19 Mar 7 Points of Focus During the Coronavirus Pandemic
We’re living through unprecedented times. The situation has escalated quickly across the United States and the entire world, with impacts felt on two separate dimensions: organizational/individual and professional/health. Based on Hive Tech’s unique position in the Human Capital Management technology ecosystem, and an internal sense of duty, we’d like to add some concepts to the flood of discussion. Specifically, we’d like to present to you some targeted, easily consumable 7 Points of Focus During the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Years ago we produced the “7 Points of Satisfaction in Buying HR Technology,” a series published on both TechTarget and HR Gazette. The model’s simple – 7 overarching points, and within each we expand upon the details within with 7 sub-points, giving you specific action items. In the end, you end up with 49 concrete things you can take back to your situation.
So, without further ado, here are the 7 main areas of focus.
1) Remote Work is Table Stakes – Execution Will be Key
Despite the fact that remote work has increased over 44% the last five years, now it has been thrust to the forefront of our worlds. For those of us that have used it as a business model for years, we know it isn’t the mere fact of going that route. It’s how you execute. Also, it’s not an innate concept, particularly in verticals where the work isn’t conducive to that industry.
People need to have the tools, the telecommunications and, most importantly, the discipline to execute. “Trust Your Remote Workers,” said a catchy meme on LinkedIn. Yes, but there’s way more to it than that. We’ll drill into that further when we cover the 7 Points of Successfully Executing on Remote Work.
2) Communicate internally. When you’re done, communicate some more
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the way different countries have handled the pandemic, it’s that communicating early and often has to be part of the risk mitigation strategy. The same’s true for companies. A trusted industry colleague confided the other day, “It’s terrible. They haven’t told us anything,” he said. “It’s so bad I might call the CEO and tell him what to say.”
Look, we aren’t perfect, and we’re learning as we go on this, too. People are scared, for their health and for their jobs. Simple things like creating a forum for employees to talk about it, conducting frequent team meetings to share leadership’s position on the impacts of the global COVID-19 situation to your team and clients…these things are important. When we go to document the 7 Points of Communicating Your Company and Clients about Coronavirus, it will be something that forces us to think about what we ourselves might have missed.
3) Keep up the momentum as much as possible
We listen to our clients. Overall, they’re challenged, and many of them were smack dab in the middle of vital digital transformations when this arrived. They were working at 120% beforehand and then had another full-time job thrust upon them. Those projects have become a good microcosm for illustrating how a business might handle their overall operations. Key questions have to be answered. How critical is this work relative to other organizational priorities? Are there inevitable reasons deadlines can’t be pushed? Are there other people whose help we can enlist to push through despite the seriously distracted focus? If bigger activities need to be paused, what can we do in the meantime to make things easier later?
The bottom line is that organizations need to consider all possible outcomes, one of which is most certainly that the pandemic will pass. We’ll expand upon some of the ways to keep up the momentum to make sure that you’re in the best place possible when it does.
4) Keep your employee’s security related to the underlying health risk at the forefront of all decisions
Last year, we built a set of strategic Human Capital Management tenets for one of our best clients, a security-related technology firm. The first tenet read “Security should be at the forefront of every HCM technology decision.” That could be put into action in some obvious ways, like leading to a revamp of all the security roles in their HR/Payroll system. But it also extended to less evident decisions, such as how much information to collect from candidates while rolling out their Applicant Tracking System. Like it or not, we’re all temporarily in the crisis mitigation business, and there are serious health consequences. Everything we do right now needs to bear that in mind. We’ll explore some specific ways to make sure you’re keeping this new world at the forefront of your decisions now and into the future.
5) Be strategic and intentional at all levels of the organization
Someone on Twitter just solicited advice. “I was asked to do an important and big piece of work for free as a gesture of goodwill. I understand the logic behind asking, but can any small business really afford to give their time for free at the moment?”
Here’s the problem. The game board has been completely swapped out. You’re sitting here with your old set of rules. We all are, and we all just keep playing. What’s worse? We’re using the same strategies from the old game. People are falling into chasms. Some have multiple lives, others don’t.
You get the point.
Right now, the scenario presented by the gentleman on Twitter must specifically factor in the entry points of all parties involved, and what each stands to gain/lose. He has to factor in who is struggling more today, and who can help who once this has passed. These are new concepts, new rules. We’ll expand on some ways strategies should be adjusted.
6) Focus on the technology toolkit to make this happen
Think for a moment about the Swiss Army Knife. Imagine camping with someone who carries one of the most robust versions of those knives – it cost her $425 and has 118 different parts. You’re on the same trip, but with a simple pocketknife. Worse yet, a 3rd friend didn’t even bring a knife. You get the analogy. We all arrive at different situations with a different set of tools. The prepared camper always ends up being the most successful. After all, she even has a fish scaler! The fortunate aspect of this situation is that in today’s world, sometimes you can acquire those tools real-time. That said, many will take some time to embed into your organization, to learn and adopt. But, even if you can’t rush to put them all in place now, taking this time to plan what will have you better positioned for the next crisis. When we expand on the toolkit, we’ll explore project collaboration tools, chat tools, help desk ticket tools, and, of course HR systems…especially those that do a good job with communication.
7) The coronavirus pandemic can only be surmounted with empathy
This is having an impact on all humans. Beyond the inconveniences of not being able to travel and in many locations being isolated at home, there are devastating health situations. Some of them are affecting your employees, their friends and families.
Professionally, we’re also all impacted, some more than others. There are companies at the epicenter. Some of them are your clients, your vendors. Some are you. The only way to get through this is to support one another, to attempt to create a sense of normalcy in the day-to-day work while still being mindful of the fact that so much has changed so fast. Again, eventually the worst will pass, and what we do now will affect what the world looks like then. When expanding on this topic of empathy, we’ll try to identify some specific things that can be done. In truth, it will be a good exploration of things we ourselves can do.