Want to be a Business That Survives and Thrives?
You need to embrace the new normal.
DURING THESE DIFFICULT TIMES, COMPANIES will either thrive and survive or stay stagnant and eventually fold. Those that survive will do so because they will immediately create a new workforce and work model that embraces the lasting changes that will come with this new normal. Embracing the new workforce means you need to do three things.
1. UNDERSTAND THAT THE REMOTE MODEL IS LIKELY HERE TO STAY.
This pandemic has forced many of us to work from home for a pretty significant period of time. For those that thrived on being in an office setting, the change may have been a difficult one. For others, it answered, in a strange and unsettling way, a question that may have been on their minds for many months or years: “Why can’t I work remotely in this position?” Several experts predict that this forced remote-work situation will fundamentally change the way we work forever. Many positions that employers insisted must be performed from an office setting are now being performed, regularly, from the home of the employee.
One important way to be the employer who thrives instead of simply surviving is to be open to this new way of working. A large number of employees will likely now value being able to work remotely instead of in an office setting. If your employees indicate that they want to continue to explore remote work as a permanent or semi-permanent solution, listen to and work with them. A rigid approach to this request could force your organization to lose exceptionally talented individuals. Your ability to take this new reality and make it work for your business can be the difference between having an all-star staff that will help rebuild with you and having a staff that is simply doing the job to bide time until something else comes along.
Now is the time to learn from those businesses that have been using a remote model for years. Craft a policy that works for your business, make sure it is legally sound by engaging legal counsel and then work together with your employees to find a remote or semi-remote environment that serves everyone’s needs.
2. ADOPT AN ORGANIZATIONAL CHART REFLECTIVE OF YOUR NEW REALITY AND REFLECTIVE OF THE ORGANIZATION YOU ARE REBUILDING.
While, it may be easy to look at the state of the organization and lament how things have changed so quickly, now is a great opportunity to build a distinctive, impactful team.
Ask yourself a series of questions: From a workforce perspective, where were my biggest liabilities? Did I have too many people performing the same job or several people performing a job that one person could do? Did I have employees who should have been moved into positions that better reflect their skill sets? Is there anything I could streamline or automate?
This is a time of reflection; when the time for growth returns, you can take the lessons of the previous months and move in the direction that makes sense for your organization in this new reality.
3. ADDRESS ANY HARD CONVERSATIONS BEFORE YOU ARE FORCED TO HAVE THEM.
Because COVID-19 hit so heavy and fast, many employers were forced to suddenly and unexpectantly have difficult conversations with employees about their future at the organization. Too often these conversations unfortunately involved terminations and layoffs: Many good employees were caught in these layoffs, but some underperforming employees probably should have been removed from the payroll months ago.
Now is the time to take an inventory of how you handle your workforce moving forward. Performing consistent and honest employment evaluations is imperative. Communicating your expectations and needs as an employer clearly, with kindness as well as authority, is essential. Right now, rebuilding your workforce with the finest team is the best way to position your organization for success. This can only be accomplished by under – standing what you want your business to look like, knowing the necessary qualifications of your ideal employee, and putting the correct mechanisms in place now to ensure you are moving toward a plan that makes sense for your business.
These are hard times, but many employers will weather this storm and come out with an efficient, more cohesive workforce. Regrowth of your team will happen again, but you need to be prepared. Understanding the new work/life reality, being honest about your company’s needs, and building the most productive team are a few factors that will be instrumental in repositioning your business as an industry leader and positioning it for continued growth.
Michelle D. Craig is the owner and managing attorney of Transcendent Law Group. With more than 17 years of experience as a lawyer and business advisor to her clients, she resolves legal matters for small and large companies, charter schools, nonprofits, colleges and universities. Her firm primarily focuses on labor and employment matters, education, litigation, economic development issues and transactional matters.