A Plan of the People: Your Key to Triumph in the Face of Crisis
Holly DePalma |
Like most business leaders, you’ve weathered economic storms before. You plan for market dips. You muscle through recessions. But you don’t anticipate something like this. Let’s face it—even the best-laid plans couldn’t prepare us for a time when a barrel of oil is cheaper than a roll of toilet paper. Yet, here we are, entering our 11th week of a lockdown that’s impacted 81% of the global workforce.
So how do you rebound strong from an economic crisis rivaled only by the Great Depression? By now, your executive team has likely taken measured approaches to safeguard the financial and operational sides of business. Now it’s time to focus on the lifeblood of your organization— your people. Aligning your talent strategy with your new business plan is key to restoring organizational resilience, productivity and profit. Let’s explore 4 ways to emerge from COVID-19 on top.
1. Your bottom line starts at the top.
You’ve designed and adapted a purposeful new business strategy. But its success ultimately hinges on leadership’s ability to execute. This means carefully assessing your team’s strengths and identifying potential deficiencies. Are there blind spots or imbalances? Are some managers more equipped than others to be stewards of change? Invoking a new blueprint marks the perfect time to increase your senior team’s self-awareness in terms of their stylistic strengths and areas for development. A pivot in business strategy also presents an opportunity to reset the direction of operational teams.
2. Crisis can be a cultural touchstone.
An established culture defines your core values and inspires your people. And until now, it has informed your company’s actions. But a change in business strategy means conducting an intentional review of your culture to ensure your values support the new design. Is the marriage between business strategy and culture still conducive for employee engagement? If the answer is no, then it’s time to make adjustments accordingly. With a people-centric focus, tweak your organizational values and culture to align with your new business goals and guiding principles. And let’s not forget one of the most important steps in achieving a winning culture: communicating changes clearly—and often—to all stakeholders. Once the heavy lifting is done, create a cadence and stick to it.
3. Actions really do speak louder than words.
In addition to galvanizing your senior team, the tactical side of your people strategy must rise to the occasion. During this time of uncertainty and flux, your people need decisive leadership and effective management more than ever. Empower your managers to act swiftly and have the tough-but-necessary conversations with their teams to address logistical challenges and concerns. Equip them with the information and resources they need to be impactful, supportive and transparent. In this wartime effort, managers are your soldiers on the ground.
4. Good leaders hear, great leaders listen.
Introducing a new business strategy requires the buy-in from your workforce. In other words, communication is a two-way street. Listening at both the macro and micro level is crucial to helping your people adapt and execute effectively at all levels of the organizational hierarchy. An engagement survey is a perfect listening tool at the macro level. By capturing high-level insights and information, you can better identify ways to foster connectedness and collaboration. At the micro level, your managers should initiate regular check-ins with employees to assess morale, needs and progress.
Skilled at triage, you’ve pivoted your business plan to protect financial performance in the face of crisis. Now it’s time to focus your efforts on an effective people plan. After all, your leaders’ ability to maintain a productive talent force will ultimately determine whether your people will be an asset or a liability. Ready to create a ‘plan of the people’?
Need support engaging your workforce? Contact us today for a customized plan to help your organization succeed in the wake of COVID-19.