5 Impulses: How to Navigate the (Post-)Crisis Successfully

Sandra Jörg

Many find that the coronavirus crisis reminds them of a surreal disaster movie. While some are tentatively looking forward to a happy ending, others are worried about the sequel: Will there be a second wave? Nobody can tell with certainty, but what we can definitely do is to learn from the first lockdown period.

We have partnered with experts from Spendesk, Atomico and Lightspeed Venture Partners to show you how you can meet a potentially continued lockdown with greater resilience and master the post-crisis period.

Impulse 1: Motivating Remotely

“Companies have had to switch quickly from asking themselves how to survive this crisis financially to working out how to safeguard their employees’ health and provide for an optimal work-life balance in order to boost productivity and motivation,” says Luke Beseda from Lightspeed Venture Partners. How to keep employees motivated even as they work from home soon turned into a major issue for many HR departments.

Even now, a majority of employees work from home, and remote work will most likely remain the norm for many companies, at least in the coming months. Some companies have already announced that their teams will be allowed to work from home indefinitely from now on. As a result, the challenge of motivating employees remotely will remain a major task for HR departments.

Our tips:

  • Communication is key: Make sure that information keeps flowing via internal newsletters, the company intranet and internal wikis.
  • Form a taskforce: The issue of motivation and productivity is huge, especially where companies take an approach that combines working from home and at the office. By establishing a dedicated team to specifically address issues such as “which tools do we need to boost productivity?”, you’ll be able to keep up employees’ motivation.
  • Create a sense of community: Ever since Personio went into lockdown, we have started each week with a company-wide kick-off meeting, which all employees working from home can join via video call to swap news, share insights into the company’s financials and inspire each other. We also have similar meetings on Fridays to mark the end of each work week.
  • Give your teams some breathers: People tend to be more focused when they work from home, and as a result they tire more quickly. Luke Berend from Lightspeed Venture Partners therefore recommends that companies give their teams a day off per week on a rotating basis, introduce flexible working hours and/or establish so-called “no-meeting Thursdays.”

Would you like more tips and inspiration? Visit this checklist with 31 tips on how to motivate your employees.

Improve Your Company’s Resilience

Nobody can know how the corona crisis will evolve. That’s why it’s a good idea to prepare your HR department and broader company with seamless HR processes.

Impulse 2: Measuring Satisfaction and Productivity

Based on a hunch, most would have probably thought that satisfaction (and productivity with it) would decrease among people working from home. But the numbers collected by Personio and Spendesk tell a different story: Personio’s sickness rate went down by 50% during the lockdown, while Spendesk’s employees have rated their satisfaction as a solid 4 on a scale of 1 to 5.

That’s why we recommend that you measure your employees’ productivity to be able to respond more quickly to flagging motivation and deteriorating productivity. This can be done weekly through short reviews and surveys or by analyzing sickness rates in your various departments on a monthly basis.

In any of these measurements, it is important to know your target group(s). Inexperienced junior employees are more likely to struggle with the overall situation and managing their workload, and they will therefore burn out more quickly than senior staff who approach their work with greater routine.

Are you interested in finding out more about this topic? If yes, feel free to watch the full webinar here.

Impulse 3: A Cool, Calm and Collected Return to the Office

Back to the office: yes or no? Both HR managers and employees have been asking themselves this question since mid-May, and many of them tend toward a move back to their desks. We have a number of tips to make the return easier for you and your employees:

  • Ask your employees who wants to go back to working from the office. This will make it easier for you to plan your office layout.
  • Think about life in the office: When and where should employees be required to wear masks? How much space do you have, and how many employees will be able to return to the office at a time? How are you going to ensure good hygiene in meeting rooms, lounges and coffee kitchens?
  • If you have been reviewing the usage of your premises anyway, conduct a few trials and then fine-tune your plans according to your employees’ feedback.

Checklist for Your Back to the Office Strategy

Read our checklist for even more tips and Personio’s best practices to support you in transitioning back to the office.

Impulse 4: Maintaining Corporate Culture

The coronavirus has certainly left its mark on many companies’ corporate culture – in both positive and negative ways. Our experts Agnes Chauvigny from Spendesk and Martina Ruiss from Personio noted that employee satisfaction was generally high and employees maintained their team spirit during the lockdown. However, they also saw a decrease in social interactions.

As a result, companies will need to rethink their future:

  • How can they ensure cohesion and solidarity within teams of people working both remotely and on-site?
  • How will team building work in the future?
  • How can employee performance be measured?
  • How can milestones be celebrated together yet apart?

“In the future, managers will play a key role when it comes to preserving a company’s culture,” says Dan Hynes of Atomico. Their role will need to be rethought, as they will be much more involved in creating team cohesion, motivation and feedback. HR helps them grow in their roles and equips them with the right tools.

Speaking of tools: When it comes to corporate culture, tools play a decisive role. They can be deployed to optimize communication and HR processes and to promote productivity.

Impulse 5: Designing Tomorrow’s HR Work

Not only have employees gained greater flexibility thanks to the option of working remotely, but HR work overall has become much more visible. Above all, executives have come to realize just how valuable HR managers are, because that’s whom they have been asking for strategic advice.

We therefore encourage you to leverage this shift in thought and to secure your place at the executive table for good! After all, HR managers have a lot of valuable strategic input to provide, and their knowledge and impetus contribute decisively to a company’s future.

But there is no way you can achieve this without data! HR professionals need to familiarize themselves with different metrics and apply them to measure how employees are doing and performing. The resulting sound figures can then support your argumentation in executive discussions, provided you communicate them confidently, e.g. by saying, “These are the measures we have implemented because the data said xy, and this is the result.”

Looking Toward the Future: How to Move On Post-Covid?

The most important questions companies all over the world are asking themselves is what their future remote work policies will look like: Will they have employees working remotely only, on-site only, or will they combine the two? The fact is, there is no definitive answer that works for everyone. Companies will need to evaluate what works best in their individual situation. This article helps you figuring out if a remote-first setup is the best way for you to move forward.

Many companies are tending toward implementing a combined system. But how will people working remotely on a global scale impact issues such as recruiting and employee retention? On the one hand, recruiting departments will gain access to a global talent pool, where they can attract new employees to their companies from all over the world, without needing them to relocate. This increases the chance of faster hiring. On the other hand, this will also mean greater and more intense competition for recruiting the best employees.

As a result, employee retention will become more and more important. This again places the focus on managers, because they are key for retaining employees in the long term. That’s why we recommend that you involve managers in your employee retention strategy and work together to define what optimal collaboration will look like in the future, e.g. by offering flexible working hours to create an attractive working environment.

Mission Possible: Start your HR transformation now

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