As we all know, we’re living in extremely unusual circumstances and all my best wishes go to anyone who is affected in health, economic or other terms by COVID-19 and I sincerely hope we are able to bring this under control with as little further damage as is possible.
We’ve never been in the scenario where everyone (this is from the UK context so may not completely apply to your country) needs to work from home unless they’re providing a vital service.
We’ve never had to adapt the way we work en masse so fundamentally. Many of us have had to learn technology we didn’t think we’d ever have to use. Families have developed different ways of living together. We’ve had to learn, innovate and create solutions. Spirit and community have blossomed despite social exclusion. Heroes have emerged, swimming against the tide.
In commerce, the show must go on and from the HR perspective, we need to think in a different way. This is not BAU for any of us. Keeping in touch with your teams and inspiring them to achieve great results has never been more vital. Our offices are empty and our people are ‘displaced’, working individually from spare bedrooms and kitchen tables. Many people have been Furloughed and of course, very sadly, many others have been made redundant.
Now here is a proactive consideration. IBM’s HR chief said it’s an excellent time to poach rivals’ employees.
If you are feeling opportunistic, you might want to go ahead, map the competition, reach out to individuals to create acknowledgment and then start relationships. Ask them about their career aspirations. Ask them what they’re working on and what they want to be working on. Ask them if they feel they have been achieving their potential.
Companies I know are doing this all day today, tomorrow and every day for the next few months.
This is the view from one side of the table. On the other,your organisation’s been scaled down temporarily and rather than focusing on picking off the prime meat from your competitors, you might be better nurturing your internal talent pipeline; the people doing what they can to help your business succeed and of course, those Furloughed workers, contractors and freelancers. These are the people who have enabled your organisation to get to where it’s got to and they’ll be people you’ll need in the future so let’s get to it. You need to:
1. Make use of a system of engagement to segment your different stakeholder groups, according to their employment relationship with your business
2. Create a communication plan which includes regular distribution and a standard format so people begin to expect it and it becomes familiar and reassuring
3. Include honest messages from leadership (your CEO, your HRD or comms leader) plus uplifting features about people in the business in multiple formats – written word, video and images
4. Create a content calendar and share the work among the team or appoint 1-2 people to completely focus on this
5. Invite Furloughed workers plus your contingent workforce to build their own profile pages, tagging all their relevant skills so that you, the HR and talent acquisition teams are able to make the best sense of the population and place them back into the most suitable roles for them and for the organisation as soon as possible
6. Create automatic workflows to give everyone the very best experience. For example, where someone doesn’t open an email, it’s likely they didn’t spot it so one workflow will automatically trigger a text message 48 hours later to generate 23% additional engagement
7. Many of these people won’t immediately return to your organisation but if you execute this in an elegant way, you’ll have built enough goodwill that you’ll be able to keep in touch and share opportunities with them for the rest of their careers…
You might well be up to your neck in COVID-19-related issues but if you can possibly get the time from somewhere, I highly recommend adopting this smart approach which will make your jobs in HR and talent acquisition that much easier in the coming months. It’ll allow you to retain as many good people as possible. It’ll generate a competitive advantage for your organisation.
You’ll look back at the end of the year and be glad you did.
If you’d like to learn more, book a consultation to get started.
Originally published on LinkedIn