I would venture to bet that most of you are focused on surviving the current situation with minimal damage to your company and those you employ. Your thoughts are not on what will come on the other side of this event, yet now is the time to be planning for your reboot. There are always changes we know need to be made within our companies but finding the time to design and implement the change is a challenge. We also are concerned with the change management side of making too many changes at one time.
The reality is that unless someone has been out of touch during the past few months, everyone expects things to be different when they return to work. Now is a great time to implement the adjustments you have been wanting to make.
The purpose of this document is to get you thinking about the areas necessary to restart your business. I am going to divide my thoughts into the following four categories:
The first area deals with the human side of your business.
- Hiring Team Members. Once we are clear of the fear of this virus, companies will start hiring and ramping up production. I do not anticipate that this will be all at once as some organizations may ease back into normal operations, but there will be a lot of work for the recruiting / HR teams as they compete for the best talent. Many companies will also take this opportunity to upgrade their talent, declining to bring back their lower performers.
- If you are someone who has been caught up in the layoffs, this means that you should be aggressively working to upgrade your skill set through training and education. Don’t assume that your former employer will come calling.
- 1099 vs. Employee. One of the decisions you will need to make is do you re-hire your team as employees, or do you adjust the mixture of 1099 contractors and employees. There are pros & cons for each classification, but now would be a good time to have a serious conversation as to if you want to make an adjustment in the type of team members you add back to your team.
- Many of you may have had a stable workforce and have not been doing a lot of hiring and onboarding of new team members. You may have also lost a lot of tribal knowledge in your company and creating a thorough onboarding / training program will be key to your reboot. Your goal should be to bring new team members up to speed on not just the technical aspects of their job but ensure they embrace your culture and corporate values.
- Job Descriptions. During this downtime, it would be a good use of the time to review and update your job descriptions. Based on what you come up with in your process review exercise, you may want to eliminate some tasks, add others, or move them from one position to another. A good friend and fellow consultant, Lee Colan from The L Group, has said that it should be the goal of every organization to place people in a role to get the “highest and best use” from each team member. This means taking the time to adjust the job descriptions to fit the desired skill sets and to make every attempt to match the new team member with the role that best leverages their strengths.
- Benefit Packages. Making changes to employee benefit packages has always been a tricky task. No one likes to deal with change. Now would be an ideal time to make some changes / tweaks to your benefit plans as you will most likely be bringing on a significant number of new team members. The longer we go through a time of post-virus stability, the more competitive the job market will become and having a competitive package can become a recruiting advantage.
- Remote Workforce. Many of you may be working for companies who were forced to send your employees home to work and perform their duties. For some, this could be the first time your organization has had to deal with remote team members. I believe that once we are past the virus threat, many workers who have gotten used to not having a long commute will want to continue working remotely, at least for part of their work week. Even though you may have remote employees at this time, you may need to regroup and think about your related HR policies that govern remote workers. There are also technology and data security concerns that should be addressed in a more permanent manner.
- Companies who have held to the belief that all employees must be visible in the office to ensure work is being done as assigned, may need to rethink that philosophy. For some groups, it is more a desire to have a handle on the culture they are trying to build within their teams. In either case, it may be time to regroup and develop a real remote workforce strategy.
- Having an option for a remote workforce can also be a significant factor when trying to recruit employees or contractors. This has been especially true of the younger workforce but may now be more common after millions of workers have gotten their first taste of working remotely. We are also at a point when the available technology erases many of the past excuses that companies have used to resist having remote employees.
- This does not have to just mean that employees are working from their kitchen table at home, but a complete remote workforce plan could include alternate work sites such as a We-Work or similar facility. There are many other reasons why a remote workforce plan is a positive overall part of a company’s strategy. For more information on this topic, visit www.RemoteOfficeConsulting.com and read some of the blog articles found there.
The next area that should be part of your “Business Reboot” plan deals with your processes.
- Process Review. As part of the sudden move to a remote workforce, many companies have been forced to make decisions as to what work processes were essential and what could be delayed or eliminated. It is definitely time for every organization to eliminate the response of “we’ve always done it that way” when asked why a certain process is performed. Everyone expects there to be changes when we restart, so now would be a perfect time to conduct a thorough process review
- Becoming Lean. One of the benefits of being forced to assess our processes is that we most likely will identify some waste or non-essential work that has been being done for years. The “Lean” movement has been popular for many years, especially in the manufacturing organizations. The company that thrives in the post-Covid19 era will be one that focuses their resources on the tasks that deliver the best return on their investment. One caution on the “Lean” movement: Don’t make the mistake interpreting “Lean” to be cutting out money and time spent on employee development such as training and leadership coaching. Your employees are most likely the largest section of your budget and you should invest in making them as productive as possible.
