05/05/2020 publications

Welcome to Talent Tips and Tools, a new resource to help our clients and other Michigan organizations deal with the "new abnormal” of evolving issues that impact human resources. Each week we will be sharing strategic advice and curated resources to help you with the current challenges of managing your team.

Post Pandemic Planning
I am hopeful that we are turning the corner on COVID and entering into a new phase. This new phase - after a full quarantine - but far from life as we once knew it - will have significant human resources implications. Perhaps you are going to keep working remote, and want to be more intentional about your remote team building programs and policies. Perhaps you are going to be bringing people back into an office environment. Here are a few considerations that are on our radar as the country begins planning for a safe reopening of the economy:

1. Organizational planning - If you have modified your employment level to manage cash flow, or to adjust to new business conditions, you might want to thoroughly review the changes that were made and look at responsibilities and activities to make sure core tasks and activities have an owner. There might be additional strategic changes that your organization is going to pivot towards, or retrench into a particular segment. Perhaps additional resources will need to be redeployed. The HR implications of these business changes could involve updating job descriptions, adjusting titles, compensation and performance review planning. You will also want to be sure to clearly communicate these changes to key stakeholders.

2. Change management - If your vision or longer term goals have changed for your organization, be sure that you have laid out your change management plan which focuses on the future state, and laying out the case for change and the vision for the future.  Consider a robust communication plan and putting together a steering team to help you make this transition as smooth and successful as possible.

3. Take care of your team - There are a large number of issues that your team is dealing with right now, and investing in your team’s emotional needs is key. These could include:

Grieving the loss - If you had a reduction in force, and then have been focused on the maze of business continuity programs, perhaps your organization hasn’t had time to properly come to closure with losing team members.  Acknowledging the loss, and assuring remaining team members that you are going to be supporting those team members onto the next stop in their journey can help provide a sense of closure.

Stress - How is everyone doing?  Did someone on your team suffer the loss of  a loved one or the opportunity to see a child graduate due to the school year being cut short? There are likely increases in conflicts with roommates and partners due to “Stay Safe” guidelines, and people are stressed in many different areas of their personal lives.  There could also be concern with the health of the business, such as the potential for future lay-offs depending on how and when sales rebound. Acknowledging these varied emotional needs sets the foundation for getting your team back to prior levels of focus and productivity. 

General mental well-being - Life is stressful, and many people on your team could have been in a fragile state prior to COVID. Thus, adding an Employee Assistance Program, or promoting an existing program that provides resources and counseling options could go a long way right now.  Taking time out to do something fun - like a virtual game or happy hour - could be just want the team needs. Providing rewards - like a delivered meal or books for the children - helps your team feel recognized and valued during these challenging times.  Also, providing access to wellness programs - 15 minute group meditation or doing a physical activity challenge encourages and supports a healthier and happier team.

For more timely Tips, Tools, and Trends from Amy Cell Talent, check out "Recent Articles"