through the days ahead, consolidation and cash conservation is the name of the game. However, the importance of planning for the days ahead should not be forgotten.
The key to remaining competitive during such difficult times lies in the ability of the leadership team to plan for the future. Doing so allows a business to quickly recover from a slump in order to capitalize on any potential opportunities.
Here, we take a look at how organizations can make the best of this downtime to recover and plan out their next step.
With the gradual reopening of the economy under phase 2 of the circuit breaker, several restrictions were lifted that allowed for the resumption of certain business activities.
While any business owner would be eager to quickly resume operations, plans need to be put into place to ensure that employees have a safe and comfortable environment to work in.
Due in part to their nature i.e. plenty of shared surfaces and the close proximity, viruses can be easily spread in an office. Hence HR professionals will need to coordinate with members of the leadership team to educate employees on the importance of hygiene, social distancing in the office and most importantly to follow safe management measures set by MOM.
A better alternative would be to encourage employees to work remotely for the foreseeable future. Besides minimizing the risk of infection, work from home arrangements will be able to allay fears that employees may have about contracting COVID-19.
Despite the benefits of allowing employees to work from home during this period, the mental stress of extended isolation can and will take its toll on the mental health of employees. From job security related anxiety to the pressure to perform, employers need to be aware of the challenges faced by their staff.
Hence, organizations will need to seriously reassess their methods of employee engagement. This can range from conducting regular pulse check sessions to check up on employee well being to providing clear and consistent messages on the direction that the business is heading in.
Ensuring that employees are well-informed at all times can eliminate speculation or gossip that will only serve to distract employees from the actual job at hand. Additionally in such uncertain times, employees are likely to be more appreciative of an employer who chooses to remain honest despite the circumstances.
With organizations all over the world retrenching staff at an unprecedented rate, millions have been left unemployed in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. While recruitment may be the last thing on any employer’s mind, the widespread availability of top-quality talent is indeed difficult to resist.
Adventurous managers may see this as the perfect opportunity to snap up as much top-talent as possible to leverage upon this sudden glut. The influx of high-performing individuals could potentially provide businesses with the shot that it needs to propel itself forwards.
An example of this can be seen by how General Motors took advantage of the economic uncertainty of the 1900s to buy out underperforming competitors in order to quickly expand their market share.
Most businesses were woefully under prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic – fact which can clearly be seen by how many operations were crippled by lock downs. Even in the midst of recovery, business owners and members of the leadership team must prepare themselves and their organizations for another crisis altogether.
Given the highly-infectious nature of the virus and the absence of an effective cure or vaccine, the relaxation of various restrictions may trigger a new outbreak and another lock down. Thus, businesses should move proactively by preparing a business continuity plan that will ensure that key operations remain undisrupted even in the midst of a crisis.
The role played by HRM systems and HR professionals respectively should not be underestimated. Furthermore, a solid business continuity plan is a low-cost investment that will pay for itself on the long-term.
There can be no doubt that things have been changed irrevocably by the COVID-19 pandemic and the impending financial meltdown. However, with the right moves and support from their organizations, savvy business owners and leaders have the potential to emerge from this crisis stronger than ever.