Employers’ Organisational Reaction to COVID-19

The coronavirus outbreak that originated in Wuhan, has lead to a global pandemic. Governments have shut borders and imposed quarantines, and companies have imposed travel bans. The human and economic impacts on businesses have been stark.

This epidemic has been a wake-up call for companies to carefully review the strategies, policies, and procedures they have in place to protect employees, customers, and operations in this and future epidemics.

With industries including travel, hospitality and retail under extreme financial pressure as a result of measures to limit the spread of coronavirus in the UK, many businesses are facing difficult decisions when it comes to the employment of staff.

The impact on businesses is already significant. Individuals have been told to avoid bars, clubs and theatres, and many events have been cancelled. Much of the UK’s car production has paused and airlines such as British Airways have advised staff to prepare for layoffs.

Some businesses have made it clear they are doing all they can to avoid making staff redundant. Former England footballer Gary Neville took to Twitter to assure his followers that although his two Manchester hotels would be closed to the public from next week, no staff would be made redundant or asked to take unpaid leave.

Employers needed to consider all options available to help them to manage workforce costs and avoid redundancies, said Ben Willmott, head of public policy at the CIPD. For some organisations this would mean considering measures beyond maximising home working and restricting overtime to keep people in jobs, he said.

Director of Epic HR, Gary Cookson, noted that all these measures will inevitably come with their own downsides, and there wouldn’t be a ‘one size fits all’ approach for all businesses, or indeed all staff members. Cookson advised organisations to talk openly to staff about the options, but added that HR “might be surprised by the [positive reaction among staff to] creative responses to the situation, particularly if it is made clear that the business wants to avoid redundancies”.

Updating Benefits Policies 

The likelihood that increasing numbers of employees will be unable to work either because they are sick or must care for others means that companies should review their paid time off and sick leave policies now. Policies that give employees confidence that they will not be penalized and can afford to take sick leave are an important tool in encouraging self-reporting and reducing potential exposure. Our employer survey found that nearly 40% of employers have or plan to clarify their pay policy if worksites are closed or employees are furloughed.

While few companies outside of Asia have closed worksites yet because of the epidemic, about half of the Chinese companies we surveyed had shut down worksites at least temporarily. Such closures will likely become more common outside of Asia should the epidemic continue on its current course.

Most firms will treat Covid-19 in their policies as they would any other illness, and sick leave or short-term disability insurance would be applicable.  However, exclusion from the workplace might not be covered by disability policies, and prolonged absence could last longer than available sick leave. Our survey found that more than 90% of employers in China paid their workers in full and maintained full benefits during furloughs. Companies should promulgate clear policies on this now and communicate about these with employees. Most will want to offer protections to their workforce to the extent this is financially feasible.

Ensuring employees can effectively work from home

While many jobs (retail, manufacturing, health care) require people to be physically present, work, including meetings, that can be done remotely should be encouraged if coming to work or traveling risks exposure to the virus. Videoconferencing, for instance, is a good alternative to risky face-to-face meetings. Nearly 60% of the employers we surveyed indicated that they have increased employees’ flexibility for remote work (46%) or plan to (13%).

Communicating with Employees on non-working Issues

Dangerous rumours and worker fears can spread as quickly as a virus. It is imperative for companies to be able to reach all workers, including those not at the worksite, with regular, internally coordinated, factual updates about infection control, symptoms, and company policy regarding remote work and circumstances in which employees might be excluded from or allowed to return to the workplace.  These communications should come from or be vetted by the emergency response team, and they should be carefully coordinated to avoid inconsistent policies being communicated by different managers or functions. Clearly this requires organizations to maintain current phone/text and email contact information for all employees and test organization-wide communication periodically. If you don’t have a current, universal contact capability already, now is a good time to create this.

Cancelling Conferences & Rescheduling Meetings

Yes. There is mounting evidence that social distancing can delay the epidemic and potentially save lives, so most meetings and conferences should be converted from in-person to virtual. Some states and localities are banning meetings of more than 250 people. If you have a meeting, limit the number of attendees and encourage those who are older or have chronic disease to attend virtually. Provide room to allow attendees to sit or stand at least six feet away from others. Discourage hand-shaking and assure that proper handwashing facilities (and/or hand sanitizers) are easily available. If you have any questions about best practices, contact your local health department.

Prepare staff for other roles

With many organisations facing a significant drop in business as a result of social distancing measures, many staff may find themselves unable to carry out their jobs in the same way, either because they are not needed or because the nature of their role means they can’t work from home. To work around this, employers can consider offering different duties to those staff that reflect the new needs of the business, said David Harris, managing partner at DPH Legal.

But, Harris added, such measures were subject to employees having the right terms in their contracts. Anything that amounted to a variation in an employee’s contract needed their consent, he said, suggesting that in such cases employers should consult with individuals and come to agreements on a one-to-one basis. “Obtaining consent before you press ahead is important because otherwise you’re risking a claim arising,” he said.

Prepare staff to temporarily join other businesses

There are already some encouraging stories circulating of staff within the hardest hit sectors being redeployed to other now high-demand areas. For example, earlier this week (18 March), it was announced Inverness theatre company Eden Court was to work with its funders, the Highland Council, to find ways for its 200 employees to join the authority’s response to Covid-19.

The theatre was faced with laying off 200 staff, with 75 per cent of its income coming from ticket sales and bar/cafe takings. Details were still under discussion, but potential options included using the engagement team, who already work with children, young people and the community, to collaborate on the delivery of education projects for young people in the Highlands.

There are also recruitment platforms which are helping businesses with their vacancies – such as in the logistics sector for example – to be matched with companies faced with having to let staff go who might possess relevant skills.

Reduce hours

One obvious option many employers have already looked at is reducing employees’ hours to share the salary hit fairly and evenly among staff. Martyn Dicker, director of people at Unicef UK, said this was something he’d had to consider in previous similar situations in the past, and something which could work well. 

But Jo Stubbs, global head of product content strategy at XpertHR, warned employers attempting to reduce working hours unilaterally without such powers being written into workers’ employment terms, could amount to a fundamental breach of contract. “In these circumstances, the employee could pursue a claim for an unlawful deduction from wages, breach of contract or constructive dismissal,” she said.

Employers should speak to their personnel to gain voluntary consent for any cuts to hours outside of their contracts, and suggested putting any agreement in writing.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/news/articles/coronavirus-employers-avoid-redundancies
https://hbr.org/2020/03/8-questions-employers-should-ask-about-coronavirus
https://www.forbes.com/sites/alonzomartinez/2020/03/03/what-employers-should-consider-amidst-a-coronavirus-crisis/#49e6371a2180

Dealing with Layoffs during the Pandemic

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to expand, the damage done to the job market looks ever more likely to be deep and long lasting. Worldwide, managers are not only dealing with the stress and remorse of having to let go a number of their co-workers, but many of them will also be feeling an underlying anxiety about their very own positions. If laying off employees is the only way to keep the business going, how do you handle feelings such as guilt, remorse and sadness? What is the best way to deliver the news when you can’t meet face-to-face? What do you say to the employees that have made the cut? And what can you do to overcome the fear about your own future?

Normally, layoffs have mostly been cut and dry with showing off as little emotion as possible. They were carried out in such a manner that made employees feel like they were just another number due to how they were being treated. Obviously, the difference between a good layoff and bad layoff is all about how they’re handled.

Layoffs that are being done during this uncertain period of time should not be any different than the ones that were normally done, there shouldn’t be any discrepancies. Many organisations make spontaneous decisions to fire their people due to fear and uncertainty. It’s only after they’ve sent their workers packing that they recognise they have made a mistake. This leads them to mass rehires afterwards. To prevent this from happening, companies should first evaluate their cash flow to see whether layoffs are the only way forward.

What the Experts Say

Firing people is difficult in normal times; but given the Covid-19 health crisis, the task is “emotionally and cognitively overwhelming,” says Joshua Margolis, professor at Harvard Business School. He continues by stating: “This experience for most of us is unfathomable. There’s a great deal of uncertainty and people’s minds are whirring. As a manager charged with dismissing a wide swath of employees, you’re pulled in different directions: Your heart goes out to people, but you have a responsibility to the company.” Furthermore, the tension that employers are experiencing right now is at least doubled given that they are worried about their very own fate. Kenneth Freeman, Dean Emeritus at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business has said: “You’re human and you’re going to have a lot of those anxious moments. But the key is to try as best you can to separate your personal worries from the task at hand. In your role as a manager, you need to be there for your people.”

Are layoffs required?

If you’re the one making the decisions about layoffs, Margolis recommends asking yourself one question: is downsizing your workforce truly necessary? The impulse to cut costs is understandable, but this is not a recession that takes place every few years. Significantly, this pandemic will live in the memory of people for years to come and the psychological impacts of it are yet to be comprehended at their full capacity. As a leader, you are required to show resourcefulness, creative forward thinking about how your company can save as many employees as possible. Talking with the management team and discussing every other possible alternative is also an important, logical step to make. Firing people should represent a last resort kind of situation and if you absolutely have to do it, try and avoid multiple rounds of letting people go.  

Research

If you decide layoffs are necessary or others have made that decision for you, then make sure you’re prepared before you reach out to the affected employees. Figure out what and how to say to each and every one of them. Talk to them on a personal level. People are likely going to have a lot of questions regarding the why, the timing, their benefits, and severance package (if applicable). These conversations may need to happen fast, but you’ll have a better chance of easing both yours and employee’s anxiety by providing them answers of what happens next.  Reach out to HR, your legal department, and any other senior leaders who might be able to help you prepare answers to questions such as: When will I receive my last salary? and Am I receiving an unemployment benefit?

Communicate Openly and Often

Be honest. Transparent, open and timely communication help increase employee trust instead of them being blindsided. Companies should organise constant meetings in order to hand out valuable information and address any existing concerns. Due to the pandemic, organisations should use online video conference apps such as Google Hangouts, Zoom, Maestro or Tele-Town Hall. While employees have the option to call in or attend without video, leaders are recommended that they keep their cameras turned on. It helps create a more human experience.

Communication during a crisis should never be spontaneous and should always have a plan. In fact, it’s crucial that everyone, from leadership to management, is on the same page and wants the same things. Otherwise, employees will receive paradoxical information that can lead to distrust and rumours. Leadership should take the time to explain how the business is currently being impacted, what changes are there to be made and why. When employees understand the why behind the decision it increases their trust in the company and doesn’t take a toll on their self-confidence or increase their anxiety levels.

The worst possible thing imaginable that an organisation can do is blindside their workers and conduct layoffs through email. If in-person isn’t possible, given the social distancing requirements we all have to follow, employers should opt for video calls instead. Furthermore, they should be proactive in providing their now ex-workers with options for them to move forward such as unemployment benefits, a severance package or other benefits. This helps put employees’ minds at ease regarding survival and the next few steps.

Lead through Empathy

This is a sensitive time for many. While it is understandable to protect the company, the layoff process usually lacks the empathy and compassion needed during a stressful time.

Therefore, employers should lead with empathy when laying off their workers. Employees will remember how they’re treated during this time. If they’re treated poorly, they’re more than likely going to speak poorly to their network and through online reviews about the company and their experience. Consequently, when business picks back up again and the company is hiring, they’ll struggle to win over quality talent due to a damaged reputation.

Be direct and human

The message you present to them must be crystal clear and concise. For example: “I’m sorry, but at end of the month we are going to terminate your job.” By communicating this information directly, it may come off as a tad cold but it actually allows the employee to have a grasp of the whole new situation he or she is in. It is vital that you express your recognition for all of their hard work and dedication. Afterwards, explain to them that they are being laid off due to the exceptional economic climate we are all in and that it has nothing to do with their job performance. It’s important that at the end of the discussion your future ex-employee feels appreciated and loved.  

Focus on your wellbeing

Last but not least important, take care of yourself. If lucky, this is the only time managers will have to face something of this magnitude. However, it is highly unlikely it will be the only time managers deal with a challenge during a period of great uncertainty. Although it may sound like a truism, the best coping mechanism there is when things are uncertain is self-care. Try and eat as healthy as possible, exercise regularly, try meditation or yoga, get a good night’s sleep and read a good book in your spare time, do not change the screen from your laptop to your phone, disconnect. We are all together in this situation, nobody is alone. The problem here is to make people understand that they are not alone whatever their specific circumstances are.

How can Great People Inside help you assess your ‘remote working’ workforce?

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.prnewsonline.com/layoffs-pandemic-tips
https://www.forbes.com/sites/heidilynnekurter/2020/03/31/3-ways-to-layoff-employees-with-dignity-during-a-crisis/#7b762a252f7f
https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/how-to-lay-off-employees-with-empathy-decency-during-a-pandemic.html

Coronavirus Is Questioning Companies’ Corporate Social Responsibility Resolve

As society struggles with the profound impact of coronavirus, corporations have a responsibility to step up and help support the government in taking action. As the department within companies which has direct relationships with non-profit organisations and the communities they are part of, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) professionals should be on the front lines helping with funding and solutions of any kind.

