The COVID-19 pandemic has taken business continuity and disaster recovery planning to new heights. Just as small and medium-sized businesses were identifying a need for planning in the first place, the coronavirus shattered nearly every aspect of normal business. Many companies were forced to alter their environments and processes overnight.
Managing the business impacts of COVID-19 is proving to be challenging for many. Everyone from new entrepreneurs to skilled business leaders with crisis management experience are struggling to navigate the current environment. Right now, we need to adjust everything we previously knew to be true. At PuzzleHR we understand the uncertainty many businesses now face, and we are here to help. If you’re struggling with managing the business impacts associated with the COVID-19 crisis, here are some tips we think will help.
1. Shifting to remote operations
Businesses able to shift to remote operations should do so immediately. It’ll help keep revenue flowing as best as possible and keep your employees both productive and safe. However, this won’t come without challenges. You’ll need to be proactive to help your employees get acclimated to these significant changes. Be sure to implement sufficient training and provide sound communication methods to help your staff adapt. Additionally, inform them of the increased risk of phishing attempts and scams associated with the virus – the last thing you need is a data or network breach during these trying times.
2. Planning business continuity during restrictions
One of the biggest challenges businesses currently face is planning for the long-term, not knowing what the coronavirus pandemic will bring in the upcoming weeks, months and beyond. If your business cannot effectively be run remotely, you’ll need to figure out a way to survive while social distancing and isolation restrictions are set in place by federal, state and local governments.
If you’re able to stay open, establish 6-foot distancing markers (tape on the floor is one approach businesses are taking), plan for curbside or home delivery and use alternating/rotating schedules for essential employees.
3. Understand how to take advantage of government sponsored programs
The US government has approved two new pieces of legislation designed to help American families and businesses alike deal with the financial impacts of the crisis. The Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA) puts money in the hands of most Americans, expands the unemployment safety net, enhances the Family and Medical Leave Act, and calls for mandatory paid sick time for workers. Additionally, the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, among other things, provides businesses the opportunity to apply for forgivable loans to cover payroll and other expenses in an effort to keep people employed.
This legislation will help many businesses keep their doors open as we work to get through the current challenges we all face. However, there are “strings attached,” so seeking professional assistance is recommended.
4. Marketing and outreach efforts
Context always matters, but it does now more than ever. As a part of your crisis management plan, make a concentrated effort to keep in touch with your customers and clients during this pandemic. Your messages should be written with tact and empathy.
Traditional marketing messages may come across as insensitive or inappropriate during this difficult time. Look at any of your current campaigns and adjust as needed. You may need to pause certain scheduled e-mail blasts or blog posts and replace them with messages that reflect community-focused sympathetic tones without generating fear or appearing to capitalize on the crisis.
5. Adjusting HR processes
Restrictions on personal interactions have significantly disrupted many traditional HR processes. You’ll need to prepare and conduct virtual interviews, handle onboarding processes online and convert your routine responsibilities to online formats as well. Don’t forget, you’ll still need to be compliant with labor laws too, along with adhering to any government mandates associated with in-person gatherings and travel.
Conducting crisis management is a difficult situation for many businesses. If you’re struggling to keep one or more of your processes running smoothly during the COVID-19 crisis, or if you need help with understanding how to leverage all the new legislation for your company and employees, PuzzleHR is here to help make your transition easier and support whatever needs or gaps you may have. To learn more about the services we offer, contact us today.