- Businesses face five main risks as a result of the pandemic, according to a new report by The Hackett Group: people risk, liquidity risk, supply chain risk, recession risk and business continuity risk.
- According to Hackett, leadership teams will need to address different challenges at different times. In the short term (next three to four months), crisis management will be at the forefront, with a focus on the creation and execution of a plan to mitigate the immediate impact of the crisis on staff, business operations and financials. Recession management is a concern for the next three to 12 months, and a post-crisis strategy will be needed for the next 12 months and beyond to deal with the lingering effects of the crisis and subsequent recession.
- Companies "that strengthened their leadership and operational agility after the Great Recession" are better positioned to weather the current crisis, according to Hackett. Specific examples of helpful agility include access to cloud-based systems that enable virtual work, flexible teams that allow companies to shift resources as needed and digitization that enables organizations to load-balance capacity.
When planning crisis management strategies, employers ought to consider people risk as well. "Staff will experience high levels of stress due to fears about losing income, the health of loved ones, and isolation during social distancing," the report warned. Hackett suggested several people risk management imperatives:
- Maintain employee health.
- Review employee paid time off policies.
- Expand virtual working.
- Provide backup for key people and skills.
- Develop a leadership continuity plan.
The execution will likely play out differently at individual workplaces, but it's clear these general priorities may need to be top of mind.
Verizon, for example, announced a shift a shift to fully remote work March 12 and was 90% of the way to its goal by the following week. Additionally, it launched an HR command center to answer employee questions. Business continuity teams also were activated.
Other companies adopted a variety of measures — including pay continuation, work-from-home options and increased health benefits — to support workers as the world deals with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
Long-term, employers that communicate well and in a transparent manner will build trust with workers that will serve them well after the immediate crisis has passed, according to Randstad.