If you have a business or if you are part of a company, you’re most likely dealing with new ways of working, closing deals, and hiring as a result of the pandemic. This includes how to manage new regulations, new rules, new everything! The new normal.
Amidst times of uncertainty, one thing is certain: COVID-19 is pushing us to define and roll out new operating models, organizational dynamics, and digital transformational paths. All of this faster than originally conceived.
Our parent company, Globant, conducted a survey of 300 US business decision-makers who are on the front lines of their companies’ adaptation to the COVID-19 crisis. These managers work for global organizations with more than 500 employees.
The survey shows that 53% of respondents whose working areas are affected by government-mandated “shelter in place” ordinances due to coronavirus, say they don’t feel prepared enough to ensure business continuity. 33% of US surveyed companies have decided to work from home until further notice, and 27% have thus far allowed remote work for a two-week period only.
The situations that companies are finding themselves can be described in three ways:
A- pure survival mode
B- adapting and capitalizing on the crisis
C- growing, thriving, and leading the way
Despite their differences, all of them know that the world is changing and their ability to adapt to those changes is key. The Coronavirus pandemic is transforming all industries, and that makes innovation more important than ever. Companies that understand the implications of this crisis faster than their competitors, and that are ready to bring their digital transformation plans to the next level, will define worldwide competition maps in the future.
In the middle of this chaos, there are some guidelines that companies can use to adapt faster and become a more flexible organization. Digital transformation is an “ace up your sleeve”. People centricity is the “new secret ingredient”. Data is the main asset and new alliances and partnerships will be the differentiating factor of sustainable business growth.
Companies with advanced organizational agility, like those in Company C, are able to make rapid and sustainable progress. Even during a global crisis, they seize opportunities to change how they produce and deliver value to customers, markets, and employees.
They can do this because they have already adopted the organizational dynamics and business structures. This enables them to change course when the unexpected happens.
1. Improve your infrastructure
Turning your company into a fully remote operation will require senior management to have a clear understanding of the day-to-day necessities of their teams. First, make sure your employees have access to the tools they need to do their jobs at the required scale (solid internet connection, a second monitor, etc). Connecting with teams regularly via video conferencing will be essential to maintain the necessary routine and delivery schedule.
Compliance issues can be segmented based on priority. It is paramount to stay committed to cybersecurity and privacy standards, but you can be flexible with secondary compliances such as paperwork related to new devices, or tickets for small purchases.
Ensure that your employees can carry out their duties via a user-friendly, customer-centric approach. Employees need to understand the company-wide need to innovate and find new ways to satisfy current clients while reaching new ones.
2. Start an adaptation process and build a multidisciplinary crisis management team
If your company hasn’t done so already, identify and map your core processes to assess their reassignment and adaptation. If possible, distribute risk by relocating critical work among different locations. Adapt your core processes to the current situation to ensure continuity and minimal impact. Here, digitalization is key.
To oversee the transition, build a multidisciplinary crisis management team that includes one senior manager from each of the following areas: Infrastructure, Comms, Legal, External Experts (epidemiologist for example), Operations, People / HR and build a contingency plan, with different scenarios, action plan, owners and responsibilities.
3. Create a communication strategy to meet the needs of both customers and employees
A targeted, high impact communications strategy within the company is key for an effective transition and adoption of safe behaviors, and for strengthening relationships for geographically dispersed or remote workers. Establish a centralized set of channels for all employees to reach out if they have issues, questions or concerns, including email, direct messaging and daily, weekly or biweekly open Q&A sessions.
Additionally, having an effective outward communications strategy will be essential to ensure your company’s relationships with its client and supplier communities.
Throughout the world, mandatory social distancing is affecting marketing initiatives and investment: events, fairs, and congresses must now go digital, content calendar priorities change, making inbound marketing now more important than ever. Validate your ongoing communication channels’ readiness for change to reach to every stakeholder.
This global crisis forces leaders to think completely out of the box in order to save their business and protect the health of their employees and their families. Global leaders need to take proactive action by providing their teams with the right infrastructure and tools to work from home, flexibilize their operations and processes as fast as they can without risking their cybersecurity and compliance standards and put in place business continuity plans that adapt geographically and culturally to local regulations.
It’s time to accelerate a digital and cognitive transformation. Take the time to find solutions that provide both a quick win and a step forward on the path toward becoming more like Company C!
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