The novel coronavirus (COVID- 19) gave the world a rude awakening when it first appeared in China late last year. At that time, many people thought it was the usual grandstanding, which would end soon. Little did they know that they were experiencing the start of a pandemic. The pandemic has altered all spheres of human endeavors, including the corporate world that has not been spared the brunt of its effects. Executives from different industries have had to do the balancing act to ensure efficient workflow in their organizations, while ensuring employee safety. The need to figure out modalities to ensure effective employee performance has been brought into sharp focus.
The world economy has taken a hit since the outbreak of the coronavirus.
The United States has had a record number of forty million citizens applying for unemployment benefits, following job losses caused by the imposition of restrictions on the movement of people. Airlines have also lost revenue after bans on international flights by many countries. In the following paragraphs, we explore options to maximize the performance of employees during the pandemic.
Revising KPI’s and psychological support
Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) play an integral role in employee assessment models. It helps employers to track the performance of their employees periodicallyand offer relevant rewards or sanctions. Since the pandemic, and the subsequent decrease in economic activities, people’s purchasing power has been negatively affected. It therefore implies that companies that serve those people are experiencing reductions in revenue. This affects their ability to meet sales targets. Therefore, they must adjust their expectations of staff members those KPI’s depend on meeting sales targets. It is important for organizations to analyse the existing KPI’s before the pandemic and adjust them if necessary. Adjustment of KPI’s is important to maintain fair expectations of employees in unfavourable conditions. These adjustments should involve all levels of the organization to ensure that everybody is on the same page. KPI’s that may need adjustments include profit targets, sales outreach targets and those that have a direct bearing on the sustainability of the company. This important move gives employees the chance to see that their company is conscious of the problems that they may face in meeting KPI’s.
In addition, motivational and psychological support is needed to boost the morale of employees. Since many have been facing fears about job security since the pandemic. To soothe tensions and insecurity among staff, human resources personnel should step in to reassure staff members of management’s support. Advanced Network, an international network of microfinance companies based in France, convened a virtual meeting early this year from their head office. They assured their employees that they would not be doing redundancy exercises. This calmed the fears of staff members who were apprehensive about possible job losses. In addition, they instituted a reward scheme for staff members who deliver excellent levels of performance, despite the crisis. This spurred staff members to think outside the box and exceed performance targets. This resulted in profit targets being exceeded. The benefits of interventions to boost employee morale and sense of security cannot be denied.
Communication is crucial
Uncertainties surrounding the pandemic inspired several contingency plans. A strategy to manage the pandemic is the imposition of restrictions to limit the transfer of the virus. Many companies pay close attention to updates from state officials regarding the pandemic, to enable them to effectively strategize on the way forward for their business. It is therefore imperative for companies to continually update their staff on their modified business strategies, borne out of the government’s plans for battling the virus.
Good communication enables employees to be focused and organized in performing their assigned duties, according to the companies evolving guidelines. Organizations can adopt methods such as electronic message blasting, emails, and notice boards to communicate the ever-changing corporate response strategies. Collecting feedback from staff and external clients on how well the adjusted strategies are faring, can help a company’s policy makers to transform them into more suitable solutions to serve the needs of the stakeholders.
Innovation and research
“Necessity is the mother of invention.” In times of crisis, only companies that devise innovative and superior business strategies can shoulder the negative effects of the pandemic. A lot of companies, through research and development, have been able to diversify their core business and move into COVID related or resistant niches, to remain competitive.Some companies appear to be struggling because of the pandemic. However, it has been a blessing to other industries such as telecommunications, textiles, and distilleries, who are experiencing exciting turn over for their businesses since the advent of the pandemic. The pandemic has motivated a lot of companies to switch from their core business, which may not be sustainable during the pandemic. Offering products and services to aid in response to the pandemic has been a focus of business diversification. This includes the manufacture of personal protective equipment, hand sanitizers and providing IT infrastructure for virtual engagement platforms. Some companies opted for this diversification model to save jobs and remain competitive.
Control and monitor
Implementation of procedures to protect employees from contracting the virus is very important. These procedures may include sanitation of employees and the work environment, temperature checks and virtual meeting platforms. This helps to maintain a sense of security among employees, while they perform their duties.Since the pandemic has deprived many companies of the opportunity for performing safe on-site work, virtual working platforms have become one of the best methods of facilitating employees that can work remotely and monitor their performance. To effectively monitor and control the activities of employees who work from home, virtual platforms may be used to host activities using multimedia.
Crises such as the ongoing pandemic shows the difference between people and organizations that are static in their operations and those that are dynamic. The dynamic approach embraces change and adaptation. Adaptation is the key to weathering the COVID storm.
Phidelia Johnson is a global Human Resources Practitioner with eighteen years of leadership success. With a focus on streamlining Human Resources administration, she’s well-equipped to find the right solution to a myriad of concerns. Her experience as a commercial business leader gives her a unique ability to advocate for both the employer and the employee.
In her down time, Phidelia is a master of her kitchen, creating wonderful dishes filled with passion and flavor. If she’s not cooking delicious food, she’s stretched out with a good book. She hopes to use her experience to help others, guide company leaders to best practices, and help build better professionals and stronger organizations.