Business Recovery Covid-19: People Engagement
Covid-19 Business Recovery Plan: People Engagement
“People engagement – it’s never been more critical”, says Paul Greenaway, CEO at In-gage. He’s sharing 3 tips for a Covid-19 Business Recovery Plan.
Tremendous pressure on leaders
As founder of a new business, In-gage, that is 100% focussed on helping organisations implement and deliver people engagement strategies, I’ve seen first-hand how the unprecedented COVID-19 precautions and lockdowns have put tremendous pressure on leaders across the globe.
Close-knit and connected teams being forced to work remotely, businesses unable to trade at all or with significant restrictions, and business models in sectors or locations that can only hope they can stay afloat through no fault of their own.
These are all elements that reinforce the need for exceptional engagement across any organisation now, and as we come out of our fight with COVID-19.
Surviving the fight is one thing.
But emerging match-fit, stronger than before, and future-proofed has to be a goal for us all – that way we can focus on rapid recovery and growth, despite the disruption the whole world has faced.
Let us explore three areas here, that I believe will make the difference:
Looking ahead, what platforms, systems and practices did you use to stay connected during the ‘Covid Crisis’ that should be a permanent solution for your organisation?
Forced to quickly adapt as governments closed down societies, there may not have been time for you to cherry-pick from what’s on offer – but using platforms like Teams and Slack for remote project coordination, and Workplace from Facebook for internal engagement, in place of email would have shown themselves as wise investments.
Look at those for the future to enhance your internal engagement now your people have had to up their game with one-to-one communication and team collaboration remotely.
Start-up tech companies and many others will already be well versed with video calls and all-hands catch ups. But not all businesses have led this trend.
Well now we’ve all had to embrace the challenge of the multi-screen video conference first-hand. Make this a good habit to keep and improve as a business function.
Establish your preferred platform, and there are many (Teams, Zoom, Whereby etc.). Agree and circulate protocols and issue clear guidance for all users, and be patient with those who find technology more challenging.
We’ve all had calls like this Zoom parody shared by New Zealand’s Police Force.
Perhaps not as many took it this far…
So learn, improve and embrace for a productive future.
On a core systems angle, the COVID-19 precautions will have quickly exposed any challenges of an organisation not being fully ‘in the cloud’, relying on remote system logins and the challenges of providing tech support remotely.
Now I’m no expert in this field, but the key is taking the chance to reassess what went well, what didn’t, and how to move forward in a stronger position.
All will be focussed on business recovery, but short-term investment in reviewing this will be time well spent as we navigate the uncertain road ahead.
The strongest work cultures are enhanced by common purpose, a sense of achieving positive outcomes and acknowledgment and appreciation from peers and leaders.
Unfortunately, these are often the first things that fall away when a team is disrupted, pulled apart and we have an overwhelming sense of uncertainty – and the COVID-19 crisis has most certainly done that!
There are some powerful examples of work cultures rising above the disruption and uncertainty; clinical teams in the front line, manufacturers pivoting to produce urgently needed medical supplies, and volunteer armies rising up to help those less mobile or connected in their communities.
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The scourge that is COVID-19 may well have brought out the best in us – so how do we leverage that in our workplaces moving forwards?
A good team relies on all its members pulling together, and an individual needs the support of peers within the team.
Look at how working remotely has exposed the potential leaders, the strong characters, the quiet ones and the negative ones.
Bringing them all back together again is a chance to acknowledge the challenges they faced during the crisis out in the open, to enable a heightened level of team engagement moving forwards. If all members of a team truly understand how each other tick, then collectively, surely, they must perform better.
I’m a strong advocate of team-building workshops.
They may currently be inappropriate for social distancing rules if held face to face – but there will be a time when we can re-engage together.
Make use of an external facilitator to get best results and collaborate with collective shared goals as an outcome.
The investment pays off at a time like this.
The leaders who have navigated businesses through a period like this may be fatigued, uncertain and concerned for the future.
So, rising to the challenge of recovery cannot be underestimated. If leadership is achieving through others, then you shouldn’t just be out there in front on your own.
Your people are the assets that, with engagement, are the enablers for business recovery, allowing you to look forward more strategically.
Firstly, check in.
How are your people feeling today? Are they isolated and unsettled by not knowing what is going on, or empowered and clear on the challenges ahead?
There will have been a rollercoaster of emotions for all of us in the past weeks, and that isn’t going to stop for some time. So never assume the answer you got from checking in with your people last week is the same as the answer you’ll get today.
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By asking, and asking regularly, you demonstrate your empathy and understanding of their emotions. This in return allows you to adapt your communication to suit those you lead.
Take a daily pulse, walk the floor (virtually if still in lockdown).
Put time aside just to listen, and approach your people to embrace the post-COVID-19 business recovery as a true team effort.
What’s your business recovery plan?
About the author:
As founder of In-gage and the lead consultant on all projects, Paul Greenaway works with private and public sector employers as a specialist consultant to uncover the unique attributes of their organisation – and activate these internally and externally to attract and engage candidates and develop and retain existing employees.