Five Ways to Lead: Workforce Principles for the COVID-19 Pandemic

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  • Businesses need to respond to urgent concerns from their workforce on safety and support
  • The World Economic Forum is launching a new roadmap with five principles and four management imperatives
  • Actions to help include empowering local managers, prioritizing personal communication and sustainably managing the shift to remote working
  • Stakeholder capitalism provided the framework for a responsible course of action at this pivotal moment

Five Guiding Principles:

  • See this crisis as a defining leadership moment and continue delivering the best possible outcomes for all stakeholders
  • Adopt an agile and continuous learning mindset to ensure your response is (re)calibrated to the circumstances at hand
  • Understand the perspectives of and engage all stakeholders (e.g., employees, shareholders, customers, suppliers, unions, healthcare providers, community) in decision-making
  • Focus on the intersection of employee and company well-being
  • Make decisions and take actions that consider medium-term needs and longer-term business objectives

Four Management Imperatives:

  • Prioritize planning, well-being and communication – Clearly articulate key policies and procedures, empower local leaders and managers, and prioritize personal and empathic communications
  • Focus on employee experience, engagement and motivation – Lead with integrity and purpose, be active with employee listening, connect employees using new technologies
  • Ensure responsible work redesign – Sustainably manage the shift to flexible/remote working, incorporate contingent labour in a responsible manner, consider a cross-industry talent exchange, make progress towards the longer-term upskilling and reskilling agenda
  • Balance short-term cost concerns with medium-term resilience and rebound – Protect jobs and elements of total rewards, focus on the financial well-being of the most vulnerable employees, take a segmented view of the workforce

A company’s commitment to its guiding principles is often most tested and most critical when it comes to decisions about labour cost and risk management. Companies must recognize often competing demands and look for innovative solutions. Such an approach enables organizations to earn the trust of employees and unlock the discretionary effort needed to move the organization forward in turbulent times.

This article was originally published by The World Economic Forum.
Written by: Yann Zopf, Public Engagement, World Economic Forum

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