COVID-19: Creating Significant Challenges for Corporate Cultures and Leaders

In the time of COVID-19; company culture, employee experience, leadership and digital workplace experience are facing challenges. The way organizations function  has changed overnight. Workforces have gone remote; travel restrictions have hindered the ability to accomplish certain tasks. What has become paramount is morale support, team collaboration and the ability of executive teams to revolve. When most successful, crises management is a continuum of activities that starts with the assessment of external and internal data that can signal potential conflict or change in the environment of an organization. Research on crisis management shows that focus on impact of leadership, strategy change and organizational culture helps to cope up with response to pandemic crises.

The Reality of a Company Culture

Covid-19 outbreak is a true test of any company culture. The key question to ask here is, can organizations be compassionate, flexible, empathetic and accommodating? This is the time when you will find out what your company’s culture really like. Leaders have to look towards business continuity as well as listen to their employees that are feeling isolated and suffering depending on where they are. Thinking of the human side of remote working, leadership have to be empathetic by building relationships and understanding the people they work with .

Flexible Work Hours and Virtual Working is the ‘New Normal’

The way business is responding to the outbreak of covid-19 is a fundamental shift in how work happens. Some companies have formed teams within employees that work at different hours. In order to reduce the human density, companies have told their employees to work from home. This is the time when companies are valuing employees’ peace of mind and safety. Therefore, global leaders now believe that this will be the ‘New Normal.

Leaders Maintaining a Sense of Perspective

During the time of crises, the goal is to reduce loss and keep things operating. As a leader, it is a challenge to demonstrate corporate purpose in the time of crises. As a responsible leader, one should determine up-to-date information from resources that are trustworthy such as consulting to World Health Organization (WHO) for rolling updates. Communicating  the information is essential to the entire organization by all possible means. Information is powerful as it provides tactical guidance, reduces stress and demonstrates employees that their leader is involved and concerned. Reinforcing and repeating the information everyday through multiple delivery methods will allow it to be retained. Additionally engaging employees by explaining what the company is doing about the crises, will encourage workers to feel confident when the leader is concerned, calm and knowledgeable.

So what does it mean for a leader in the time of covid-19 crises? The first is that his ability to lead others through the current global pandemic will be significantly higher the stronger he is on crises management traits such as intelligence, courage, accurate sensitivity and trustworthiness. An exceptional leader takes crises as an opportunity to develop capabilities of himself and his company. By paying attention to handle human dimensions of the crises, a leader will be more capable to regain control, minimize damage and effectively prevent and reduce duration of this extremely challenging leadership crises.