Business continuity experts anticipate the unforeseen, prepare for disruptions, and plan for the unpredictable. Yet even the most seasoned among them couldn’t have planned for a virus that created a whole new dating system: before lockdown and after lockdown.
COVID-19 has brought with it a unique set of market and HR challenges, not least among them being an employee experience lens on disruption. Traditionally, businesses have prepared for business continuity by focusing on obtaining laptops and infosec waivers. For the first time, however, our customers report having to plan for the way their employees behave and feel outside the office.
Organizational readiness and resiliency in the new normal have come to mean building an employee-centric work culture, one in which everyone takes care of each other. As this pandemic has shown, indefinite periods of remote working affect not only productivity, but employees’ overall wellness and wellbeing. At a time when work-life balance is giving way to work-life integration, organizations need to ensure that their employees are cared for and supported. Equally important is that employees FEEL cared for and supported.
It’s anybody’s guess when things will go back to normal, or if they ever will. And until there is greater clarity around the ‘new normal’, employees will have to be empowered to work ‘together, apart’ for long, uncertain periods.
Training has become a cornerstone of the conversations around remote working. Employees not only have to be trained in ways to be productive in the middle of a crisis but also on working as a single unit and bringing their best selves to work.
Human connection and camaraderie have never been as integral to business continuity planning as they are now. Frequent communications and group activities to build bonds and establish trust are emerging powerful tools to reduce stress and help teams achieve more.
Post lockdown, there has been a heightened sense of customer and employee awareness about companies’ measures to protect their staff and ensure their wellbeing. As people spend more time online, this presents opportunities for businesses to get ahead in the employee advocacy game.
The link between employee experience and customer experience has become undeniable. Taking the time to address employee concerns in altered workplaces can increase employee engagement and make them feel like they are journeying with the company. A united organization, in turn, will have a positive impact on customer sentiment and ultimately, brand reputation.
Employees are finding ways to remain highly productive despite all the distractions. But this balancing act is, at best, tenuous. To sustain the long haul, organizations need to develop people-centric business continuity plans that will allow them to adapt and collaborate, even in uncertain times.