The COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions are changing how we live, work, and learn, in all possible ways. We are facing a global health crisis unlike any in the last couple of centuries. This is much more than a medical emergency. It is a social, health, and economic crisis. With social distancing being the new norm, it’s almost as if our way of life has changed. Children are out of school, city centers closed down, and businesses on the brink of financial risk. It is imperative now, more than ever to make room for innovation in every possible facet.
“ Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures.”
As businesses contract their scale of operations to help prevent transmission of COVID-19, financial concerns and job losses are one of the first economic impacts of the virus. We are suddenly moving from globalization to regionalization.
An Economic Times report states that the tourism sector will face an overall loss of Rs 5 lakh crore with over 4-5 crore job cuts. Following the same lines, the air transport industry that supports around 65 million jobs worldwide might face a wash-out if travel restrictions continue for a prolonged duration.
The pandemic is affecting various industries with varying severity levels and there’s no blanket solution to it. Lay-offs have higher stakes involved when there’s an uncertainty of how things will play out. It is emotionally and cognitively burdensome when your people are your company. There’s a certain level of guilt associated with letting go of the biggest asset of your organization.
Additionally, firms that are going for work from home need to ensure flexibility around the productivity of employees. With schools and childcare being shut, it adds to the woes of working parents. On top of it, due to the interconnected nature of today’s business environment, operations become more complex with the travel restrictions in place. It is imperative for employers to show solidarity and work to protect staff, community, and the customers as well as keeping the supply chain operations.
“Trust your teams while providing them guard rails with the flexibility to deliver clearly defined targets”. – Neha Bagaria, Jobsforher
This is the time when leadership matters, more than ever. The effectiveness of a leader’s response in a crisis determines how his organization fares afterward. Yogya recommends five steps that can help firms gain a better hold over the current situation along with being ready to cope up with the dynamic business environment, and we name it the guilt-free survival strategy.
- Prioritize the service: Adopt a people-first approach and make sure employees are capable of working remotely. Secondly, tasks that need to be taken up, to ensure the firm delivers services to clients, should be prioritized and teams are formed to work on them. Leaders need quick decisions to measure the relative importance of tasks. These decisions need to be clearly communicated to employees in the form of directives with a clear plan of action.
Redeployment of resources and teams to meet operational demands that improve the overall capacity utilization of existing inventory ensures that firms keep up with their offerings.
- Form a crisis management team: The HR heads are the heroes during any crisis and having them lead a crisis management team helps alleviate the impact to a large extent. HR managers head these teams to make sure that your employees are available for remote work and constantly monitor the external situation. This team can also assess reliance on the third party and ensures high coordination with the public, government, and health officials.
- Upskilling: COVID-19 could be a tipping point for learning-and working-as we know it. Right now, organizations that will be able to acquaint themselves the fastest will benefit the most. Take the case of sales and installation teams at Schindler India whose productivity would be lower given that construction has stopped in the entire country.
“We are sending them bullet modules with small quizzes so they can upskill and utilize the time,” says Shubha Arora, Chief People Officer, Schindler India and South Asia.
The current situation offers ample time to identify skill gaps and enable employees to re-invent their skills to match the industry level. Employers may use learning experience platforms (LXPs) that enable customized learning paths along with monitoring skills through metrics.
- Learning Sabbaticals: We understand that due to less market demand, firms may have to cut down on their existing workforce. In such cases, employees can be sent on a learning sabbatical which is a more feasible and cost-effective option compared to lay-offs. In the case of lay-offs when the whole situation is back to normal, companies would be going for talent onboarding and acquisition which can prove to be a tough task with a higher turnover cost.On the other hand, employees can be taken off a payroll or given salary-cuts while being on these sabbaticals. This will help firms both in the long and short term by saving present costs to the company and making its workforce future-ready. For employees, learning and development could result in a long term mutual benefit.
- Revenue sharing: Employers are facing the challenge of generating revenue amidst the pandemic while compensating employees for their work. They can possibly enter a revenue-sharing model with the employees for a specific time period.In short, the whole arrangement is based on mutual dependence, trust, and employee engagement. It reduces pressure on employers and simultaneously provides a thrust to employees to increase productivity in order to generate more revenue.
With an economic downturn strongly anticipated by world leaders, it is critical to pay heed to the warning signals. Yogya is joining hands with the business community to help them overcome the present situation and be ready with a workforce that can step into the emerging roles. We provide all the services free of cost from our upskilling platform to HR optimization consulting as COVID-19 support.
Let’s build a guilt-free survival strategy by making the best use of learning and development.
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