The way large companies are responding to this crisis represents a defining moment that will be remembered for years to come. For example, 38 years ago in Chicago, 7 people died from taking poisoned Tylenol pills. It was a rare and localised crisis, but Johnson & Johnson took the decision to pull all the Tylenol from every store, taking a huge loss in order to avoid even a single additional death. People still talk about that decision. People who weren’t even born at the time are still studying that case in business schools.

A great many corporations talk about having a social purpose and set of principles and values, or about how much they care for their employees and other stakeholders. Now is the time for them to make good on their commitments. Research suggests that people only truly believe that their company has a purpose and clear values when they see their leaders making a decision that sacrifices short-term profitability for the sake of complying to those values.

Another example of positive action is represented by the U.S.A. drugstore chain CVS which chose to go more deeply into health care and decided that it could no longer sell tobacco products and by doing so giving up $2 billion in revenue.

It is completely understandable that corporate leaders face pressure from investors and bankers to conserve cash and reduce losses, but neither of these categories are going hungry. Even retirees, who have seen their savings depleted, can expect to see stocks recover as long as they don’t sell during this initial panic time. Companies cover up the costs of restructuring, product failures, or acquisitions that go wrong all the time. It will be more than understandable if someone writes off their losses due to the coronavirus pandemic. Here are some things that companies can do to help their employees, small suppliers, health care providers, and communities.

Employees

What companies do to help their laid-off employees — above and beyond what is required or expected — will be remembered and repaid in increased loyalty, higher productivity, and a lasting reputational benefit for many years to come.

Continuing to pay wages, even at less than full pay, is one option. For this scenario we have Walmart, Microsoft, Apple and Lyft who have all made commitments to continue payments to hourly workers for at least the first two weeks of lockdown. This is essential not only as a matter of corporate responsibility; it will also substantially reduce the costs of rehiring employees when the economy returns to normal.

Lending money to employees is another option. Left on their own, many employees will turn to the exorbitant charges of credit card debt and payday lenders who will charge a 20%-plus interest rate at a time when corporations can borrow at 2% or 3%. That difference in interest rates can be the difference between bankruptcy and economic survival. Corporations should use their corporate credit and collateral to arrange low or no-interest loans to their employees. They should calculate employees’ take-home pay after payroll deductions, and ask their banks to make loans available equal to a month of net wages at 3% interest, guaranteed by the corporation. Employees could therefore pay the loans back over the next year out of their salaries when they return to work.

Medical Staff

Some parts of the world face severe shortages in basic medical supplies, but as a global company you have access to resources everywhere. The need for masks in China and South Korea has decreased considerably while it is on a upward trajectory in the United States and Europe. Companies should purchase and ship supplies from where they are available to where they are needed. They should look into their inventory of whatever they have that might help, send it where it will do the most good, and take the loss.

Encouraging mental wellness

Many companies, as well as state and local governments, recommend that those who can work from home do so. In addition, the Center for Disease Control in the United States recommends that all gatherings and events of more than 50 people be cancelled for the next eight weeks. This “social distancing” is vital to reducing the spread of the coronavirus but negatively impacts emotional well-being.

Thus, leading corporations are supporting mental as well as physical health. For example, Starbucks just announced it will expand mental health benefits to include up to 20 therapy sessions for all employees. Elsewhere, telecommunication companies have signed the ‘Keep Americans Connected’ pledge to make sure that individuals maintain access to connectivity.

Supporting small businesses

According to the Wall Street Journal, small businesses’ confidence has plummeted as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Some large corporations are stepping in to support small and medium companies during this difficult time:

  • Amazon announced a $5 million relief fund for small businesses in the vicinity of its headquarters;
  • Google is offering $1 million to organisations in Mountain View, California, impacted by the pandemic;
  • Billionaire Mark Cuban has been reimbursing employees who purchase lunch and coffee from local restaurants.

Although the ramifications of the Covid-19 impact have yet to be determined, it will continue to disrupt our now old way of living for the next few weeks and months. The corporate sector can help during this crisis by implementing strategies and initiatives that benefit society – as well as their long-term success – by supporting their employees, customers and the economy at large.

No one expects or requires major companies to take extraordinary measures to help their many stakeholders, but if they choose to take bold and creative steps now in order to deliver immediate support then that will define their future legacy.

How can Great People Inside help you assess your ‘remote working’ workforce?

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.csomagazine.com/csr/coronavirus-crucial-csr-issue
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/03/coronavirus-and-corporate-social-innovation/
https://www.forbes.com/sites/afdhelaziz/2020/03/19/the-power-of-purpose-how-csr-should-be-acting-like-first-responders-to-tackle-coronavirus/#6c912c606dd3

Cybersecurity during the Coronavirus Pandemic

While the world’s focus is obviously on the pandemic situation created by Covid-19, unethical hackers all around the world are more than happy to exploit this crisis by launching cybernetic attacks. Those who can, are encouraged to work remotely if they are not doing so already. It seems that organisations will have to prepare themselves for life without an on-site staff or just a few in order to facilitate support functions.

For example, Check Point, a cybersecurity company, has discovered that in the month of January 2020 alone there have been over 4000 coronavirus websites that are up and running with 3% of them being recognised as malicious and with another 5% suspicious. The British have responded to 658 cyber-attacks in 2019 and have also taken down over 177000 “phishing” sites. On the other hand, companies have started acquiring new laptops without doing their due diligence in terms of cybersecurity protocols, ironically leaving organisations even more vulnerable to attacks.

Given the current state of affairs, the US Health & Human Services Department’s system has been breached, an attack that had the sole purpose of disrupting and misinforming people in order to reduce the efforts being made in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. John Ullyot, a spokesperson from the National Security Council had this to say about the cyber-attack: “We are aware of a cyber incident related to the Health and Human Services computer networks, and the federal government is investigating this incident thoroughly. HHS and federal government cybersecurity professionals are continuously monitoring and taking appropriate actions to secure our federal networks.” The HHS delegated spokeswoman had this to say in regards to the situation that enfolded: “On Sunday, we became aware of a significant increase in activity on HHS cyber infrastructure and are fully operational as we actively investigate the matter,” said the spokeswoman, Caitlin Oakley. “We are coordinating with federal law enforcement and remain vigilant and focused on ensuring the integrity of our IT infrastructure.”

Given that sheer impact and reorganisation that has ensued following the declaration of the pandemic, employee and employers alike must be really careful when handling confidential information. Below you will find a list of tips of what companies can do to minimise risk in these difficult times.

For the Employees

1. Be Extra Careful with Phishing Emails

Cyber attackers thrive in a crisis. Pay close attention to emails designed to make you instantly click on special offers for whatever protective gear or products related to the coronavirus pandemic. Or it could be an email from your manager with an apparently innocent link in it which will make you download dangerous malware on the company’s laptop, a laptop that has direct access into the company’s overall system.  There has been a considerable rise in Office 365 and Gmail hacked accounts, with the cyber attacker sending invoices to clients of partners alike.

In order to stay safe, it is recommended to enable the multi-factor authentication on all the accounts you can. This simple action will obstruct almost all attackers, excluding the really great ones.

2. Cyber Hygiene is almost as important as Washing our Hands

All devices you use, and this includes the router as well, should be up to date with the latest version of anti-virus and the internet you use must come from a secure and reliable connection. Bluetooth use in public areas should be avoided at all costs. That is an easy way for hackers to connect to your device. The importance of multi-factor authentication cannot be more underlined.

3. WiFi Exclusively from Secure Locations

Work exclusively from password-protected internet connections. If you have no other choice and you have to use a public WiFi it is imperative you check with the owner of the establishment that the network you wish to connect to is the correct one. Also, avoid accessing confidential and sensitive information from a public WiFi network. It is easy for hackers to trick people into joining an internet network which basically gives him access to everything you see and do on the internet.

For the Employers

1. Set Up Remote Access ASAP

Do not let your employees go home without the program installed and their login credentials by their side. Handing out authentication credentials to remote workers with no prior training and explanations is going to be an extremely difficult and frustrating process. 

2. Confidential Information handled with Extra Care

Remind your employees that confidential information is more important than ever and must be handled accordingly. Personal emails are definitely off-limits and employees should be careful with what they print out at home. If a particular document would normally be shredded at the office, remind your employees to dispose of it safely in their homes, or simply put the brakes on printing anything in the first place.

3. No Personal Laptops for Work

Employees must be given company laptops and training by IT security personnel in how to use the laptops they are given to work from home. Personal computers or laptops should be forbidden due to the simple fact that it creates numerous problems in terms of preserving and safeguarding documents. There is also the issue of out of date software used and that could compromise a lot more than just documents.

4. Up to Date Contact Information

Be sure your organisation has a secure way of contacting all employees — whether we’re talking here about the personal cell phone number or a landline. That way, if the organisation falls victim to a cyber-attack of any kind, you’ll be able to communicate effectively. For key members of the senior management, set up a group on a secure texting application such as Whatsapp or Telegram in case all other systems are down in order to properly communicate in case of a serious cyber-attack.

Remote access tools have advanced in unbelievable ways that were inconceivable 10 years ago, given the fact that it made en masse remote work possible. As with all data security, remote access is only as strong as its weakest link. There has to be a strong combination of technology and employee know-how and training, it can be done safely and smartly. Stay safe and be careful out there.

How can Great People Inside help you assess your ‘remote working’ workforce?

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/16/us/politics/coronavirus-cyber.html
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-16/u-s-health-agency-suffers-cyber-attack-during-covid-19-response
https://www.ft.com/content/cbe2b35a-66d2-11ea-a3c9-1fe6fedcca75

Working from Home in the VUCA World

The Covid-19 virus has reached the pandemic level. This has brought up to everyone’s attention that we are experiencing the full-force of the VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) world.

Stock markets have taken a dive, supplies have slowly started to be stretched, events are being cancelled all over the world and travel bans are in-place in various countries. One thing is certain as of this moment, that our work patterns have changed, maybe even forever. For now, we are only talking about the short-term.

Many organisations and small businesses have instilled mandatory ‘work from home’ arrangements whilst others have banned any face-to-face client meetings and international travel. Given the fact that now everybody who can, works from home, it has taken some of the novelty around this subject. As with anything in this world, every unique situation has its pros and cons.

Job descriptions that still offer the old 9-to-5 model without any possibility of flexible working hours are rarely convincing anymore. It must also be taken into account that digitalisation has also changed the game by shifting old paradigms. Nowadays, employees strive for self-realisation and want to find a job that fulfils them. Their own personal demands put them under pressure, because if we are being honest, even the best job in the world will eventually fall into routine.

The ever-growing technological advancements also put a strain into today’s workers. Artificial Intelligence, robotics, machine learning are the ‘new kids on the block’ with large corporations giving them their full attention. They are posing a challenge to people’s intelligence, our talents and skills. The question that is on everyone’s lips is will humans be replaced by machines. Will that push people towards jobs with a more humanistic side to them?

Thousands of people are likely to be working from home for the first time this week due to the coronavirus outbreak. For others, it’s just like any other week. However, everyone will need their own customised solution to keep themselves productive during these trying times. As mentioned above, there are good news and bad news when it comes to working from home.

Firstly, we have the good news. People may end up being more productive when they don’t spend hours commuting or in meetings, taking long lunches or catching up with the latest gossip around the water cooler.

Secondly, there is bad news ahead of us as well. People will have to set office routines without the external pressure to turn up on time, to be productive and take regular meal breaks. Self-discipline is of the utmost importance when working from home and some sound advice is to actually get dressed for work, even though working whilst still in your pyjamas sounds like the perfect working scenario. But if you talk to colleagues or customers over video links, appearances must be kept, plus it gives you the feeling that you’re actually at work which increases productivity. Talking to your co-workers on subjects even unrelated to work may help you keep engaged.

What are Psychometric Tests?

If you haven’t had to complete a psychometric test up until now, stop worrying. You definitely will. Chances are that at your next job interview, you will go through this process. Generally, they consist of a series of timed questions, which revolve around numerical, verbal and logic skills. The tests are aimed to assess the abilities of candidates and their suitability for a particular role. Furthermore, it must be stated that these types of tests have evolved a lot since their inception. Now they are used in a wide array of organisational areas to find out whether someone has the necessary emotional intelligence to be a high-ranking manager, how good of a team player they are based given the fact that they are introverts or extroverts, if working from home has an impact on someone’s productivity and engagement level.

How can Great People Inside help you assess your ‘remote working’ workforce?

First of all, we are aware that the first step to improving the workforce is that of identifying the key aspects that define your workforce. Once we have accomplished this first step, we will know what the key performance indicators are, what to look for when assessing employees by developing a well-structured competence system.

Secondly, our platform is extremely easy to customise in order for it to meet your specific needs. We offer you the possibility of either choosing one of the available models we have in place or you can request the appropriate dimensions to match your specific needs, thus making your whole evaluation process a lot easier.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

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The Disadvantages of Business Ethics Worldwide

Ethical compliance within an organisation is done for the benefit of the company and the employees. A well-crafted ethical compliance policy will help you and your employees make day-to-day decisions that advance your business goals without venturing over to the “dark side.” The use of ethical standards can both reduce the chances of a workplace lawsuit and help to create a positive work environment.

