4 Things Businesses Can Learn From COVID-19
Many businesses are still trying to figure out how to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some have had to adjust how they operate, and unfortunately some have had to reduce staff. As the pandemic continues, there's actually a lot that businesses can learn from COVID-19 that could benefit them and their employees in the long run.
Given what we've learned so far during the COVID-19 pandemic, it's very likely that businesses will be evaluating the following four areas once the crisis is over:
What Is The Company's Emergency Work Plan?
A company's emergency work plan can be all over the map.
In the case of COVID-19, many companies have had to convert to an entirely remote workforce. As a result, companies may relax or add remote work policies, while adjusting technology, job positions, and company policies to reflect a remote workforce.
Some companies have had to layoff or furlough staff and operate with skeleton crews in order to survive during the crisis. Not all of these employees will get their jobs back.
When the crisis is over, companies will tighten their belts and evaluate their operations and spending. This will include identifying the essential positions the business needs to operate and the size of the workforce.
After making it through a crisis, businesses try to put themselves in a better position to survive the next crisis. Even if it's impossible to predict what the next crisis will be.
Are The Company's Employee Benefits Appropriate?
The COVID-19 pandemic has also brought to the forefront concerns about sick pay and leave.
Some companies have adjusted their policies on the fly as a result of COVID-19. It's likely that many more businesses will take some time to review their sick pay and leave policies and ask themselves these questions:
- Were they adequate?
- Can we improve them?
- Do we have the resources to improve them?
These aren't always easy questions to answer, but it's important to have these conversations.
Survey employees and get some feedback about what they feel they need for sick pay and leave benefits. Many of the suggestions may be unrealistic, but you'll get good insight into their needs and may be able to craft a policy that's a fair compromise.
A recent article by the Society for Human Resources Management indicates that employers will be reevaluating their health care plans. Of the health care plan changes being considered, 32% of employers are considering expanding virtual or telehealth programs, and 25% are considering expanding mental health services or employee assistance programs.
The end of this crisis is also a good time to review some other employee benefits, such as other health and wellness policies and remote work policies and flexibility.
Was The Business Able To Help The Community During The Crisis?
Every company's situation is different, and not everyone has the resources to take care of both their employees and community. But if you do, lending a hand to the community can do a lot to increase morale during difficult times.
During COVID-19, there have been many businesses that stepped up in small ways to help their communities. Some businesses have offered free food to medical personnel and first responders, while other companies have halted production on their usual products to produce medical equipment, including hockey equipment manufacturing company Bauer, who is producing masks for medical professionals.
Other companies have been helping out by making financial donations to organizations in need during the crisis.
When it's time to take a step back and evaluate how your business handled the crisis, ask if you're equipped to help both your employees and community. Not only is it a great thing to do, but it will help your employer brand.
Job seekers look for companies that give back to their communities and take pride in such efforts.
Did The Business Handle The Crisis Well?
This is the one overarching question that hangs over everything. In order to accurately answer this question, it's important to do an honest self-assessment. This is also another situation where it's appropriate to survey employees and get their feedback.
Whether the company handled the crisis well or poorly, there's a lot that can be learned by tackling this question head-on. It's important to know what you did well and what needs to be improved.
If your business struggled to handle this crisis, it doesn't necessarily mean it failed. Failure is not learning from your shortcomings and addressing them.
Handling a crisis poorly and not addressing it can do permanent damage to the company's reputation. Society tends to be more forgiving to those who are willing to admit their mistakes and make changes to address them.
In a perfect world it would always be business as usual, but crises happen. Those companies that make it through need to take a step back when it's over, reflect, and use it as an opportunity to make their businesses stronger.
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