As Companies Recover from COVID-19
By: Cynthia Hayward
As economies slowly recover, the threat of renewed waves of coronavirus remains. Uncertainty will stay with us for many months, and it will be almost impossible to define what’s “normal.” What we need to think about is not a “new normal” but a new reality—a “new now.”
For leaders, the challenge of guiding people through uncertainty and into the new reality brings timeless needs into sharper focus.
Rather than adopting a singular focus on the physical aspects of coming back to the office, this is the time to implement broader organizational changes. In the past four months, we have experienced disruption on all levels, which could be the catalyst to higher level thinking. At the very least, organizations should be inspired to implement more complex changes than hand sanitizer and reconfigured work spaces.
Is my organization still a place our employees want to be?
While working under changed conditions, employees have had more than enough opportunity to think about their employer’s purpose and values, as well the reasons why they’ve decided to work for the company. The pandemic can serve as a barometer for the company’s very existence -- why the business exists in the first place. This, coupled with a sharper focus on its core values and the choices the company is making to support its employees can lead to a better environment for the future.
And it’s not just employees who are considering these things with a magnifying glass; customers are, too. The way a company responds during this moment-of-truth will have long-term effects far beyond the COVID-19 crisis.
As such, leaders should be asking themselves whether the company is doing all it can to reflect its values, improve its culture, and perhaps even redefine its purpose and principles. Some questions to consider: How is the company acting toward its stated mission and values? And are any of those actions at odds with them?
Did I learn anything new about how we operate as an organization?
From remote virtual meetings, to working between children’s school schedules, COVID-19 has dramatically changed the way we work. Companies and employees made the work-from-home shift much sooner than pre-pandemic discussions on the future of work ever considered. For many, that includes working with less-than-ideal technology or on new digital platforms.
If your organization made the transition to our “new now” seamlessly, this may be something that you’re planning to continue well into the future.
For those companies that can’t wait to return to normal routines, now may be the time to reconsider whether that’s a knee-jerk reaction or if there are lessons to be learned and new ways of working to be implemented. It’s important to take this time to understand the organization’s strengths and weaknesses as your company and its employees go through this learning curve together. Document successes and failures so you can analyze their impacts and expose any weak spots that can be addressed as a company.
What can we change to be a better, more efficient, intentional, and mission driven organization?
Considering all of that, what changes can be implemented to ensure your company is living up to its values in a more efficient, intentional and mission-driven way? Now is the time to look in the mirror and make lasting changes that will result in meaningful relationships with employees and customers.
People are watching how companies approach the crisis, treat their stakeholders, and care for the most important asset of any organization - their employees. These actions could determine whether employees stick with your company well into the future.
Don’t let this time be wasted. Revisit who you are as a company and act on it. If you’re having a hard time with the process, consider hiring an executive coach to guide your leadership team through these questions, building a beneficial organization with lasting impacts.
Seeking out a professional coach to uncover what is possible is a wise investment. If you would like to know more about how the Coaching ClearinghouseSM can help your organization understand coaching options, contact Cindy Hayward.
“Never allow a good crisis go to waste. It’s an opportunity to do the things you once thought were impossible.”
Rahm Emanuel, ex-Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama