In many ways, the changes to how we do business in the world have been creeping up on us for some time. COVID19 has just bought it on now with a bang, removing choice. As tragic as COVID19 is, we are collectively being forced to break down the preconceived old schools’ ways of working to come up with new, creative, solutions.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. If we adjust our lenses this can be an amazing opportunity to change the way we do things, particularly in how we manage our people and to the overall quality of our business, and more importantly – to people’s lives.

How to improve your financial literacy around HR and cutting the ‘right’ costs 

First and foremost, businesses need to remain calm and rational.

Secondly, stay informed and get good advice.

The government is constantly releasing new stimulus packages at the moment, aimed at keeping people in jobs and seeing small businesses get through this stand still in time. It’s important to understand these and the impact to your business, before making decisions and taking action.

We are already seeing some of those businesses who jumped to put staff off and stand people down, not in a better off position financially as a result of the government stimulus packages. Not to mention the impact of this to the successful continuation of the businesses, and more importantly, to the welfare of your people.

Thirdly, get creative and think and lead with compassion first.

Reactive cost cutting measures such as headcount, is not necessarily the smartest approach right now. Think strategically and creatively.

Disruption is the new normal, here’s how you can all manage the uncertainty together

The only thing we know for certain right now, is that everything is uncertain.

Change has always been a constant, and businesses need to become nimble. It’s not about implementing long term changes; it’s about creating an environment that is flexible and adaptable to whatever might be thrown your way.

The greatest tool businesses can draw upon during this time is compassion, understanding and empathetic leadership. Empathetic leadership requires creative adaptation and seeking solutions that are people centric. Practical solutions will be important during crisis management and change, but a workforce that feels understood will be the difference between progress and regression. This is a time of significant change for businesses of every shape and size.

Invest in the right technology. We live in a technological world, and now more than ever, is the importance of technology. So far, one of the biggest successes in managing this time for businesses has been via good use of technology practices. Take the time to connect with your staff, and your customers, virtually.

How to handle grievances and complaints during this time

Humans need to feel heard and during this uncertain time, the most important quality in leaders is the emotional intelligence to seek to understand first.

Everyone is stressed and impacted by the effects of COVDI9 differently. The more compassion you can show as a leader, the more effectively you will manage complaints and meaningfully support your staff.

Your job as a leader is to support, understand and advocate for your team. You don’t need to be their pillar of strength. In fact, compassion often looks like being open about some of your own struggles, when appropriate. Self-care should be part of your people management policy. To best manage those in your care, you need to first care for yourself. Manage your own anxiety and seek support. So, you have the strength to support others.

No one in today’s workforce has experienced anything like COVID-19. Leadership principles, however, remain clear and true. Seek first to understand, use your resources to innovate and adapt, and ensure everyone is heard, including yourself. Leading with the basics can be the greatest tool relied upon for managing people during times of crisis.

Casey George and Laura French are founders of the Authentic People Partners.