What’s Now? What’s Next? 6 Immediate Steps for Mapping an Uncertain Future.
Shutdowns. Mandates. Executive orders. All of these are determining business and personal practices to an extent we’ve not seen in recent history. Though there are many unknowns surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, what we do know is that there are several critical and courageous steps businesses can take immediately to make sure we all get through this together. Businesses play a key role in protecting employees’ health and safety as well as limiting the adverse impact on our communities and economy. It’s essential to think holistically about all the ways the pandemic will impact your company, your employees, and your customers. Understanding the risks, then designing and building a plan accordingly is key. Once you have a plan in place, communication of your preparedness is paramount.
1. Start simple. Communicate.
There are basic guidelines we can all implement immediately in the workplace to help stop the spread of Covid-19. Clear communication and education on best practices are key to help keeping your employees safe. Each individual business can also take additional steps that might be unique to their company workflow.
In the workplace: Use simple visual materials posted throughout your company’s work environment to help team members know how to stay safe and be well. (Scroll to bottom of the article for U.S. Federal Government links to visual materials and print resources. Note: Individual state websites also have print resources available for download). After a shutdown, continuing established practices will also help maintain new levels of safety standards.
Online: Post websites, programs, federal, state, and local resources to help team members know where to go for additional information and assistance.
In Person: It’s important for senior leadership to identify team leaders who will be sharing safety information so that employees have a go-to-person for questions and to ensure that your company’s plan and messaging is consistent and clear. Team leaders on the front lines should have a sound grasp of the information, so when employees do ask questions, leaders are able to share and deliver information in a calm and confident manner. Misinformation and conflicting information will only serve to heighten concerns your employees have.
Remote: Make a determination if some of your employees can work from home, or if schedules and work hours can be modified to allow additional measures of safety and well-being.
2. Think Pros and Cons. Keep Communicating.
Next, examine all of the potential positive and negative impacts the pandemic will have on your business. Think short and long term what it will mean to your employees and to your customers.
As soon as you have identified possible scenarios—make sure you have communication policies and plans in place so you can stay in contact with your employees and customers. You should have more than one delivery method for company communication.
3. Create strong relationships with the right technology. Communicate Some More.
At Perrin, we believe that people are the most important—we want to be able to stay in touch with multiple options. Our primary method of company communication with our team members is SMS (Short Message Service). It uses standard communication protocols to initiate short text messages to mobile devices. SMS can also facilitate a text–to-voice conversation on landlines.
We also incorporate company-wide email as part of our communication strategy. Though currently our business is shut down due to state mandate, we know we can still use both channels for clear communication.
We have identified essential team members that can monitor call-ins and voice messages. We update our Perrin employee portal regularly with relevant information that team members can access 24/7.
We believe we’re all responsible to our people, our partnerships, and our community. Sharing your company’s plans with your employees, customers, and suppliers is key. The more information and transparency you can provide, the better you can put staff, team members, and partners at ease.
5. Challenge Your Creativity. Pivot.
If your business slows down, look for new customers and products that might be necessary and useful during this time. In times of crisis, creative businesses can challenge themselves to try new things to survive—and sometimes even grow. Business models that are not able to pivot, adapt, and evolve do not always recover.
6. Keep Planning. Keep Communicating.
If you are forced to close through government mandate, be sure to know the options for you and your team members. Understand what your company can and cannot do in the short and long term. Think about how this will both financially and emotionally affect your business along with that of your employees and your customers.
Plan a strategy for the time when the shutdown will be lifted. The shutdown will end at some point in the near future—your company and employees will need to be able to hit the ground running in order to respond to your customers’ needs swiftly. Stay in communication with your employees, customers, suppliers, and partners so you can all stand united.
With Michigan’s "Stay Home, Stay Safe" executive order, forcing state-wide company closings, Perrin has opted to continue paying employees full wages and benefits in order to ensure the emotional and financial well-being of all our team members during this crisis. We believe that our company is defined by our employees and we know our long-term success is determined by each and every one of us. We believe that adopting this strategy is not only the right thing to do now, but it will make us a stronger and more unified company when it is over.
Website References for visual materials:
U.S. CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
U.S. Department of Labor:
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