#COVID19: 10 commandments for crisis management

Since the government’s decision to suspend non-essential economic activities on Monday March 23, operations have been affected. This crisis and confinement can weaken or strengthen your business, depending on how you manage this precious time.

A great business leader stands out not in times of economic prosperity, but in times of crisis and uncertainty. How will you adapt and emerge victorious from this crisis which is greatly affecting your human resources?? We tell you how to do it despite isolation and quarantine, from the comfort of your home.

1. A CLEAR AND REASSURING MESSAGE, YOU WILL PASS

It is also very important that you keep them informed of developments in the situation.Your communications should be frequent, reassuring and engaging on a daily basis. Making difficult decisions and explaining the reasons to employees demonstrates managerial courage.And that’s reassuring for the troops. When leaders display their leadership and caring side by side, employees are sensitive to the difficulties they are going through and they become united to ensure the survival of the company that feeds them. To ensure good, engaging communication despite the circumstances, team up with a person gifted in written communication to pass on your messages regularly.

Stéphanie Asselin, M.Sc, CRHA,Organizational development consultant:“We must pay particular attention to the stress that we convey in our verbal and written exchanges.Although we must be transparent when communicating and the demonstration of vulnerability is encouraged, we must not be alarmist or defeatist. 

Whether resources are worried about the reduction in activities, whether they are exhausted by the increase in the volume of work or by the difficulty of reconciling teleworking and personal life, be present, clear and reassuring!

2. YOU WILL GET CLOSER TO YOUR EMPLOYEES

The best companies communicate their decisions and stimulate the feeling of belonging and solidarity. The best leaders listen to their employees and ensure their well-being. They set up virtual aperitifs and “focus group» digital in order to break the feeling of isolation and to discuss the difficulties experienced. It’s about creating a positive and reassuring virtual space, a “safe place» (or security bubble) in an uncertain world where employees will tend to turn away.

You can ask the questions yourself or hire the services of a professional coach to lead these meetings. The results of these human meetings will help managers plan the recovery plan for their activities. Since no one wants to be in a hurry to draft a new teleworking policy in the midst of resuming operations, get ahead and open the discussion now.

Medina Cayer, MBA, CRHA, Adm.A, Professional Coach, Organizational Development Consultant explains:«Ask your employees to express their views on returning to normal. What do they think will happen? What will their needs be? As a manager, you want to anticipate and plan a human resumption of activities, in order to be ready and in shape when the order book fills up.Have you thought about the difficulties you will encounter if your team runs out of steam? Are they taking steps to recharge their batteries? What if some of your employees wanted to adopt the home office as their new official workplace, have you thought about your position on the subject? “.

3. YOU WILL REDUCE YOUR EXPENSES

This may seem obvious to you, but it is essential to monitor your finances. In these times of forced economic downturn, you will need to reduce your expenses and employees can help you get there.

For example, once sales representation expenses have ceased and no-cost initiatives have been prioritized, you canprovide for a freeze on salary increases and bonuses,without, however, ceasing the contribution appreciation process and recognition programs.

Also call on your employees: on a voluntary basis,Who is interested in reducing their hours and salary by 20%?The majority of individuals can absorb a 20% pay cut and appreciate the additional time off. Leaders can set the example themselves by acting first. The 4-day week was very fashionable not so long ago!

In return, we must not forget to significantly highlight the positive impact that employee solidarity has had on their organization. Talk to them about the expenses that have been reduced and the gains that have been possible thanks to their collaboration. When operations and sales resume, it will be wise to pay the amounts owed quickly and publicly thank employees who have made sacrifices for the collective good. In other words, don’t put your employees last, and show your appreciation as soon as the situation allows.

4. THE MAXIMUM JOBS YOU WILL MAINTAIN

Want to reduce further? Consider splitting the positions of your work units andfile a work-sharing application with the federal government.The shortfall will be compensated by employment insurance and you can plan for a more gradual recovery if sales do not return to normal quickly. In addition, wage subsidies of 75% have been announced and free or low-cost training can keep your resources employed and up to date in their skills. Indeed, it may seem counterintuitive, but you should take advantage of the economic downturn and wage subsidies to maximize the proficiency and effectiveness of your troops during the recovery.

New software? A new certification? A leadership coach for your executives? So much time to improve your competitive advantage. If you don’t know where to start in reorganizing shared workstations, or to get help in submitting an application to the federal government or Emploi-Québec, it It would be wise to contact an HR expert so as not to deprive your company of essential skills during the takeover.

Elyse Marineau, CRHA, Human Resources Coordinator explains to us: “If the company is still active but its activity has decreased, employees with reduced hours will be able to benefit from employment insurance.This is an excellent strategy because it allows you not to deprive yourself of valuable resources during the crisis and ensures that the employment relationship is maintained until the recovery. And the time required to complete the form has also been substantially reduced! ».

5. YOU WILL FLEXIBLE YOUR HOURS

Are your operations still active? Do you even feel growth, or an increase in your customer service? This phenomenon is known to several companies and exhausts teleworkers. In fact, individuals exchange more, share a lot of information, validate with their experts before making decisions. Thus, experts from all industries are on the front line responding to their customers, from the comfort of their home.

Very often, teleworking can be practical, comfortable, efficient, when done sparingly, or when the home office has been designed according to best ergonomic practices.

