As an organization who focuses on building successful cultures and activating purpose for our clients, we would like to take a moment to share some best practice principles around organizational engagement and opportunities during this time of uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. As the news continues to unfold around the risk of widespread infection, we want our teams and clients to be ready for all eventualities, and focus on how to keep everyone safe while continuing to do their brilliant work. 

Here are a few key organizational considerations to keep in mind through these uncertain times:

  • HR is often viewed as reactive, especially when preparing for external risks, so this is a good opportunity to showcase proactive measures. It is a key employee engagement opportunity, enabling you to provide authentic care and support to your people (and which notably also acts as a risk if ignored!)
  • When times are uncertain, employees seek open communication and support from their organizations. Ensure you have a clear and consistent communications strategy in place for internal stakeholders, which includes links to key government sites and which outlines your organizational response to it, as well as any policy amendments to areas such as sick leave. 
  • Know your people! Keep in mind the different audiences within your organization, and the various methods and key messaging that need to be used to effectively communicate with each.
  • If your teams are not used to remote working, consider running “work from home” drills to socialize the possible change and work out any kinks to virtual working. Likewise, consider how to properly equip them with the tools which may be needed (e.g. review remote stations, number of available conference lines, shared drive/document platforms, etc.). 
  • We are lucky to live in a time when access to a vast number of online platforms is available – try using tools like breakout rooms during your video-conferencing, polling, virtual whiteboarding, and many more. This is a good chance to explore the use of creative methods and tools for virtual session facilitation to get the most out of your time together. Here’s an HBR article with some good tips on how to run great remote meetings.
  • Instead of cutting costs in turbulent times, consider investing in upskilling and cross-training your teams to enable resiliency and agile response deployment. It’s also exactly the time to focus on cultivating culture! Our recent research shows that 41% of CEO’s credited their success through a recession on their investment in their people and culture, and almost a quarter (23%) of CEOs who had worked for failing or “surviving” businesses, admit that “underinvestment in people and culture” was the reason their business didn’t survive the 2008 recession.
  • Be part of the solution! Your organization should look for opportunities to showcase your corporate citizenship by supporting others in your supply chain, industry, community and local government. Consider how your business can contribute, focusing on the intersection between social needs and the specific capabilities your people and services offer. This is a time to truly demonstrate your impact to internal and external stakeholders – by living your purpose.

Above all, stay safe and be well. To view the latest news and updates around the outbreak, please visit your local government sites or select from the list below: