Updated: Feb 18
Companies facing Covid-19: an unprecedented pandemic and humanitarian crisis
Covid-19 has been raging for several months now, and the entire planet is affected. No one has experienced this tragedy, and all businesses are affected. Where are we today? Things have gradually picked up, but everyone agrees that the "old normal" no longer exists and that it is the "new normal" that awaits us during this crisis.
Crises are times when humans learn and which allow them to adapt to become better. This same principle applies to organizations. The pandemic we are currently experiencing will, for some of them, be an opportunity for innovation and redefinition. Obviously, this will not be the case for all organizations. As we can already see, several companies have unfortunately had to close their doors permanently or will have to do so in the coming months.
Review of operations management
This type of decision requires a review of the planning of operations management. Specific strategic steps must then be taken. Among these, there is obviously the inventory of necessary resources, including, among others, human resources. To achieve its objectives, the organization must have sufficient human resources and skills.
Necessary skills and employee involvement
Getting an organization, and more specifically its employees, to take a 180-degree turn is not impossible, but is quite a challenge. One must first assess the internal resources, which may result in a positive surprise! In an article published in October 2019, titled : "What if that rare gem you are looking for was right under your nose", Marie-France Godin discusses the importance of having a clear and comprehensive picture of the skills of the employees in the organization. Such a portrait not only makes it possible to know the spectrum of employee skills but also to determine the gaps between these skills and those that the organization needs to evolve. Picturing the gaps allows to take the necessary measures to fill them as needed.
This skills management results in an increased agility to adjust to the changing environment and thus in an increased ability to face challenges. Also, it allows more significant involvement of employees in the various projects that may emerge from the upheavals or changes, since they are invited to contribute depending on the skills they have best mastered.
Reinventing yourself: a shared and collective responsibility
Reacting well to upheaval or change requires organizations to be agile. This means leaving an important place for the autonomy of the employees and having confidence in their capacities to find solutions to lead the organization towards the new objectives thanks to the collective competences.
The transition we are facing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic is a good example of a situation where applying management by skills, implicitly or explicitly, brings benefits for organizations.
Indeed, since mid-March, several employers were forced to experiment practices requiring more flexibility and collaboration in multidisciplinary teams, leveraging on the unparalleled strength of individual skills put together. It can be seen that the response has generally been positive. Thus, through this ordeal, the employees of the companies affected by the pandemic ended up adapting to this new reality, in an unconventional way. It can indeed be assumed that a stronger than usual spirit of collaboration has emerged from the crisis. This shows that workers have a lot of resilience and that, if they are brought to their full potential, anything is possible for an organization, including reinventing itself!
It is generally recognized that rigid and hierarchical structures are not the best environment for fostering autonomy or for increasing confidence. Indeed they leave little - or no - room for autonomy or confidence in daily life.
Maybe it's time to look at formally changing your management style. It would be a shame to ignore this experience or even to back evert to previous practices.
In the article "Companies facing COVID-19: collaborative management in a disruptive context", we explore tools to make agility permanent.
Marie-France Godin, Lucia Levato, Roberto Bonino.
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Marie-France Godin, CRIA is a strategic human resources consultant at GO RH in the Quebec office. Focused on coaching and the development of individuals, GO RH supports organizations in the management of your human resources and more specifically with a view to managing the talents of your organization.
Initally published in french on Go-rh blog.