Preparing your business for the "next normal"
Updated: Jan 30
If there is one certainty a couple of years after COVID-19 reared its ugly head, it’s this: how we live and work has changed and continues to change.
For business organizations of all types and sizes, preparing employees and the business to deal with new threats and emerging opportunities is the key to both short-term survival and longer-term success.
This 10-point checklist will help guide efforts to prepare your business to meet the challenges presented by the “next normal.” It is by no means an exhaustive list. However, it highlights key areas in which you can significantly impact the health and well-being of your enterprise.
1. ASSEMBLE & EMPOWER A CROSS-FUNCTIONAL TEAM As preparation will involve every department and function, enlisting a broad cross-section of support will pay dividends. Reporting to the CEO, ‘Team Prep’ must be provided with a clear mandate and empowered to enlist help and delegate responsibility as required.
2. ADJUST WORKLOADS TO ALLOW TIME FOR SPECIAL TASKS Don’t make employees choose between their regular responsibilities and the special tasks associated with preparation. Ensure workloads are adjusted to prevent these tasks from falling between the cracks.
3. IDENTIFY, PRIORITIZE & PLAN Being logical, systematic, and thorough is essential. Planning is job one for ‘Team Prep.’ Taking the time at the front end to identify and prioritize opportunities, challenges, and vulnerabilities will enable you to plan your work, ensuring that the most significant are dealt with first, and leading to a mitigation of the risks associated with a post-pandemic world.
4. BUILD CONTINGENCIES INTO YOUR PLANS What impact could a third or fourth wave of COVID-19 have on your business? What if you lost one or more key customers? What if a member of your existing supply chain was unable to deliver? Making an effort to identify and plan your response to issues like these will pay off, big time!
5. EVALUATE THE PANDEMIC’S IMPACT ON YOUR EMPLOYEES Have there been any changes in the way employees relate to one another? What’s happening to collaboration and engagement? Are employees less motivated than they once were? With core values and behaviours providing a foundation for your organization’s culture, a review and possible adjustments might be in order.
6. PAY PARTICULAR ATTENTION TO MARKET CHANGES & TRENDS Have there been any changes in the way employees relate to one another? What’s happening to collaboration and engagement? Are employees less motivated than they once were? With core values and behaviours providing a foundation for your organization’s culture, a review and possible adjustments might be in order.
7. DEAL WITH THE CHALLENGES OF REMOTE WORK Some companies have embraced the concept; others are biding their time until a full return to the office is possible. With some employees suffering from exhaustion and burnout, and productivity on the line, a planned and thoughtful response is key.
8. CLARIFY YOUR COMPANY’S PURPOSE Research shows that purpose-driven organizations grow faster and enjoy higher levels of customer and employee satisfaction. Establishing “Why we exist?” and “Why people are better off because we exist?” in the post-COVID world will provide a filter for decisions affecting both long-term strategic priorities and day-to-day operations.
9. REVIEW & UPGRADE YOUR DIGITAL CAPABILITIES Digital transformation was sweeping the business world before COVID-19. The pace of adoption has been accelerating since early 2020. Having a well-thought-out plan for upgrading your digital capabilities will be a competitive advantage in the post-COVID world.
10. COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE! It’s essential that employees understand the nature of the preparatory work being undertaken, what’s at stake, and why their contributions are so important. With no room for second-guessing and foot-dragging, regular, transparent communication is an investment in the success of this initiative.
Interested in ensuring that your business is as prepared as it can be to meet the new challenges? We can help.
Our Defining “Where to from here?” Workshop brings your leadership team together to collaborate on identifying and mapping out the essential tasks.
Find out more by contacting Chris Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 (416) 433-1153.