What business leaders need to do when making decisions during a pandemic

April 15th, 2020
What business leaders need to do when making decisions during a pandemic

Business leaders make decisions every day, from the general to the specific. Some decisions are related to day-to-day functions involving operations, staffing, and technology. Some business decisions, however, are ethical in nature and don’t merely involve operational efficiency and profitability.

This is especially the case now with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. To deal with the coronavirus disease outbreak, business leaders must make decisions that minimize negative impact on the company, employees, and clients.

For business leaders in states like Florida, it’s imperative to make smarter decisions given the rising number of infections in the state. As a key decision-maker, you should use the following strategies to better navigate the roads ahead paved with lockdowns and uncertainty, and eventually emerge from the crisis stronger.

Communicate openly

There will be concerns regarding salaries, business continuity plans, backups, and other urgent matters amid a pandemic. Business partners, employees, and clients will have questions about the steps being taken and plans of action. As a business leader, it’s in your and everyone’s best interest for you to be frank and to communicate the measures that the company is taking in light of the situation.

Instead of saying “there will be big changes,” be specific. Inform staff that cost-cutting measures will be taken to save money and to keep cash flow stable. Immediately inform customers if there are changes in operating hours. What truly helps is being open and honest with employees, investors, and customers about the company’s status and the measures being taken.

Be decisive

The courses of action that need to be taken may change on a weekly or monthly basis because the impact of an outbreak like COVID-19 tends to be unpredictable. Although it may be challenging to make swift decisions based on up-to-the-minute updates, leaders must do their best to swiftly decide on matters such as operating hours and especially crucial matters like salary cuts and job cuts.

Carefully consider all options

Even when the situation appears to be worsening, take the time to carefully consider all options. Think outside the box — instead of making rash decisions such as cutting an entire department’s operational budget or laying off half of the workforce, look at options like granting employees unpaid leave benefits.

Business leaders must also brainstorm ideas and be receptive to feedback. This doesn’t mean relinquishing control; this simply entails weighing all available options that make the most business sense such as postponing bonus payouts or reducing salaries, if it means lessening the impact on cash flow and saving more jobs.

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Have empathy and compassion

Retailers and other services establishments that heavily rely on in-store purchases and in-person interactions will be hit harder than others. The workforce in these types of establishments is therefore highly vulnerable; they may be the first to be laid off in worst-case scenarios.

When making decisions regarding which jobs need to be saved, what type of temporary working arrangements must be implemented, and other similar concerns, choose those that will benefit the majority.

Adequately compensate employees who work overtime, offer reasonable emergency compensation to those who can’t come to work, and recognize the efforts of those who do. In situations where managers need more staff — such as in customer-facing departments — to meet rising demands, allocate more resources toward that unit and reduce resources in others.

Make personal sacrifices

Reducing staff salaries may be inevitable and may even be the first measure that business managers take to cut costs. In all likelihood, your staff will understand the need for this and be willing to sacrifice short-term losses in exchange for long-term sustainability. As the head of the company, you should set an example by showing that you’re also making personal sacrifices to keep the business afloat.

Having integrity and showing a willingness to make sacrifices like taking a pay cut yourself inspires everyone’s trust and confidence during a crisis. It could spell the difference between rising above extraordinary challenges and succumbing to them.

Take these factors into consideration when making decisions to help you stem the tide of COVID-19 and rebuild your business once the worst is over. Get a FREE IT consultation from HERO Managed Services’ tech experts to learn how you can harness technology as your business in Florida deals with the challenging situations ahead.

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