Reputation is one of the most valuable assets a firm can have. Leaders, managers, and employees care about their social reputation: They want to be seen as competent, generous, efficient, honest, and fair. However, an emerging body of research suggests that focusing too much on reputation can sometimes have a negative effect: Attempts to maintain the appearance of doing what’s morally right can lead decision makers to engage in various wrongs.

Take, for example, the Hallmark Channel’s stance on an advertisement it recently ran, featuring two brides kissing at the altar. After receiving public pressure from an advocacy group, Hallmark decided to stop running the ad because the brand did not wish to be “divisive” or “generate controversy.” However, this desire to appear impartial and stay out of the fray conflicted with the organisation’s stated value of “helping all people connect.” In an attempt to preserve its reputation for inclusivity, Hallmark ended up creating division.

Another example is represented by the events that led up to the great economic recession in 2008 and 2009 have placed a renewed emphasis on business ethics. Questionable financial reporting, inflated executive compensation and worthless public assurances undermined consumer and investor confidence and reignited the debate about whose interests a business should serve. While it seems that only good things should arise from business ethics, a business may be restricted in its freedom to maximise profit.

Companies increasingly recognise the need to commit to business ethics and measure their success by more than just profitability. This has led to the introduction of the triple bottom line, also known as “people, planet, profit.” Companies report on their financial, social and environmental performance. The Dow Jones Sustainability Index benchmarks companies who report their performance based on the triple bottom line. This type of performance reporting acknowledges that companies must make a profit to survive, but encourages ethical and sustainable business conduct.

Overall Management Strategy

One of the disadvantages of an ethical compliance program is that it requires the comprehensive support of management to be effective. If members of the management team decide to apply their own version of corporate ethics to the way they manage their departments, then this clash of principles can cause confusion in the workplace.

For example, a manager who tends to look the other way when his employees are committing sexual harassment sets a precedent that can start to undermine the entire corporate culture. As the ‘MeToo’ movement has made crystal clear, even with detailed policies in place, senior managers all too often act as if the rules do not apply to them.

Lack of Profit Maximisation

Developing, implementing and maintaining an ethics compliance program within your organization can be expensive and time-consuming. Ethics policies need to be continually updated to reflect changes in workplace laws and changes in your company culture as the organisation grows.

Proper administration of an ethics program often requires the hiring of an ethics officer and the commitment of company financial and personnel resources. Companies with international activities not only have to adhere to domestic laws in the United States, but have to monitor compliance with the laws and norms of behaviour in other legal systems and other cultures.

Another example in this category is, having factories in developing countries can reduce costs. This is because companies can have practices in place, such as child labour and low wages, which help to maximise profit. But although these practices are legal in those countries, they’re also incredibly unethical and will obviously never be tolerated by a company following ethical practices.

Improvements in working conditions, such as providing workers with living wage and having proper health and safety standards in place, are ethical but raises the amount it costs to run these factories. This, in turn, reduces profit which might not be an issue for large companies who can afford to allocate costs. But it can be an issue for small businesses, especially if they’re evolving.

Luckily, there are many different ways to operate ethically so companies can choose the ethical practices and approaches that best suit them. For example, advertising can considerably boost a company’s brand awareness. If you choose an outdoor print solution from a print specialist who can produce these products ethically, you can boost your reputation among your target audience even more.

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Sources:
https://blog.dominionprint.com/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-business-ethics-in-the-real-world
https://smallbusiness.chron.com/advantages-disadvantages-business-ethics-10414.html
https://hbr.org/2020/02/research-the-downsides-of-trying-to-appear-ethical

Climate Change: What Can Entrepreneurs Do?

Nearly a decade ago, saving the climate from destruction did not feature as a top priority for businesses. The scenario has however reversed. Today’s climate problem is so far beyond our human experience that it demands a complete overhaul of engagement from senior executives from the private sector. The threats that climate change poses to businesses and capitalism altogether are increasingly hard to spot, let alone act on.

While today’s entrepreneurs are competing against the old way of doing it is recommended to encourage a mindset shift, from linear to exponential. If we maintain our current linear thinking, we’re most likely going to create incremental fixes, while exponential thinking will get us to the network solutions required.

