How to restart your Business after the Pandemic. 6 lessons learned from a client that stayed in operation during Covid-19 lockout.
For companies that stayed in operation during Covid-19 lockout it was both hard and challenging. For one thing, you need to cope with uncertainty, people’s emotions, morale and anxiety and the threat of staff and other stakeholders being infected.
To stay on track with a plan of doing business as usual, to maintain operation efficiency and to manage both the top but most importantly the bottom line its not easy at all. Disruption to a certain extend is inevitable.
So here is how we managed to deal with the challenge and here are the lessons learned:
1) We adopted a series of simple, user friendly, team-oriented guidelines for the health measures to be implemented by teams and individuals in accordance with health authorities’ guidelines.
We learned that people need straightforward, simple, implementable guides. Do not overwhelm them with huge amount of information. That is only for the management to asses.
2) We tried from the beginning to relief people from the terror and panic that was created through the various open information sources and the media. That was perhaps the most difficult part! It is an ongoing activity and the following measures have helped tremendously.
We learned that fear is inversely proportional to productivity.
3) We quickly implemented a series of online communication channels both formal and as well as informal. We ensured that communication in parallel with social distancing measures remained uninterrupted so that management and teams touch bases frequently. We maintained our schedule of weekly, bi-weekly and monthly meetings from top to bottom as planned prior to the pandemic only now they are carried out online.
We learned that communication with your people remains important. It is even more important during crises! We also learned that tele-meetings are much more effective when they are carried out as close to live meetings as possible. That is, by enabling both audio as well as video.
4) We broke down big departments and teams into smaller task force teams working interchangeably, even though smaller teams had to work harder, smarter and sometime more hours to deliver the results.
We learned that smaller teams are much more efficient, focused, agile and deformited.
5) We developed and completed digital analysis and reporting tools to provide the key sales, financial, production, operational and other important data and information live and in real time so that senior management, junior management, supervisors and team leaders are continuously led with up to date data and information they need as they move along.
We learned 2 things:
a) When it comes to data and information, the less the merrier. Having said that, it is critical to provide the right data and not just any data.
b) People at all levels when equipped with relevant data and information on time, they are mobilized and act on time.
6) As we moved along, we identified performance gaps that are translated into skills gaps and that led us to quickly design short but practical and to the point online training courses to deal with the skills gap.
We learned that often people under-perform because they lack simple yet vital skills. Once strengthened, people thrive.
There is a bonus benefit to the above actions:
We learned that the additive effect of all actions above gave us more speed, clearer focus on importance and created a better inclusive environment for most employees being participative, better informed and more caring one for the other.