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BW Businessworld

How Effectively Can Companies Tackle The Most Unusual Work Situation

Throwing people off deck (or as we call them - layoffs) should be your last resort. If this mechanism workS, which it should, you are then ready for the next phase.

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Organisations are undergoing transformations that are unimaginable upto even a few years ago, in order to survive and adapt in the current economic environment. Ironically, it maybe compared to the survival mechanisms adopted by mamals that thrive in extreme conditions. As for me, I look at this phenomenon as a complex pyramid, which maybe easily dismantled piece by piece and further analysed to give each organisation a competitive advantage if looked at through a microscopic lens. To further simplify my simple branding solutions to a complex situation, it is important that the captain of the ship, aka your Chairman or CEO, takes control of the ship in its entirety. The captain’s ONLY task at this point is to steer ship away from the eye of the storm and into stable waters, while saving all the lives on board (aka the employees and other stakeholders).

In order to do that, it is important to take tough decisions such as lessening the load of excess baggage, often seem as heavy emoluments, frills, bells n whistles. It maybe beneficial at this stage (depending on the company’s performance) to cut emoluments at the senior level, that often occupy the higher decks of the ship. You will see that often enough, the senior management are more willing to sacrifice for the greater good if they are truly dedicated to their organisation. It is also a good time to test loyalty, but don’t over sweat this. If the organisation needs a further cost trimming, you may continue working your way down to the lower decks, which are essentially the employees lower down the spectrum with lesser pay packages, but who would feel the pinch the most. Throwing people off deck (or as we call them - layoffs) should be your last resort. If this mechanism workS, which it should, you are then ready for the next phase.

1: Ensuring Staff Wellbeing: this is the numerous uno and most critical step to uplifting employee motivation and also an opportunity for positive branding. Companies are using this platform to often tom tom about what would otherwise be considered normal. It is important to also share internally and externally, all the measures you are taking for employee safety and well-being, whether it is the usual temperature checking or sanitation, or special COVID health plans  to providing psychological help to employees in need, or free yoga and fitness classes online. It is important to constantly engage internally as your work force are your biggest brand ambassadors.
2: Build Trust: Building trust with your stakeholders is extremely important during this period. It is critical to let your customers, the media and your employees know that your organisation stays resilient, strong and social conscious. It is important to do this through what is now the most effective medium of branding, digital and social. We must keep in mind that not too many people are reading physical mediums. Even the older generation is now switching to phones and computers. It is a faster, cheaper and more effective way to make a brand impact at lightening speed (should your budget permit). Use this time to play around with ideas on innovative branding. If nothing else, we have time on our hands. Use it wisely! Go crazy with ideas, think out of the box rather than adopting the usual boring industry best practices. Create your own branding “best” practice. It will surely pay off.
3: Positive news: Positive news is always a great motivator. Be it how well the company is doing or what steps are being taken to combat immediate problems.  These can also be simple motivatIonal video messages from the top management addressed to all employees and applauding them for putting in all the hard work in these times. Keep sending regular internal emailers filled with optimistic but realistic news. It doesn’t always have to be about your bottom line. It could be about your social impact initiatives as well.
4: Skill Building and multi tasking: with restricted revenue, yet the cost of manpower, eventual lay-offs are inevitable across sectors. It is important to help your employees to build their knowledge across various domains during this time do they are able to multi task as well as improve their efficiency levels. It is very critical for employees to make themselves as indespensable as they possibly can.

5: Employee engagement :
it is important to constantly engage with your employees through various recreational yet motivational activities. It could be in the form of trivia, social media engagement, mini competitions, etc. This allows for much required creative relaxation that is extremely beneficial to everyone, and also helps To create a buzz on social and digital media.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Dhruv Bhalla

The author is Sr. VP & Head - International Business - Brand at Srei Infrastructure Finance

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