The past two years has been challenging times for organisations as they learn new survival techniques in order to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many companies were not as fortunate, closing their doors due to financial stress.
No one could have predicted a more tumultuous time that continues to pick up steam teaching every one of us a valuable lesson. It's not easy to decipher the message, but it's clear that we need to take a closer look at lessons learned along the way. It helps to have genuine conversations with your team members to discuss many of the difficult experiences that will help us to prepare for the next chapter.
When COVID-19 struck the world by surprise, the impact was a powerful life experience that touched all segments of society. Everyone felt trapped in a ball of confusion. Companies around the world struggled to survive and learn new ways to keep their businesses thriving and alive.
As a business owner, dealing with the loss of clients, staff, and revenue, COVID-19 motivated my team to analyse and evaluate the present situation. As a result, we started our strategic planning process in preparation of what's next.
Moving into 2022, the third year of the pandemic, there are a few ideas on what companies can do to better support their staff and clients. If they are happy, our customers will also be supportive.
Develop a realistic strategic plan with all staff, not just with managers and directors. After speaking with staff members all over the United States, we learned that most employees were not involved in key decisions that would impact their lives. In addition, seldom were the opinions or feedback requested or desired from them. Why? Now that's a question that every company should think about and answer.
Practicing active listening can have positive results. Most staff members may be fearful of asking questions or sharing feedback in meetings if retaliation has been previously used to intimidate or penalise them. Many employees will not openly voice their opinions. Active listening also allows us to hear what is not being verbalised by being aware of body language. While working with Alameda County Public Health Department as a communications consultant to the Director, we recommended bi-monthly Chat n' Chew meetings. The purpose of the meetings was to allow staff members to meet with the Director, one on one to share creative ideas, ask questions, or simply just to get to know the Director. At each meeting, coffee, tea, pastries, and fruit was available for each person. The outcome successfully led to better staff morale and helped the agency to build stronger working relationships overall.
Creating a people first environment in 2022 speaks volumes to staff members. Initially they may not believe it, depending on how they have been treated in the past, but with time, the trust gets developed. The process helps team members feel like they are a part of the work family. This type of leadership drives loyalty which increases effort and retention.
One of the most difficult parts of COVID-19 is losing valuable team members for various reasons. As we have struggled to survive, global recruitment is an option that was never considered until now. Remote work, or working from home, or any location is the new business norm. Although this may frighten many in leadership roles or micro-managers, we have found that remote staff, similar to consultants, work harder, produce more, and focus on the project plan. Most organisations are surprised how cost effective it may be.
Marketing and Public Relations is more important than ever before We encourage increasing your digital marketing exposure, encouraging positive word of mouth communication, and developing authentic social media messages to your audience.
We all hear lots of talk about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion or DEI. Today, it's mandatory that organisations get on board. Most businesses enjoy talking about it in meetings, bringing in speakers to facilitate discussions, but nothing ever changes because the same people supposedly leading the process are not interested in change or just don't have the expertise to make change happen. Over the past year, several staff members have shared with me that organisations often hire the worse groups or people to lead the DEI process, mostly because staff members are not consulted or included in the process that will impact them. Now more than ever it's time for companies to stop talking the talk and try walking the talk in order to see positive changes in the workforce.
It also helps to update or create one's business plan that includes:
Crisis Management Plan. It helps to understand the need of such a plan, taking action before the crisis, taking action when a crisis hits, and taking action when the crisis is over.
Community Engagement Plan
So, are you ready for the new year? Consider taking a closer look at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats as you proceed to setting priorities for 2022. Got questions, contact us at Promotions West or email at email@example.com