Central to all these issues are our people. For employees, COVID-19 has turned things upside down in virtually every respect. Apart from the anxiety over a disease whose full effects remain unclear, people are worried about safety measures in the workplace, their job security, the fate of their company, the complexities and distractions of working from home, their family’s well-being, and the additional demands on family life—among other issues. Seemingly overnight, many have found themselves navigating new technologies and ways of working. This monumental degree of change and uncertainty has exacted a tremendous psychological toll.
The need to act decisively in crafting a transformation agenda is clear. However, navigating the uncertainties and envisioning the far-reaching impact of COVID-19 may seem overwhelming to leaders and, indeed, to people at all levels of the organization. What actions can companies take to ensure that their people needs are not shortchanged in the midst of this ambiguity and complexity?
Focus organizational agendas on people.一种first step in the recovery phase is defining the immediate strategic, digital, cost, and operational agendas for the entire company and its functional areas—customers and channels, manufacturing and production, the supply chain, and so on. At the same time, companies need to secure future advantage. This means evaluating, optimizing, fortifying, and digitizing their offerings, operations, future opportunities, portfolio, and the tech function. It means taking advantage of the big leap in digitization that the COVID-19 crisis has fueled to further advance digital transformation. Amid high uncertainty, many companies are finding scenario planning useful in charting a course.
设想未来的工作场所。This strategic consideration, which is integrally tied to the Heart and Hands, should be front and center. That’s because, despite the tremendous disruptions COVID-19 has wreaked on markets, supply chains, and entire industries (like tourism), no disruption has been as pervasive—or is likely to be as sustained—as the disruption to the workplace. Once government restrictions are lifted (or guidelines relaxed), organizations should take this rare opportunity to rethink如何我们工作。
Operationalizing the future of work through a thoughtfully planned return to the physical workplace will be crucial. Leaders need to consider how much flexibility to give employees in the timing and method of their onsite restart, recognizing that their ability to return will be affected by other factors, such as extended school closures and other family members’ work-restart schedules. And leaders and teams will need to be especially mindful of not favoring certain groups of employees on the basis of their ability and willingness to be physically present, especially in the early days of a physical restart.
Make a truly human-centered case for change.在这里，不仅仅是确定燃烧平台，这将迫使人们出于焦虑或恐惧而行动。随着个人和组织努力应对大流行及其敲门效应引起的歧义和不安全感，这些动机已经在充足的供应中。相反，重要的是要以积极的方式吸引人们的最深层动机 - 建立对组织可以实现的新可能性的愿望，植根于更广泛的目标，并使人们围绕这种愿望来激发人们的态度。在不安的时期，当员工渴望清晰，意义和归属感时，这可能是特别困难的，并且更加至关重要。它也是头部和心脏需要紧密交织的领域之一。
The pandemic has called for a focus on Heart to a degree greater than most organizations would commit to under ordinary circumstances. Companies now have an opportunity to embed Heart into their norms and practices. Doing so effectively requires leaders to look through three lenses:
Demonstrate care to alleviate disruption.Everyone’s life has been disrupted in the past several months, but many lives have been devastated by the disease itself, by its economic impacts, or by both. This pattern of disruption and devastation will continue into the foreseeable future. We cannot assume that employees or, for that matter, consumers will simply “snap back” to normal.
In developing recovery strategies—which include accelerated digital transformation, new ways of working, and associated workforce adjustments—leaders should ask themselves which crisis-era care practices should be retained, or even strengthened. These could be more-generous benefits, upskilling support, efforts to bolster employees’ mental as well as physical welfare, or flex work options. (See “Care Tactics.”) The deliberate and ongoing focus on connection and relationships will help provide a foundation for well-being and resilience during what promises to be a difficult time.
Double down on activating purpose。Covid-19触发的无所不包的破坏使许多人思考了“大”问题。除了获得薪水（许多人非常关心的问题）之外，人们还渴望在工作中找到意义。他们想知道：我为什么要做我的工作？我如何 - 和我为之工作的组织 - 改善世界？为什么我的工作很重要？
Many organizations have leaned into their purpose during the crisis, going above and beyond to lend their unique capabilities to help customers, communities, and other businesses in need. SAP (whose purpose statement is “helping the world run better and improving people’s lives”) provided software to hospitals to help them screen patients, support health care workers, and manage information flow. The company is also collaborating with Deutsche Telekom on a contact tracing app for the German government.