Otherwise, when sporadic teleworking becomes the new norm, the appearance of comfort can quickly prove false: inadequate work equipment for long hours at the computer and common family distractions are just two of the obstacles important to good performance at work.

Allow employees to arrange their work schedules as they see fit. The current context is ideal for empowering employees to define the operation best suited to their performance and health.Add flexibility to your collaboration mechanismsin order to promote independent management of working hours. By prioritizing health and work-life balance, you will get good returns in return.

6. YOU WILL ADDRESS LEGAL OBLIGATIONS

 If you are affected by the need for temporary layoffs, disciplinary measures or termination of employment, be sure to comply with the laws and best business practices. Don’t get carried away by stress or emotions, and don’t try to copy other companies’ strategies. Take the time to inform yourself and contextualize your decisions based on your business.

Furthermore, confined or not, you will have to tackle the time-consuming tasks of complying with labor laws, such as the Skills Act (1%) and the Pay Equity Act. Indeed,your subjugation remains despite the crisis and the deadlines for complying with it have not been postponed. Although CNESST customer service agents have reduced hours and are not able to follow up on all their current files, your legal obligations must be completed with expertise and thoroughness. Do not hesitate to take advantage of the economic slowdown to deal with these files with your internal experts, or to contact external professionals who support you while their work schedules are not overloaded as they will be when activities resume. .

For your legal obligations, if you do not employ an HR professional, do not have access to this expertise internally or would like one-off assistance, we invite you to contact us.

7. YOU WILL ATTRACT THE BEST TALENT FIRST

The Employer Brand designates all the workings of a brand image with regard to employees and potential candidates. It is also an extension of your employee experience and your candidate experience. In this context of global economic slowdown, you shouldreview your external communications and think strategically about your positioning.
It’s time to think creatively, even “ outside the box ”. During teleworking, organize an employee survey, create a virtual working committee on the theme, collect the opinions of your members on the experience and the employer brand.

Think about how you could stand out to new job seekers.With a wave of terminations during the crisis, a cohort of candidates will approach your company when the recovery takes place.

Indeed, the crisis is well underway and unemployment is already on the rise. Did you take the time to plan your labor needs at the start of the year? Take the time to review your planning, you will be able to act sooner than your competitors.

AFTER CONFINEMENT

8. YOU WILL CREATE NEW SOCIAL RELATIONS

Médina Cayer, MBA, CRHA, Adm.A, Professional Coach and Organizational Development Consultant advances:« The first days back at work will not be the most productive.Employees will need to ventilate, to tell each other how they got through the crisis, to compare themselves and to reassure themselves that what they experienced was “normal”.

Following confinement, your employees will have spent weeks isolated, with different personal contexts, and variable productivity. Some will even have developed an aversion to getting together, always wanting to keep a distance from others. Think now about what you will organize to facilitate the return to work. Your goal as a business manager will be to promote human relationships at the heart of your productivity.Your priority will be the mobilization of your troops and communication between teams.
To do this, you will first organize a large group meeting, such as a general assembly or a team dinner. During the first week and three months after the start of the school year, plan “lunch & learn» and team building activities called “team building”.Indeed, these opportunities will allow time dedicated to exchanges and therefore, will increase your daily productivity.

We strongly advise you to call on coaches who are experts in behavior and group dynamics so that this crisis strengthens your troops, and does not create professional trauma, or even dissension in the collective. Ask to see our catalog of available activities and our workshop facilitation experts to help mobilize your teams.

9.YOUR ORGANIZATION OF WORK, YOU WILL RETHINK

The crisis is coming to an end, and you are already thinking about learning from what you have learned. It’s time to take advantage of it.Think again about your work organization, its collaboration mechanisms, its equipment and its premises.It is certain that the best companies will have adapted to these new situations and will have made significant savings on current expenses such as rent. But besides the financial aspect, there is also the human aspect. Now is the time to meet the anticipated needs of employees in times of crisis (see Commandment #2).

If you made commitments in times of crisis, you must deliver.Put the changes in writing to make them official. Get support from your HR expert without delay in order to demonstrate your leadership and maintain your credibility.

10. FOR A NEXT WAVE, YOU WILL PREPARE YOURSELF

Jacques Attali, Economist and Essayist, in his studies about pandemics inHow to protect ourselves from future crises, explains that each pandemic is accompanied by another even more threatening wave, then another wave even more dangerous than the previous one.

From a social Darwinist perspective, companies that survive adapt concretely and quickly to crises.. The next time a pandemic hits our society, you will need to have a reliable and established security and continuity plan, for you, for the growth of your business, and for the human beings who support it every day.

Stay responsive, alert, and know who to contact when you need help: experts in human resources management, experts in organizational development strategies, professional coaches, etc. Whether they are employed by your company or a member of your business network,know how to surround yourself with agile advisors, strategists and experts in human crisis management.

Thus, this Covid-19 crisis which affects almost all segments of the economy represents a (forced!) opportunity for employers to adopt a new outlook on the world. This is not a vacation, nor a time of respite for your business.As the leader of an organization, it is vital to use this precious time to ensure the continuity and sustainability of your activity.

Author

Julie Tardif

Sales Director, Co-founder & Partner

Approved speaker and trainer

Human resources consultant


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