Manage the Corona Impact

People First – HR's Pivotal Role in the Crisis

How to manage employees in challenging times

COVID-19 took the world by surprise, causing a great deal of uncertainty and raising issues that require thoughtful people-centric responses. Many organizations have decided to work remotely in response to the spread of the virus. The health and safety of employees is the top priority of CHROs at the moment. The far-reaching actions involve a variety of legal pitfalls, as well as new working models. Remote work is critical to flatten the curve. However, it bears the risk that employees will become emotionally detached from their employers. At the same time, if employees are enabled to embrace the changes through plausible work policies and technology, new ways of working can provide an opportunity for modern collaboration models and sustainable engagement.

Essential levers – Actions to be taken by business leaders

In order to address current challenges, a set of coordinated actions should include: 

  • Monitoring health risks and regulations
  • Engaging with all relevant stakeholders, employees, workers councils, partners, and the public
  • Enabling and fostering remote work
  • Initiating precise, strong, and consistent internal communication
  • Ensuring access to required technology for all employees 
  • Designating a response team for all employee-related issues within the overall crisis management office

In the mid- and long-term, various measures should be evaluated and prepared to tackle the new reality after Corona:

  • Update competence model and career paths based on (new) operating model
  • Adjust performance management framework to reflect new working and collaboration models

Success factors for resetting the course

After having successfully managed the crisis, employees will be used to working from home, will be experienced in using digital tools, and will be able to communicate with their stakeholders remotely. By social distancing, physical health and safety are ensured. However, individual mental needs and the renewal of personal relationships need to be addressed. Creativity and innovation should be fostered through more intense interactions. Balancing remote work and on-site presence is a success factor for the workforce of the future.

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