Our keytakeaway from recent virtual group discussions was that building a COVID-19 playbook or Single Source of Truth for all matters related to the pandemic is the best way to keep your team aligned and focused on shared goals. Keeping everything in one place cuts down on confusion and provides a beacon of stability in a time of chaos. Read till the end to find out how you can build a kick ass playbook.
Each week, we are joined by global HR leaders to brainstorm, share learnings, and collect insights on how organizations can come out on top of this crisis. You can also be a part of one of our upcoming virtual group discussions.
Here's what we learnt from this week's sessions:
1. Activate Financial Benefit Programs to Make Sure your Employees Stay Healthy and Safe
Several HRBPs told us that they had activated extra benefit programs and strengthened healthcare programs to ensure employees could focus on work without the lingering uncertainty. Another HR Leader initiated a program to pay for all the medical needs of both their employees and their families. Not only are measures like these ethical, but they pay dividends in reducing cost of employee churn. We cannot emphasize enough that you need to be employee-first in an uncertain time like this.
2. Proactively Engage your Younger leadEmployees
Believe it or not, at our attendees' firms the 20 to 30 age group has shown more anxiety about work from home than the 60+ age bracket. For many young workers, this is the first major economic crisis they ever have faced, being too young to have worked during the recession of 2008. Many older employees have lived through worse and built up resilience through experience. But your less experienced employees may need more care, attention, and constructive work to keep them engaged and motivated at work. Not only do you need to be a model leader, you also now must understand what your young workforce expects from their workplace.
3. Encourage Top Down Communication and Leadership
In a time of crisis employees will naturally look to leadership as a north star to weather the storm. That means it is the responsibility of the Executive Board to communicate proactively and lead by example. One way to make sure all your employees feel valued is weekly townhalls led by CXOs with open Q&A's so that employees can ask the questions they need answered. Further, some of our attendees shared that the first people in their firm to take pay-cuts were CXOs. This is the type of decisive leadership we need now more than ever.
4. Improve your Analytics Capabilities to Make Data-Driven Decisions
With every function under the microscope right now being data driven and quantitative in your decision making is a key way to make the right decisions, whether on layoffs, pay cut percentages, software subscription renewals, and more. Our HR thought leaders emphasized that building analytics capabilities into HR makes it less of a soft skill and asserts its pivotal nature in an uncertain climate. Now is the time to leverage technology and come out stronger from this COVID-19 crisis.
5. Build a Comprehensive COVID-19 Playbook as a Single Source of Truth
One of our attendees detailed how her company created a "playbook" or manual for employees laying out all the steps and initiatives the company is taking allowing the entire team to stay connected and clear on business direction. Cut down on confusion by compiling everything your employees need to know to stay safe and productive in one accessible and up to date package. No decision is too big or small to be put in the playbook!
These sessions have so far been a treasure trove in terms of learnings and we will ensure the word gets out for every organization to implement and navigate this stressful, changing period together.
We would love to thank the HR leaders who make time to do their bit for their people and business as we cope with COVID-19 together.
Debolina Dutta, Wharton Business School and ex-VP HR at Schneider Electric-Luminous India