COVID-19 & Change Management: What Makes Strong Executive Leadership?
Posted on: February 28, 2021 | By: Andrew Hall | Professional Services
The pandemic caused a sudden call for business leaders to adapt, transition, and readjust to new short-term and longer-term challenges. During the initial period of uncertainty and anxiety, business leaders were mostly in a reactive, tactical mode, navigating the chaos by prioritizing tasks and executing well. After the initial chaos, some businesses were able to proactively identify new opportunities and assess longer-term threats. All of this resulted in organizational change, and oftentimes people and organizations didn’t respond well to that change.
How were some business executives able to manage these organizational changes relatively well while others struggled?
At Logan Consulting, we noticed businesses that managed change most successfully (Change Management) had strong executive leadership that focused on people. In this blog, we outline three key practices strong and resilient executive leadership can deploy to manage change during these challenging times.
3 Key Practices of Strong Executive Leadership
1. Prioritizing Employee Health and Wellbeing
A key component to a company’s success lies in the performance of its employees. Make those employees’ health and wellbeing a top priority. Practice genuine compassion towards employees by assessing the physical and emotional concerns of each of their workers and taking decisive actions to address these issues.
- Relax business hours.
- Avoid micromanagement.
- Adjust project timelines to prioritize the health and wellbeing of the workforce without compromising project results.
In short, focus on employees’ needs through an increase in support to improve employees’ engagement and overall performance.
2. Changing Physical Spaces
In addition to prioritizing the employees’ emotional wellbeing, leaders should implement new safety protocols in the offices to prioritize employee safety. Leaders should consider the safety concerns and comfortability levels for individual workers. Consider what office work can be accomplished remotely.
Office space should address these safety concerns by following a set of protocols. Some of these workplace protocols include:
- Limit the number of employees allowed in the office.
- Disinfect regularly.
- Require face masks.
- Practice social distance.
- Improve air quality and ventilation systems.
- Station hand sanitizers and disinfectants throughout the office.
- Prohibit group gatherings.
- Create a staggered employee attendance schedule.
- Require weekly COVID tests.
- For additional protocols, click here.
Leaders should also prepare a detailed procedure for employees experiencing symptoms, or in the worst-case company outbreak scenario, be well-prepared to execute a Covid response plan to properly mitigate the virus spread and prioritize the health of all employees.
3. Adopting New Technology for Remote Work
In response to social-distancing protocols, a transition to remote work is ideal. To successfully carry out remote work, leaders should ensure that employees have all the necessary tools and technology at their disposal. On the hardware side, this means making sure that workers have access to:
- Stable internet connection
In many job roles, an additional monitor or even multiple monitors can greatly improve remote productivity.
On the software side, leaders should think about adopting a new communication platform like Microsoft Teams Meeting, Zoom, Google Meetings, etc. Other software concerns to consider include the installation of programs on laptops like Microsoft products and cybersecurity (i.e. whether the sensitivity of information calls for a VPN).
After providing the necessary technology, leaders should ensure that employees are given proper training on how to use these tools through training videos, conferences, or providing resources to learn. Setting workers up with the necessary technology and training will set them up for success in the remote work environment.
During a time of uncertainty and chaos, business executives need to act quickly and decisively to address short-term challenges while also keeping an eye on longer-term opportunities and threats. We have found that executive leaders who prioritize Change Management experience better short-term and longer-term results. The above suggestions were very tactical and directly relevant to Covid. Prioritize employees’ health and wellbeing. Adapt office spaces to follow safety protocols. Adopt new technology to support remote work. These are just some effective steps a strong executive leader can take to manage change in a challenging pandemic world.
Covid has caused organizational change beyond the organization’s people. Covid has caused changes in areas like:
- Supply chains
- Vendor interaction
- Customer interaction
- Manufacturing & distribution processes & configurations impacting capacity
These changes can sometimes become an opportunity.
Please reach out to Logan Consulting to discuss how we can assist your organization with change management.
2020 Nucleus Research Report on ERP Technology