在困难时期,公司必须有限公司ntinue practicing their purpose and offering meaningful experiences to all stakeholders. Leaders may need to step back and consider whether the company in fact has a well-articulated and resonant purpose—one that applies the organization’s strengths to fulfill a distinct need in the world. If not, then now is the time to discover, articulate, and activate it.
“Hot forge” an empowering culture.Culture—the way work gets done in an organization—gets “hot forged” in a crisis. Every decision you make, every communication you issue, every action you take, good or bad, intentional or unintentional, sets your culture. It is critical to be attentive to shaping culture as you forge recovery plans in order to ensure that your organization is on the right cultural path. This is especially important because remote work, social distancing, and safety protocols limit the opportunities for bonding, which is so crucial to reinforcing culture.
Most leaders we have spoken to over the past months have remarked that during the peak of the outbreak they moved with unprecedented speed, collaboration, empowerment, partnership, focus, caring—and a “just do it” attitude. For them, the question now is, How do we bottle what worked so well to get us through the crisis? They cannot afford to go back to the old ways. For example, to further empower people, companies might build test-and-learn experimentation into standard processes or formalize highly distributed decision making. To foster individual and organizational resilience, they might emphasize accomplishment, achievement, and strong social connections.
或以众包改善远程工作的想法为例。IBM担任中国掌舵人的首席执行官Arvind Krishna基于同事之间有关他们面临的挑战的基层讨论，根据基层讨论制定了“在家中”的承诺。受其思想的启发，克里希纳（Krishna）制定了保证，而不是实施政策，他认为这一举动将更多地“发自内心”，更注重动作。The pledge (which he posted on LinkedIn) includes commitments to being family-sensitive, allowing flexibility for people’s personal needs, supporting “not-camera-ready” times, being kind, setting boundaries (and preventing videoconferencing fatigue), taking care of oneself, checking in frequently on others, and staying connected.
The crisis has been a true test of leadership. Many leaders have risen to the occasion, bringing much-needed clarity (Head) and mobilizing resources against critical actions (Hands). The leaders who stand out have done this while leading and communicating with great care, empathy, and humility (Heart). In the vast majority of cases, leaders now face enormous short-term pressure to improve business results, drive transformation—or both. During recovery, employees, customers, and society will hold them accountable. Under these circumstances, everything that causes the Heart to be neglected in normal times will increase by an order of magnitude. The challenge for leaders now is to sustain, if not intensify, the focus on all three elements.
For example, to focus the leadership team on the big rocks (the Head), CEOs and senior leaders can hold a virtual offsite to set the vision, following up with weekly sessions to ensure they’re on track and remain aligned. To embed Heart, leaders might reduce or eliminate the number of steering committees so that it’s easier to get work done. Senior leaders can solicit a dissenting opinion in every discussion and encourage team members to provide their viewpoint and explain how they will test it before leaders offer theirs. Senior leaders can also seek face time with one or two up-and-coming leaders every day to show support and see how they are doing. And to bolster the Hands, leaders can invest in building their own digital and remote-work muscle; for example, by using the platforms their employees are using, such as Slack and Trello.
When it comes to operationalizing the business’s recovery and transformation, engaging the Hands—the organization’s ability to execute and innovate with agility—will not be as simple as flipping a switch. The COVID crisis has disrupted daily operations and ways of working in nearly every organization, which is at best confusing for people in their individual and team roles. To enable people to drive transformation in this new reality, leaders need to focus especially on three aspects of the Hands: reinventing ways of working, upskilling to address the digital skills chasm, and leveraging creative talent acquisition models.
It’s important to pay special attention to teams working in “hybrid mode.” For example, if most members of a team are working in the office, the few working from home could be perceived as uncommitted. Conversely, when offices tight on space demand that some employees work part- or full-time from home, those workers can feel marginalized or excluded. It’s critical to identify and stick to norms that level the playing field; for example, holding online-only meetings and agreeing that all team members—even those in the office—join individually from their respective computers so that everyone is sharing a virtual experience.
Organizations can get going by:
利用创意人才获取模型。Upskilling can take time, so you might need to augment your efforts with such tactics as engaging gig employees or using talent sharing. Talent sharing emerged as a creative “fix” in many places during the early days of the crisis; London’s Nightingale Hospital and Freshippo supermarkets, for instance, faced extreme staff shortages and got a helping hand from Virgin Atlantic (UK) and Yunhaiyao restaurants (China), which found themselves with spare capacity. Consider internal talent sharing, too: redeploying employees with relevant skills to areas of greater need within the organization. Talent sharing can be a powerful lever as companies cope with the potentially uneven nature of recovery across industries, locations, and functions.