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Will Covid19 prime you for the next unforeseen crisis?

June 1, 2020
By Adrian Tan
Will Covid19 prime you for the next unforeseen crisis?

Aon did a study that surveyed over 304 companies in the Asia Pacific region, ranging in size from small, medium-sized firms (under 500), to large corporations (more than 5,000) to identify HRs’ challenges during Covid19.

67% of HR leaders cite crisis management or business continuity planning as their top challenge during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Right after would be managing flexible work arrangements and employee communications to increase awareness at 64%.

Yet only 8% of them believe they are sufficiently ready to deal with these challenges, with 42% maybe and 5% completely ill-equipped.

Main challenges faced by HR:

1. Business continuity plans (67%)

2. Manage flexible work arrangements (64%)

3. Manage employee communication (56%)

4. Address employee concerns on workplace policies (53%)

5. Implementation of preventive measures (43%)

6. Review of current welfare policies (25%)

Business Leaders are struggling too

With companies forced to adopt remote work, business leaders are suddenly in unfamiliar territory. The lack of face-to-face supervision require measurement of performance to be on outputs and not time spent. For many traditional business leaders, this is going against the grain.

On top of that, access to information can be delayed since marching to another cubicle to demand what you need immediately is no longer possible. Over and above, the psychological factors that may be affecting individuals such as extended social isolation or major distractions at home would inevitably have an impact on productivity.

According to a study by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), the top three challenges that are on the minds of most business leaders include productivity slump (57%), cash flow problems (37%) and business reduction (29%).

The Big Reset

And this crisis has shown us that many setups that was believed to be sufficient are no longer the case. One need not look further than the organisations that have clanged onto their on-premises tech solution over fears of securities. With mandatory remote work, there is no way one can access the systems with ease.

Or the companies that have always measured the activities of employees based on time spent and not output. I once was involved in a discussion where a 2nd gen business owner was in a dilemma. He has top salesperson that is outperforming everyone else. But because he is consistently late coming to work, the owners must give him an ultimatum to come on time or ship out. The millions he brought into the business becomes immaterial.

Learning also took a backseat since training centres are not operating and no trainers can be invited to conduct training on-site as well.

F. Weiner wrote an article in the journal Medical Economics entitled “Don’t Waste a Crisis — Your Patient’s or Your Own.” Weiner meant by this that a medical crisis can be used to improve aspects of personality, mental health, or lifestyle.

Using technology to mitigate these challenges

We can work from home functionally because of the democratisation and progress of technology. Internet bandwidth is readily available and accessible, and we have better hardware to take advantage of that. A smartphone today is more powerful than a PC 10 years ago. Which is why Zoom is nailing it today as it provides users the ability to “meet” face-to-face despite being cooped up at home.

But Zoom is just able to tackle a singular problem statement. Other solutions would be needed to drive collaborations given employees are decentralised. Performance measurement must be done differently with focus on outputs and at a higher frequency vis-à-vis the dreaded annual performance review. And learning should not be pushed to the backburner since levelling up your people is really the only key differentiator for businesses.

This crisis is the prime time to adopt a revolutionary approach to workplace culture and commit to turning your traditional work environment into Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE)

ROWE is a bold, cultural transformation that permeates the attitudes and operating style of an entire workplace, levelling the playing field and giving people complete autonomy. Management can stop monitoring the hallways and focus their energy on the business.

ROWE is all about results. No results, no job. It is that simple

PeopleStrong has always advocated for the #newcodeofwork, which is our vision of the workplace of the future. That future has abruptly been brought forward due to Covid19 but fortunately the solutions that are needed to support the Future of Work is already available in the present.

Collaboration: a 4-in-1 app that combines chat, task, goal and an AI-powered chatbot. All these come together to enable collaboration, transparency in the tasks and goals that should get done and timely retrieval of information via a chatbot rather than through a bandwidth-limited human being.

Performance: Supporting companies that want to measure outputs and not time spent, this app puts that power into the hands of employers and employees by enabling frequent check-ins, 360, peer reviews and allowing your preference in methodology whether it is OKR, KIP or MBO. Finally, business leaders can synchronize business performance with people performance.

Learning: Bringing training to the people instead of the other way round, training need not be relegated to the backburner. Through micro content and applying just-in-case approach, learners are not work-interrupted and get useful learnings that is applicable to them instead of everyone else.

In helping companies to transform during this trying time of Covid19, we are making these three apps free for use. Experience how your organisations can move towards the workplace of the future with these powerful apps that will drive the next phase of your business performance.


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