There are a lot of different types of crisis that a business might face, including everything from weather disasters to data breaches to lawsuits. It’s probably safe to say that the COVID-19 pandemic presented a crisis for many businesses in the US and across the world.
A crisis can be challenging and exhausting, and some businesses won’t make it through to the other side. For those who do, they can either focus on the negative or take the time to reflect and adjust.
Reevaluate your business
Any time a crisis hits, you tend to spend a lot of time putting out fires. When COVID-19 hit, organizations that could support remote work had to scramble to put policies and infrastructure into place to support it. Companies that couldn’t operate remotely had to figure out whether they could stay open and how to provide protection to their employees. Priorities changed as the ground shifted pretty regularly for a while.
It can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day struggle. But if you really see a crisis as opportunity, it can be a springboard. The upheaval of the world has created an opportunity for businesses who want to embrace it.
This is the time to really focus on what you learned in the midst of crisis and make sure your policies and practices have adapted appropriately. Take a look at those policies you have in place. What’s working? What’s not working? Do you have clear standards for communication among your team, whether working remotely or in the office?
Set the right expectations
Crisis can impact your employees in a lot of ways, and it’s important to recognize that and adapt as needed.
Think about it in terms of what happened with schools and education in response to COVID. Schools shut down and children were sent home, and in some cases, they were expected to provide the same volume and quality of work despite radically different circumstances. This isn’t a feasible expectation. In an environment where both parents are at home working and the kids are trying to do school, it might be hard for them to concentrate. If parents are essential workers, the kids might be trying to do schoolwork with a relative or family friend. That’s an entirely different way to learn than in a classroom.
You can’t change the situation entirely and expect the same results. People don’t work that way.
The same thing applies to work. Maybe your employees have relatives or kids who are sick. Maybe they’re immunocompromised and worried about their own health. Perhaps they’re anxious they’ll be passed up for opportunity because they don’t feel comfortable going back into the office. You can’t expect the same standard of work out of them when the policies you have in place aren’t designed for the situation at hand.
But you can prepare for the next one.
Oklahoma is a place where we’re used to the unexpected. Weather can cause abrupt changes. Tornadoes, fires and ice storms can all impact people being able to come to work. We’re used to crises. Do we have policies in place to support employees when they’re going through hard times?
As a business owner or manager, try to view the upheaval of COVID-19 as an opportunity rather than a problem. Use this chance to rewrite policies that aren’t working and build flexibility into your human resources. Make sure you can keep your valuable employees around.
If you need help creating the right policies with what you’ve learned from this crisis, contact WhyHR. We’ll help you put together guidelines that fit your business and your team.