People & Transformation

Managing Disruption, Having Difficult Conversations

The global COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis had a sudden and unprecedented impact on organisations and their people. Enforced closures, lockdowns and social distancing restrictions significantly changed the way organisations operated almost overnight. For the most part, they responded effectively and adapted quickly, but tough times remain ahead.

Agile and change-ready organisations were on the front foot to quickly develop the necessary HR policies and implement a series of near-term tactical interventions. For those that were significantly impacted by lockdown and social distancing measures, the focus has been on reducing headcount costs to ensure the financial survival of the organisation whilst revenue streams have all but evaporated. For those organisations that were still able to operate, the focus has been on creating a productive virtual and remote working environment, supporting the health and wellbeing of their people, and enabling their leaders to lead through uncertainty.

The last few months have presented endless and unprecedented challenges for organisations, their leaders and their employees – at both a personal and professional level. Whilst there are glimmers of positive news in relation to lower infection rates and the development of a vaccine, imposed restrictions and the risk of a second wave are preventing organisations from ‘returning to normal’. The road ahead will remain challenging and undulating.

Their pre-COVID ways of working are no longer fit-for-purpose and the interim changes they made to see them through lockdown cannot be sustained over the longer-term. For the foreseeable future, organisations and their leaders will need to get more comfortable in managing and operating through periods of significant disruption and uncertainty.

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