As the coronavirus continues its spread, and we see 2nd waves in some countries, international companies are forced to test their crisis management strategies.
Already a few months have passed since the first reports of COVID-19. Which now means that all countries and businesses have been affected to some degree.
Because of this, employers and HR teams need to come up with a strategy that will either entirely prevent or minimize the harmful effects of this outbreak.
In this article, we will delve deeper into what crisis management is, its importance, and how to implement it so that you can successfully navigate this unprecedented and ongoing threat.
What is a Crisis Management Plan?
A crisis management plan helps companies to deal with harmful and unanticipated events that threaten the company its operations or its stakeholders. Typically, this means either financial loss (ex. loss of market share) a threat to public safety (industrial accidents) or damage to a business's reputation.
A well-thought-out crisis management plan accomplishes two things it allows you to respond to harmful events efficiently, and it also helps you to identify possible threats before they happen.
However, effective crisis management is not only about the plan - a document that outlines what steps to follow, assigns roles, communication procedures and provides information to help with decision making is also needed. Crisis management also includes the team which is responsible for making decisions and taking the appropriate action on behalf of the company once an incident occurs.
This team usually includes members from several departments like human resources, public relations, finance, legal, operations and security.
If there is no crisis management plan in place to effectively and promptly handle the threat caused by COVID19 businesses will end up risking not only their employee's health but also their families. As a result, the company may face financial loss because production quantity and possibly quality will decrease due to the drop in personnel numbers which may in turn affect the company's reputation as it won't be able to deliver the same quantity or quality.
Top Concerns for Employees During the COVID-19 Crisis
Since the spread of the coronavirus employees have had to get used to new working norms as company leaders enforced new work policies (ex. self-isolation) to ensure their employee's safety.
And so, it is understandable that all this change and uncertainty that COVID 19 has caused is negatively impacting the mental health of employees making them feel stressed and overall worried and uncertain about their job and financial security.
These concerns have been confirmed by a survey conducted by MIT Sloan Management Review, CultureX and Josh Bersin. Aiming to understand the effects of the coronavirus the study found that the top four concerns on the minds of employees are their financial security, their health, their family and finally their productivity levels.
And because the primary job of the crisis management team is to deal with all crisis that could harm the company, it becomes their responsibility to create a plan to address these concerns if they wish to keep their staff happy and productive.
8 Best Practices for Managing the COVID-19 Crisis
The coronavirus pandemic was an unprecedented event in our history, and so it caught many businesses unprepared and ill-equipped to deal with it. In this case, the only solution for protecting your business and your employees is a well-organised crisis management strategy.
Here are eight crisis management steps to help you minimize the adverse effects that COVID-19 may have on both your employee's wellbeing and your business:
1. Create a coronavirus crisis management plan
The first step you should take is to create your crisis plan so that you have a clear direction on how to proceed. Your plan should be:
- Involve your employees at every stage from the development to the review
- Reviewed so that it reflects the most current information
- Shared and explained to the entire workforce
2. Appoint a designated crisis management team
Ensure to appoint a team of qualified and trustworthy people who are also excellent communicators as it will be their responsibility to ensure that everyone follows the plan's directions.
3. Keep employees informed and connected
Manage your employees' stress levels and keep them calm with frequent updates, tricks, and tips they can do to stay safe during this uncertain time. The more regularly and openly you communicate with them, the more assured they will feel.
Frequent communication also helps in preventing the spread of misinformation that can lead to further confusion and uncertainty. Prevent this by monitoring and instantly sharing information from trusted sources such as government agencies and the WHO.
To keep your employees engaged in what you are sharing, make sure that the information you share is tailored for each department and its responsibilities within your organisation. You should also ensure that the data is location-specific and that you use as many content formats as possible to help keep your audience's interest.
Follow the social distancing protocol by implementing remote work.
This step, of course, is only for those who haven't already allowed their staff to work from home. If your employees can self-isolate by working from home, we highly recommend that you allow them to do because less contact between groups of people is key to preventing the spread of the virus.
4. Create an environment that fosters online collaboration
Use internal tools to foster communication and collaboration between team members. By having your crisis management team actively encourage teams to communicate and collaborate, you can keep your productivity levels up and ensure that your employees continue to feel connected to their work and colleagues.
5. Define a central internal communication channel
As we said above, communication helps to keep staff engaged, working efficiently, and connected during the coronavirus.
However, most businesses will use multiple tools and channels to do this. Having one centralised channel where all communication takes place makes it less confusing and more accessible for employees to find the information they need.
6. Update your corporate travel policy
It is crucial that you limit how much your employees travel during the COVID-19 outbreak. If it is unavoidable for them to do so, we recommend that you review authoritarian sites like the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention for the latest safety tips and data on which countries are safe for travelling.
7. Update employees' contact details
During this time, it is crucial that you can reach all your employees in case of an emergency. So, make sure that your personnel's contact details and emergency contact details are up to date.
8. Evaluate your coronavirus crisis management plan
We suggest that you frequently re-evaluate your crisis management efforts for effectiveness and for areas that can be improved. Did you communicate well during this time? Do your staff feel informed and confident in their positions as well as the future of the company? These are just some of the things you can ask yourself.
For more information on how we can help in this current climate, give us a call on +357 25 346630 or visit www.cedar-rose.com to view other related articles.