- Business Continuity. One benefit of the current situation is that many companies have been forced to review and implement at least portions of their business continuity plan. This is most likely not the last worldwide pandemic we will face, as well as other situations such as natural disasters.While working at Walt Disney World, I had the privilege of leading a team that created the “Y2K Business Continuity Plan” for all the Orlando based operations. In doing so, we created a model that can be used for any organization’s general business continuity plan. It includes a 10 step process that with tasks such as identifying your key processes, what are the threats to each of them, what can be done in advance to prepare for a threat, and how do you respond when the event occurs. Hopefully, most of these plans will never have to be executed, but the time to have these discussions is now and not in the middle of the heat of battle responding to a crisis.
- Service Delivery Model. The last area related to the process quadrant of a reboot plan is evaluating your service or product delivery model. One thing that has been interesting to watch is the stories of companies coming up with new and creative ways to continue serving their customers, even without making physical contact. Some of the ideas will survive the virus and be rolled into the ongoing delivery model. Other, less efficient historical delivery methods may need to be retired.
Having the right systems and tools is also key to being competitive in the post-virus era.
- Collaboration Technology. I have worked remotely with many of my clients for the past 20 years and have used various systems to allow me to connect and work together with them. I would be willing to bet that there are not too many people out there today who have not been on a Zoom, Teams, or GoToMeeting video call in the last week. Now that the majority of the workforce is familiar with the technology, it would be a good time for your organization to settle on a tool and develop policies for its use.
- Customer Relationship Management systems. (CRM) Most organizations have selected a tool to track information and needs related to their customers. Tools like SalesForce.com have become very popular and are a great way to enhance communication, both internally and with your paying customers. If you do not have a CRM tool, now would be a great time to select one and start preparing your data and training your users. If you already have a CRM system, use this time to review your information and clean up your client data. Customers expect everyone at your company to know their needs and what they have said to other members of your team, so you need to have a tool to facilitate meeting that expectation.
- Refresh Technology. Fortunately, with the developments in technology over the past few years, there is no excuse not to provide your employees and contractors the best tools. For most companies, your labor is your largest expense, so an investment that provides a 10% productivity improvement is usually worth the money. There are other reasons to upgrade your technology footprint including enhancing your security platform.
- Leadership Skills. Leadership has been and will always be the key to an organization’s success. During my assessment work with clients for the past 20 years, it is clear that the level of leadership skills demonstrated by the leaders, from the CEO down to a front line manager, is the single largest factor to determine the level of success for a company. Leadership is also the most important factor in retaining talent on your team. Leadership has an impact on customer service as a team will only deliver customer service to the level demonstrated by their leader. It is a good time to invest in leadership training and coaching to raise the bar in this critical area.
- Culture & Core Values. Leadership is also charged with creating the type of culture that will be part of the organization, along with establishing the core values to govern all activity. During this time, the leadership team should spend time answering the following question: “What do we like and what should we change about our corporate culture?” Spend some time as a team coming up with some new and challenging things to introduce to your new team once you are back up and running. For help in this area, I strongly suggest contacting the leadership experts at the L Group, Inc. (Lead@theLGroup.com)
- Teambuilding. Once you assemble your updated 2020 team, you might want to consider spending some time building your team. We have a tool called “Styles of Influence” that helps identify how each team member fits into the larger group. This can be part of a larger teambuilding / strategy session as you first get together.
I hope each of you reading this article are safe and healthy as we deal with what has become a major world issue, impacting almost every company and individual. The good news is that we will get through this, and we will be talking about how certain aspects of this time have made us stronger, more efficient, and better at what we all do in the workplace.
I believe that now is the time to plan for the reboot of the economy that will come in the next 2-6 months. Take advantage of this time and create your plan so you are ready to recruit, hire, train, and then put your new team to work. If you need help preparing your plan, I have a team ready to come along side your leadership team to help you address each of the topics discussed in this article. Please visit www.CCCGINC.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.