Many businesses have been hit hard due to the impact of the Coronavirus. However, some businesses have taken this as an opportunity to restrategize their company. Keep reading below to find out how to keep your business running smoothly amidst chaotic times.
You can run a successful business during a pandemic; you just have to be willing to adapt.
1. Revisit your HR Strategies
Never in our lifetime have the majority of business owners been instructed by the government to shut down. And many companies have not written out crisis HR strategies.
Here are some human resources questions to revisit.
How long will you pay your employees at home, even if they are not able to do their regular work?
If your business is able to be done remotely, how are your employees instructed to do so? Do they have to clock in at a certain hour? Do they have to submit time sheets, so you can see that work was actually done? All this can be discussed and negotiated to better your human resources team to be ready to handle a crisis situation.
Maybe you want to start setting aside an emergency cash fund for situations like these where you need to pay your employees for weeks without work.
Employer vs. Employee Relationship
All that we are saying, is that now is the time to chat about how the relationship between employers and employees can be revisited. As well, how these relationships can be strengthened for future scenarios or the present one.
Take note: some businesses have implemented health benefits, health and wellness programs, and mental health support. Maybe that is another avenue you want to explore to boost your employees well-being.
2. Start to Think About Virtual HR and Recruiting Solution
Companies who are staying open are actually ramping up their HR and recruiting strategies like Wal-Mart, Loblaws and Amazon to keep up with the demand. Whereas many non-essential labelled businesses are issuing massive lay-offs.
Usually, spring is the time that companies are looking to fill summer internships or increase their team head counts. But with the pandemic, now what?
In some situations, overreacting to the situation led employees to be quickly laid-off, then to be called back the next week to come in again. That is a type of situation that you want to avoid. First, you create a toxic relationship between you and your employee. And secondly, you really didn’t think about the well-being of your employees during this time.
Instead, try being reactive and think outside the box, instead of postponing everything or making rash lay-off decisions. We spoke with Jeanette, the Director of Human Resources Consulting at Virtual HR Canada Inc.
“We live in a high-tech world, and think most have forgotten that! Interviews can be done online, meetings can be virtual, business meetings can be done online as an alternative to business travel. Plan a good communication plan for your employees and communicate it well. You want your employees to share with their family and friends that their employer is handling this pandemic quite well! This is a time to showcase what is written in our mission statement and values that are hanging in your front foyer!”
3. Revisit Your Sales Strategy
All your clients are going to be impacted differently during this pandemic. For some nothing will change and their services with you will not be affected or demand may actually increase. With others, they will be forced to end contracts with you or minimize spending. All you can really do is be empathetic in this matter. Multiple businesses are being shut down by the government as they are deemed “non-essential”.
However, what you can do is to shift your sales strategy to target essential businesses. These businesses run rain or shine, good economy or bad. These businesses offer services that humans need. Some of these businesses include: cleaning companies, plumbing companies, restoration businesses, grocery stores, technology companies, food companies and any healthcare businesses . Refocusing your sales strategy will allow you to keep your business running and help to retain and increase your monthly sales.
4. Run Your Business Remotely
Now that everyone has been asked to self-quarantine or practice social distancing, many businesses have been forced to work remotely. However, not many businesses have ever done this or know where to start. Even though this is new to many businesses, this is a new opportunity and a trust exercise with your company. You will see your employees’ true colours. Some will work very well remotely and others will struggle to be productive. We suggest investing in project management software, so you can assign tasks to different teams or employees.
“You will see your employees’ true colours. Some will work very well remotely and others will struggle to be productive.”
Also, some companies use virtual time clocks to sign in daily at a certain time each morning and check out at night. Depending on the age of your employees, some will handle the remote work change easily and will happily work from home. However, older demographics who are less versed in technology may take longer to adapt. Be empathetic towards all your employees, practice patience and try to get everyone set up as comfortably as you can at home. This will show your employees that you care about their well-being and that you understand how difficult it is to change your work environment.
5. Find Missing Skills on Your Team
Nothing is more clear than a pandemic outbreak to show “holes” in your company. While everything is running calmly you may not have needed certain teammates or noticed a lack of certain skills. However when a crisis breaks out you find out who you really need. Some businesses already have these teams in place including: crisis management, risk management, research and development or crisis communications. In contrast, your employees may surprise you with new skills you’ve never seen in action before. Some employees will “rise to the occasion,” or request to take the lead on tasks during times of crises. They want to feel a sense of purpose and add a helping hand. Some employees are better than others at working under pressure, so you may realize that you need to rotate some employees around for better synergy. Overall, you will notice shifts in your employees behaviours during times of panic. This will force your business to find new ways to work together and strengthen relationships.
6. Offer New Services
Not all of your services will be relevant to your customers or clients during a pandemic. However, when your audience’s needs change, your business can adapt to meet them. You can start by brainstorming services that your audience currently needs and you can even reach out to them and ask them what they need. Many people are willing to give a few minutes of their time to fill out a market research survey or answer a quick call about your new service offerings.
Here is a list of services that have actually spiked during this crisis: virtual fitness classes, online education, online gaming, delivery services, cleaning products, virtual conferencing softwares and stress management services. Be creative with the new services you offer and start to think remotely and outside the box. Think of new problems consumers are facing and how you can solve them. A great example of this is all the beer breweries distilling hand sanitizer, rather than alcohol to help increase supplies for the nation.
7. Increase Communication With Your Customers
Your customers are as worried about life and this pandemic as you are, so keep them in the loop. A great consumer engagement strategy is consistent. It doesn’t have to be daily, you just need to communicate with your audience on a regular basis. As well, you need to find the right channel to communicate with them. Email communication works fairly well as it’s non-invasive and everyone is online all the time due to the pandemic quarantine. We suggest sending weekly check-in messages or company updates to keep your customers posted on your situation and to let them know that you care about them.
Pivoting Your Business Can Be Terrifying, But It Can Also Turn Out For the Better
Pivoting your business during a crisis can be terrifying and unimaginable. However, if you don’t try to implement alternative strategies during the pandemic, your business could actually suffer for the worse. Take a leap of faith. Let us know what new strategies you are implementing and how your business is going to successfully run through COVID-19. Every business has the opportunity to rebrand and offer new services to their community. Start brainstorming and serving your audience with new solutions today!