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Client Advice

Adapting during a crisis

By Vicki Bedeman
05-03-2021

Management has never been so challenged, no one would have imagined what the entire world would contend with in 2020. For this reason, change management has been vital to the survival of companies, they have little choice, either adapt or die. 

In 2020, the speed at which companies needed to change due to the pandemic was dramatic and management relied largely on their gut instinct.  Fortunately, as we grow accustom to the new normal, there is much to reflect on and learn from. 

If you find yourself in a new role as a CEO in a new company during this time, you will be keen to see a smooth transition and effectively motivate your teams to accept changes in the business.  We share with you a number of methods you can use in this uncertain phase to assist you.

 

  1. Accelerate your learning – As you are new to the business, you will be on a steep learning curve.  Immerse yourself in all the company information available, listen to the views of existing staff, management and customers so you have a clear outline of where the business priorities are.  

  2. Quick response – In a crisis, decisions need to be made quickly, do not hesitate, and roll out the business continuity plans into action, that is what they were designed for. Quick reaction times will speed up internal processes, seek out any bottlenecks and keep business moving.  This will ensure the company continues to function and generate revenue. 

  3. Staff are key – showing empathy and giving support to staff is of primary importance.  Working with your staff and supporting them through the difficulties they face will secure your staff loyalty and commitment.  With a strong team in place, you will be able to stabilise the business and be ready to expand as soon as there are signs of recovery in the markets.  If you short-change or treat your staff poorly through this period, as soon as the job market bounces back, they will swiftly exit the business.  People do not forget how a company treated them or their colleagues when faced with adversity. 

  4. Communication – as with any change program, communication with staff is important.  Fortunately, through the pandemic there has been a wide acceptance of virtual communication channels.  Most people are now comfortable with video conferencing and working remotely – use this to your advantage and set regular check in meetings to monitor the impact of the change.

 

Deloitte Consulting released a report entitled, “Combating Covid-19 with an agile change management approach.”; they highlighted that safeguarding staff was the central theme to any change management program.  Being honest to staff about the reasons for the changes needed in the business is a good starting point.  Employees appreciate the need for change so they will understand. What will be under scrutiny is the way the change is executed.  Open and honest communication will develop the trust with staff and they will feel more secure and valued in their roles, so less likely to leave the company when you most need them. 

We at Antal appreciate the strains the pandemic has put management under.  We have continued to support our clients, candidates and staff where we can.  We will continue to part our insights from industry with you, as we feel it is important to share experiences and knowledge so we can make this transition to the new virtual norm easier for everyone.  

References:

Deloitte Consulting report: “Combating Covid-19 with an agile change management approach.” https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/in/Documents/human-capital/in-hc-consulting-deloitte-change-management-pov-on-covid-noexp.pdf  Accessed online: 3.3.2021