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HR Policy and COVID

Responsible employer actions are falling under the spotlight in this pandemic. Ready or freezing up?

The four dimensions of employee well-being are central to employee experience and essential to an engaged and productive workforce during ordinary times.

But in the time of COVID, the 4 dimensions – physical, emotional, financial and social, are even more significant.

During a pandemic crisis, well-being assumes a poignant urgency.

An employer’s actions in supporting well-being are critical to building and sustaining workforce resiliency and sending the message that employees matter.

Inclusion and a Stakeholder Capitalism

The virus is a punch to financial security, leaving workers and those who were already unemployed, gasping for lifelines.

It’s cruel. But it’s our challenge and we can face it.


Workforce Principles for the COVID-19 Pandemic

Stakeholder Capitalism in a Time of Crisis

As organizations address the longer-term implications of COVID-19, it is imperative to be inclusive and focus on the needs of all stakeholders — from customers to suppliers to shareholders and, specifically, employees.

This crisis presents an opportunity to take bold actions and show leadership and solidarity by applying the principles listed below.

We need to balance short-term crisis measures against the medium- and long-term objectives of responsible employers.

Actions can include protecting salaries and benefits or providing learning opportunities to make progress against reskilling and workforce transformation objectives.

This approach enables organizations to earn the trust of employees and unlock the discretionary effort needed to move the organization forward in turbulent times.

Guiding Principles

The World Economic Forum suggests the following principles to help guide organizations in shaping a responsible course of action that balances short-term pressures against medium- to longer-term needs:

See this crisis as a defining leadership moment— and continue delivering the best possible outcomes for all stakeholders.

Staying true to the purpose, values, principles and culture of an organization starts at the top. Effective leaders are transparent, empathetic and create trust, and their behaviors help calm, support and even energize employees so that they feel vested in a common mission and purpose, and embrace new ways of working.

Adopt an agile and continuous learning mindset to ensure your response is (re-)calibrated to the circumstances at hand.

The uncharted waters of this crisis demand agility and innovation, and adapting to rapidly changing systems and regulations.

Understand the perspectives of and engage all stakeholders (e.g., employees, shareholders, customers, suppliers, unions, healthcare providers, community) in decision making.

Keep a pulse on the shifting needs and priorities of all stakeholders and the evolving state of competitive and innovative practices.

Focus on the intersection of employee and company well-being.

The cost pressure of the current revenue-challenged environment places significant stress on leaders to meet the needs of shareholders at a time when the well-being of employees, particularly the most vulnerable, is being seriously threatened. But the risks to – and benefits of – employee well-being and company well-being are highly aligned.

Make decisions and take actions that take into account medium-term needs and longer term business objectives.

Decision-making in this rapidly shifting and uncertain environment requires organizations to resist the pressure to engage in short-term actions that seem essential in the chaos of the current environment but may compromise the longer-term sustainability of the business.

Stressed or curious about new possibilities?

Mail Leonie if you need assistance figuring your response out.

If your leadership style is less attached to doom but itching to find tipping points for progressive change, it would be great to brainstorm your options together. Let’s get creative and lead in solutions.

Read the WEF White paper, it’s short! Most of it’s here already!

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