At the height of World War II, Sir Winston Churchill said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” Think about it. On the surface, what possible good could arise from a crisis? The answer is that it gives us an urgency to examine and rethink how things are working and how we can improve. With that in mind, here are five ways companies can learn and benefit from the coronavirus crisis:
Embrace and Encourage Working From Home
Naturally, some businesses cannot implement a distributed workforce. However, allowing some employees to work at least partially from a home office is not only a mutually beneficial proposition that boosts productivity and lowers overhead costs, but it puts businesses in a much better position for when, not if, the next shelter crisis erupts. A recent survey of CFOs reveals that 74% will move at least 5% of their previously on-site workforce to permanently remote positions when the pandemic is over. Critical to the success of working from home are the necessary tools and technologies like cloud-based phone service and fast internet.
Provide the Best Possible Customer Service
According to McKinsey & Company, “particularly in times of crisis, a customer’s interaction with a company can trigger an immediate and lingering effect on his or her sense of trust and loyalty.” The coronavirus crisis has driven businesses to rethink how they can remain relevant to customers during uncertain times. It comes as no surprise that providing excellent customer service is imperative to businesses staying top of mind with customers. From start to finish, providing client support has never been more important. Before COVID-19, companies may have been able to get by with less than perfect support. In the world today, providing that ultimate level of service is essential to business success and long-term survival.
Practice Decisions by Consensus
From the perspective of public health concerns, the epidemic has dramatically illustrated the paramount necessity of continuously collecting information from all available reputable sources. What may have been accurate a month ago may no longer be relevant. The rapidly evolving data may have rendered previous information irrelevant. Along the same lines, companies can no longer afford to rely solely on upper-level management to identify possible new business policies or opportunities for development and growth. Instead, businesses need to explore all internal resources for advice and ideas. This means that everyone from manufacturing and distribution to front office and storeroom must be encouraged and motivated to contribute to the conversation. Only with this high level of involvement will the business grow and prosper.
Create a Culture of Belonging
We have yet to assess the psychological toll on employees created by the COVID-19 crisis. For those lucky enough to not have their job affected directly by the crisis, they still suffer restless nights worrying if their livelihood and security will continue. On top of this fear, companies have the opportunity to reach out to their staff and reassure them that they feel appreciated and taken care of. According to a LinkedIn poll, the top four items that make staffers feel a sense of belonging are recognition for their accomplishments; being able to openly communicate their opinions; knowing that their participation in team meetings is appreciated, and feeling like they can be comfortable being themselves while at work. The good news for businesses is that simply listening to employees and validating their feelings doesn’t cost a dime and will improve moral.
Become an Active Part Your Community
An enduring result of the pandemic will certainly be tales of everyday citizens reaching out to support their neighbors and strangers in need. Take a look around your community and you will see both big and small gestures by people helping each other. There is no better time than the present to ride this wave of community vision by assisting local non-profits and educational institutions, and fostering an atmosphere of better-paying, more meaningful employment. Not only is joining with and supporting your local community noble, but it is also important and beneficial. Being a good corporate citizen and giving back correlates with greater retention and more passionate employees. Another study by marketing research agency Mintel discovered that 73% percent of consumers consider the charitable activities of a business when considering a purchase.
The coronavirus crisis is certainly one of those life-changing events that will stand as a point of change in history. Institutions that are open and willing to adopt a new way of thinking and follow through on making a change will put themselves in a position to lead rather than follow in the new business environment. We all have to survive this crisis, so why waste our pain? Take advantage of this once in a lifetime learning experience and make a change for the better.
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