Today’s Covid-19 pandemic has led to a huge amount of change in the way we do business today. It is a key time for leaders to step up. However, research of 2,100 employees in the UK has revealed that a huge 69% of people don’t fully trust their CEOs. The study was unveiled to mark the launch of best-selling business author and Geoff Hudson-Searle’s latest book Purposeful Discussions.
Geoff says: “Now is a time for leaders to step up and inspire their workforce. However, there have been too many questionable high-profile cases of leaders doing exactly the opposite. Take Tim Martin of Wetherspoons threatening not to pay his staff, while Mike Ashley of Sports Direct wanted to go against the government’s request and keep his stores open, putting his employees’ lives at risk. This behaviour is not instilling trust.”
Geoff is Managing Director of West London based management consultants IBEM, a serial business advisor and C Suite Executive and has written five books sharing his expertise in the sector. Here he talks about the top 7 things that he believes will change in a post Covid-19 workplace:
1. Leaders will need to step up
Leaders need to understand that what they do, and how they’ve acted, during this time of crisis will shape the way their employees will act once things are back to normal. As proven by the stat that 69% of employees do not trust their CEO, leaders need to work hard to gain their trust. If they’ve treated their staff with respect during this time when they are most in need, employees will remember that and they are more likely to stay with the company when they need loyalty most.
2. Face-to-face contact will never be taken for granted again
While technology and the ability to work from home has been a saviour for thousands of businesses across the UK, having that face to face contact – and emotional connection that we just can’t get over email, is so important. I believe that companies will insist on regular face to face meetings and will never take that one-to-one time with a colleague or manager for granted.
3. Stabilise – not commercialise
While there will hopefully be a huge surge in demand, post crisis, and targets will be high, leaders need to realise the importance of stabilising the boat – not rocking it. There will be pressure to quickly scale up and increase cash flow, leaders need to do this in a stable fashion – not piling on the pressure to hit targets.
4. The age of compassion
Everyone will be impacted by the Coronavirus, with some losing friends and family. Now more than ever, leaders need to think compassionately about their staff, seeing them as real people impacted by the crisis and not just a number. Management will need training to deal with this and acknowledge that staff are experiencing personal pain. Leaders need to prioritise compassions and taking a strong moral stance and understand that lives come first.
5. Organisational resilience
Key terms for the return to work will be ‘organisational resilience’ that will in turn help long term financial performance. People and companies need to be resilient to survive this crisis and understand that it will be tough, but they are strong.
As we’ve seen in past economic recessions, it’s those who diversify and innovate who survive. Businesses need to think differently about what and how they do things. They shouldn’t be afraid to create something new and open up the floor to suggestions from entrepreneurial employees who might think of that ingenious way to improve cash flow when they need it most.
7. Have a vision
Leaders need to take a clear vision of where they want to be in a year’s time post Covid-19 crisis. Adapt their business plan, reformulate, involve and communicate this with employees. Inspire them in all they do.
Purposeful Discussions by Geoff Hudson-Searle is available from Amazon for £11.99 and once open to the public again, Waterstones and W H Smiths.
If you are a West London Business member, Geoff has kindly offered ten free codes to redeem a digital copy of Purposeful Discussions. Codes will be issued first come, first served (1 per member). WLB Members can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for their code from Tuesday 16 June.