Six Crisis Management Lessons For Navigating The Pandemic

Christel Deskins

CEO of CUJO AI, the only AI cybersecurity solution currently deployed on 760M connected devices. Acclaimed by World Economic Forum, Gartner. getty Earlier this year, economies across the world fell into the grip of the pandemic. The global crisis caused by Covid-19 created unprecedented uncertainties for households and businesses alike. We […]

CEO of CUJO AI, the only AI cybersecurity solution currently deployed on 760M connected devices. Acclaimed by World Economic Forum, Gartner.

Earlier this year, economies across the world fell into the grip of the pandemic. The global crisis caused by Covid-19 created unprecedented uncertainties for households and businesses alike. We all felt the stress and anxiety about an ambiguous future.

During such a crisis, it’s normal for employees to feel unsure about the available information. That’s why it’s important for business leaders to be transparent as they guide their staff through what is happening and what’s in store for the future.

A leader’s words and actions can help people feel safe and cope with emotional and financial stress. Here are a few tips to help maximize satisfaction and value for your global team while also minimizing any discomfort or disruption that the pandemic has created:

Set clear goals.

From the beginning, be clear on what your company plans to achieve during this crisis. Readjust your marketing strategy to align it with your new goals so your employees know exactly what to work around. 

For instance, when the pandemic was at its peak, Best Buy CEO Corie Barry realized that the world of retail was about to change. She acted quickly to redefine the goals for the company, and by the time Best Buy released its first-quarter results, the company was able to retain 80% of its sales despite shutting down all of its brick-and-mortar stores globally.

Use collaborative tools — and keep searching for better ones.

Technology has made it possible for us to communicate over long distances. Now is the time for effective video communication and using emails to speak to stakeholders.

Here are a few tips for using the right tools:

• Exchange work documents and information only through emails. However, since we can’t have in-house meetings, making separate department groups on platforms like WhatsApp can also help in communicating each department’s goals effectively.

• For videoconferencing, take your pick from Skype, Zoom and Google Hangouts, as these apps have proved quite useful.

• To ensure successful completion and communication about tasks, record daily tasks on platforms like Google Drive, Dropbox or Spreadsheets.

It does take a lot of patience and flexibility to use these applications. You have to keep in mind that internet connections can be quite vulnerable, and not everyone has the bandwidth to log in on time. The Covid-19 pandemic, and the ensuing pressure to manage the increasing load, has led internet service providers to work on new ways to maintain network performance. Many of them have also updated the amount of bandwidth that people can purchase within the same package.

Keep the company website up-to-date.

Be consistent in communicating with your staff about any changes in work policies or task deadlines through emails. Similarly, keep buyers, suppliers and other external stakeholders informed about the latest developments by updating your company website and FAQ section.

Remember to value your employees’ concerns, communicate an effective work-from-home policy and emphasize following stay-at-home orders and standard operating procedures.

Keep a section of your website dedicated to news and statistics on Covid-19, including changes in policy procedures and business info.

Acknowledge employees, and make them feel valued.

It is usual for employees to feel demotivated during such uncertain times. Hence, it is crucial to boost their morale by:

• Acknowledging the efforts put in by your workers. This will reassure them that their dedication and hard work is valued.

• Communicating company initiatives to address the Covid-19 pandemic on all fronts.

• Providing targeted communication and guidance on how to deal with social isolation and the ensuing mental stress.

• Having online sessions on important issues such as anxiety, depression and domestic abuse. It is important to remember that the work-from-home situation is not ideal for everyone. Show your support and let them know they can reach out if needed.  

Stewart Butterfield, CEO of Slack, demonstrated these efforts by telling his team to focus on personal care. His message entailed, “Take care of yourselves, take care of your families, be a good partner.”

Relate to your customers.

To keep your business afloat, it is crucial to align your company’s goals with those of your customers’. Keep in mind the following pointers regarding customer service:

• Identify your customers’ concerns and assure them via a prompt communication system that your company is doing its best to ensure safe and consistent delivery of products and services.

• Let your customers know the steps being taken to protect them and the employees from exposure to the virus.

• Engage on social media and post news on Twitter and LinkedIn so they are visible to your fans and followers. 

Communicate with stakeholders.

Clear communication strategies with stakeholders ensure business consistency, as how you communicate can demonstrate trust and commitment. For companies to be proactive and differentiate themselves, it’s essential to consider:

• Developing a response plan for any external questions that might arise, and preparing to offer safe and practical solutions to tackle problems.

• Providing a full analysis of financial statements and decisions that have impacted the business.

• Providing leadership thought pieces by C-suite executives to all investors and stakeholders to ensure them that the company is doing its best to keep business thriving.

• Sharing third-party updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other government agencies, and acknowledging the collective efforts put forth by industries to fight this pandemic.

Key Takeaway

With the global pandemic and the wave of anxiety that has taken over, many organizations are looking to make profound alterations to the way work will be conducted in offices. To ensure their employees’ continued strength, these companies are making transformational changes in the way they communicate and motivate their workers.

Relying on the above tips will not only keep your team safe but also inspire them to build trust, empathy and understanding that extends beyond the workplace.

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