For small entrepreneurs around the world what are the key discussion points that must occur in the matter of climate change? In the next paragraphs, we will present a few tools that can help you better understand and find solutions to the world’s most pressing problem and how energy consumption in the developing countries has the power and ability to augment economies and lead people out of poverty.

1. Exponential thinking and embracing abundance

Try and plan for scenarios that may happen on the exponential curve. The framework of abundance thinking affirms the idea of a world where technology can solve most of the world’s problems and also reveal latent entrepreneurial possibilities. Strive to bring extremely diverse groups together in order to catalyse these new ideas.

2. Use the power of new advancing technologies

Technologies accelerating on an exponential curve are the tools that have the largest potential for a  scalable impact; the ‘Internet of Things’ and ‘Springwise’  are rich with innovation opportunities. For example, ‘Quantified Planet, a non-profit organisation, is in the process of creating an open source community and data platform in order to collect environmental data to make smarter local decisions with global impact.

3. Try, fail, repeat

There is a growing need for an ecosystem of exchanging ideas and experimenting that supports and encourages many new initiatives and failures. This repetitive process is also known as rapid prototyping is how entrepreneurs usually test and rapidly boost towards better solutions. Silicon Valley’s success lies largely in the understanding that in order to find solutions faster, you need to fail as quickly as possible. With climate change, there is no time to put our eggs in just one basket. We need to place as many bets as possible with a low opportunity cost, so they can fail quickly without dire consequences.

4. Keep a lookout for supporting technologies

Some of the best opportunities in innovation are represented by supporting technologies that are driving tremendous growth towards renewable energy. For example, there are technologies supporting the performance of photovoltaics (PVs) such as ‘Otherlab’s’ project, Sunfolding, has created a new solar tracking technology by applying high-volume manufacturing techniques to solar. By addressing the high cost of the control components, Sunfolding has reduced the price of photovoltaic systems and increased capacity, which will definitely help the technology become more widely distributed.

Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.

Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

 

https://hbr.org/2018/01/climate-change-is-an-overwhelming-problem-here-are-4-things-executives-can-do-today

http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/ict_big_data/rob_nail/5_ways_entrepreneurs_are_helping_solve_climate_change

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/299644

Being a Great Leader: the fine line between Confidence and Skepticism

You’ve probably heard, over and over again, about the importance of self-confidence for a leader. Confidence gives you charisma. It makes people follow you. It makes friends trust you and enemies fear you.

It’s pretty hard to imagine Caesar or Napoleon telling their people “Well, we could try this, but I don’t guarantee that it’ll work.” So why should you, if you aspire to become a great leader?

But let’s leave confidence aside for a minute. There’s another element which most leaders of today are lacking. Have you ever had a boss who thought he knew all the answers to every question? Who never admitted he was wrong or, even more, that idea didn’t even cross his mind? Of course you did. In one word, do you know what that guy was missing? It was skepticism. Will all the praise of confidence and self-esteem, almost everyone forgot the importance of a certain dose of self-doubt.

Being a little skeptical about your own opinions is such an important factor these days. While everyone has an opinion (and everyone thinks that their opinion is the right one), those who can be skeptical about their own beliefs have a great advantage: when a problem arises they won’t take anything as given, but they will try to make up their mind, starting from zero, about what would be the best solution. That includes asking every employee’s opinion on the subject matter, because the skeptic knows that he is just a human being, fallible like any other. From this type of behaviour, two big advantages emerge: the employees will appreciate their leader for respecting them and the final solution to the problem will have a much, much higher chance of being the right one.

Well, but it seems pretty impossible to be skeptical and confident at the same time, right? Indeed, but that might not be needed. Here’s my piece of advice: whenever a problem arises, adopt this two-step approach in solving it:

Step 1– Total skepticism.
Do not take anything for granted. Search the internet for similar problems that other companies had and look at how they’ve handled them. Take notes. Now take what you’ve learned about it and present the information to your employees. If possible, ask each and every one of them how would they handle this. Finally, make a decision based on all of their insight.

Step 2 – Total confidence.

Once you’ve made that decision, stick with it until the end. At this point, you know you’ve done your best, so there’s no reason to be insecure. Your people also have to feel they they are going in the right path, so make sure you radiate confidence. Act like nothing can stop you and your people anymore from reaching your objectives.

Doesn’t look so hard anymore, does it? And while this two-step approach is meant specifically for leaders, it can be a great idea to use the same pattern in making any kinds of decisions, the results will be great nevertheless.

Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.

Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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