If you asked business owners last year how they might rank the significance of their business continuity plans, they might not have thought twice about it. In other words, the speed and breadth of the coronavirus pandemic certainly accelerated the demand for such a plan and planning for recovery, economically and emotionally. From cyber security to financial aid, envisioning the remaining challenges and building ongoing goals requires a meatier breakdown of how your company might respond to certain outcomes.
As much as we would like to report that we are out of the woods, our sixth month into dealing with COVID-19 feels more like the halfway point on a very hilly marathon. This is why planning for recovery and collecting insights on what we have learned so far this year should be at the forefront of executives’ minds.
While 2020 has thrown our governments and economists for a loop, there is more to be unearthed about how organizations have handled this year outside of a financial lens. Organizations designing a framework around learning from this experience will impact their ability to pivot moving forward.
You may be thinking, not every business has the agility of a mountain goat bouncing up the Rockies. Still, there are effective ways to distill your company’s foundational values into actionable plans. Keeping the ball rolling is key. Also, analyzing what your company has done well and where there is room for growth starts with asking overarching questions. Questions like:
These topics skim the surface of how to approach your organization’s most important talking points for planning for recovery. No one has a crystal ball into the end of this year and the start of the next, but don’t pass up this time to learn and hone in on your intentions for the next phase. Building a plan with a range of options and realistic expectations is a start.
One direction to take your recovery plan is intentionally re-connecting with your company’s values and purpose. Do your actions as an organization reflect the culture and promise of integrity presented in times of prosperity and success? Beyond short-term quarterly goals and profit, this pandemic has taught us about the true nature of the relationship between people and corporations. It comes down to how companies go out of their way to serve their customers and support their employees.
Decidedly, the virus has brought to light the effectiveness of the social contract between a company and its employees, or the extent to which a company can maintain an individual’s trust and loyalty. Companies that did not immediately address the safety and wellness of their employees, felt it backfire.
Continuing to support your teams in meaningful ways strengthens this unspoken contract, and shows that company values are more than a poster on the wall. Leadership can build resilience by showing vulnerability and honesty. In this way, realigning your company’s approach with its core values allows for internal and external transparency, and even more importantly, humility.
Whether you have started to consider re-opening a physical location, or continue to maintain communication and continuity remotely, consider multiple possibilities. Prioritizing employee’s health and safety should override other details around returning to in-person spaces. Read more about how to build safe workplace policies here.
We also recommend spending time fleshing out your communication plans, and adding depth to any all-team outreaches. For example, if your organization has nailed down its weekly digital routine, it could be time for a change. An effective method to avoid burnout among your dispersed teams is to occasionally put something new into the schedule, or set-up a meeting specifically to get feedback from your team.
Finally, direct your business goals with a layered approach. If possible, imagine more than one pathway for new revenue, new partnerships, and new projects, in case others take a less favorable direction. If you have several lose plans under your belt, shifting to accommodate a loss will have less of an overall impact.
As mentioned before, adaptability is rooted in organizational strength. From McKinsey & Company’s Re-imaging the Post-Pandemic Organization, leadership that is able to hone in on “crystalized values agendas,” or precise opportunities to shift resources effectively, will lay a stronger foundation for team cohesion.
Dealing with imperfect information, or conversely information overload, can undoubtedly cause decision-making roadblocks. Over time though, organizations have found that “when urgency and uncertainty collide, the time spent waiting to decide is a decision in itself.” So how can your organization instill quicker decision making and response time?
Many companies have found success in relying on small groups of decision-makers, that represent the varying sectors and interests of the organization. In a departure from traditional leadership, easing the edges of formality and hierarchy allows more people to be “in the room,” weighing in on decisions. In this way, these focus groups make the decision-making process a more comprehensive, inclusive effort. The use of surveys, actively asking questions in all-hands meetings, and other feedback avenues increases that smaller group’s capability to understand the needs and goals of the entire team.
In the greater context of the crisis, we have undoubtedly learned more about supporting our communities holistically. This comes through many avenues like companies providing greater support for their employee’s mental health, everyone participating in buying local and supporting small businesses here in Colorado, and businesses forging partnerships with one another to help weather the storm. At the end of the day, it’s about being there for each other.
Planning for recovery begins with expecting the unexpected, reconnecting with your company values, and prioritizing flexibility in decision-making. On one hand, our greatest takeaway from this experience is that human capital and ingenuity are the cogs that keep the machine running. On the other, knowing that individuals and small businesses have a greater rate of surviving and thriving when we prioritize collaboration and togetherness is the frosting on top of the cake.
Leading your team into the future means an extended, ongoing process of checking in with your teams high-level and human needs. Whether in planning for recovery, providing more technical support and equipment, or simply showing you have an understanding that this time puts additional strain on all of us, with some time and patience, we will make it through.
Here at BWBacon Group, we know and live what you are experiencing as an employer or job seeker in Denver, Boulder, Dallas, San Francisco, New York City or any of the other cities we work in. We believe great recruiting starts and ends with understanding people.
If you have any questions about living, working or playing any of the areas we serve, please contact us. We are happy to help. Seize the day, every day, that’s what we say!