The nature of the COVID-19 pandemic poses a new range of challenges for businesses as they move toward recovery.
We have had to change at an alarming rate, in ways we could not anticipate. Many businesses are now faced with different customer expectations, muted demand, and significant operational challenges, whilst ensuring the business continues to protect its staff, customers and communities.
Clarity of thinking, how you frame and approach the challenges and opportunities combined with taking swift action, will make the difference between surviving or thriving in a post-pandemic world.
We look at how business leaders can navigate this complex and shifting environment with a focus on embracing it as an opportunity to become better, stronger, more efficient and effective than ever before.
Reboot your leadership and planning
Assess and plan for recovery by defining a solid framework for action to reopen business swiftly and, especially, safely.
Review all potential scenarios, from changes in customer demand and government legislation to employee preferences or fears of populated work environments.
Analysing such scenarios, alongside your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, will help paint a clear picture on how they impact capabilities, competitors, cashflow, resources and operations, whether temporarily or permanently.
The abundance of unknowns may be daunting, so it is prudent to establish a leadership team that have a shared understanding of your reviewed plan and manage the risks and optimise the opportunities presented.
Reignite your workforce
Getting your people back into the workplace safely and maintaining productivity is a pressing issue. Adjust the workplace to allow for appropriate distancing and hygiene requirements, and consider providing support to enhance workforce wellness, health, and safety.
You may need to evaluate shift schedules and start times to minimise exposure. Review and update relevant HR policies that anticipate scenarios, such as work refusals or family situations, that make returning to the workplace difficult.
Appraise your workforce based on a full understanding of roles, skills and availability and ensure that you create a sense of identity, belonging and purpose. This is especially important if some work remotely and others located in offices or different premises.
Maximising your workforce, and developing a strong culture that engages and empowers, will allow you to take your business forward confidently.
Utilise new business priorities to challenge your business processes and identify areas that need reconfigured.
Depending on your business and industry, this could include changes to production, customer interactions, workflow management and staffing, and any required control measures. It is essential that processes are robust and responsive to a dynamic environment and have clear inputs and outputs to maximise efficiency and effectiveness.
Reinforce your supply chain
Get the most from your suppliers so you can deliver the best possible products and services to your customers and expand within new and existing supply chains.
It is important to establish your contractual position and understand how COVID-19 will impact performance across supplier chain portfolios. While disputes are likely to increase, you should seek to collaborate, negotiate and strengthen your supply chain rather than harm relationships.
Review challenges and opportunities
COVID-19 will have permanent consequences on the future of all types of businesses in every type of industry so if you haven’t already reflected about what has worked, what you have learned, and what you may have missed, it would be wise to make this priority.
For many, one of the biggest takeaways is the benefits of remote working, as it has been the only thing keeping many businesses afloat during lockdown. Embracing new technologies and adapting to new management styles of employing remote workers is perhaps an opportunity you will wish to capitalise on.
Address such opportunities along with problems and issues head-on and establish root causes and clear corrective actions to put them right, and preventative measures to stop them happening time and time again.
Resume continual improvement
Make the most of your reviewed plan to manage change effectively, making decisions based on facts that drive your business forward.
Using the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle management system will help you to implement continuous improvements to your business by providing the structure to monitor, review and analyse the performance of your business.
Dedicate an accountability role or team to set priorities and individual assignments while reviewing the inter-dependencies of decisions until things get back to normal. It is also essential to gather concerns from the team, provide feedback and resolve any issues quickly.
Furthermore, challenge the workforce to do great things and emphasise the necessity for people to rise to the challenge and support the efforts to protect the business’ survival through this challenge.
Much remains uncertain, but one thing is clear: how business leaders handle the recovery will define their reputation with their workforce and customers for years to come and determine future competitiveness.
Register your interest to attend a ‘Lockdown Exit Strategy – Getting Your Team Back into Business’ webinar, which gives practical advice and guidance for any business owner and employer returning to work after lockdown.
Learn more about how the Rubik’s cube approach will help you to manage your business, protect and manage risks whilst optimising opportunities and developing your people, relationships, and reputation.