Questions Your Company Needs to Be Asking Itself (and Acting On), Now

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This COVID-19 crisis has been damaging on so many levels. In addition to so many tragic deaths, there has been so much uncertainty and variables to consider and weigh. So many employers have been knocked sideways as the result of this completely unprecedented event – and by extension, so many employees and their families – leaving us with many questions.

Here at Shaker, we are big fans of making informed and educated decisions, especially at a time when many businesses are reacting and trying to steer without a compass. “Grace under pressure” is a time-honored quality for good reason and it can apply to a company’s reactions to a situation as much as a single individual’s…and now, more than ever, needs to be on full display. How employers conduct themselves now will have a massive ripple effect in terms of how they will be perceived in the future, long after a return to normalcy has been achieved.

So, where to begin?  To quote Duran Duran, “it is answered with a question mark”.  In order to effectively combat all the WDKWWDK (We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know) that is out there today, we need only start with asking the right questions…and then answering them honestly.  And towards that end, here are our most important questions your company should be asking itself regarding employee engagement, satisfaction, recruitment and employer branding as it is today and will likely be for the foreseeable future:

  • How has the COVID-19 crisis impacted your business, if at all?  Is it busier as a result?  Slower?
  • How has the crisis impacting your workforce?  Is it ramping up or has it been forced to put employees on furlough, if not laid off?  In either case, to what extent?
  • For those still working, how has their day-to-day been impacted?  Are they still on site?  Working from home?  Wearing many hats as a result of the reduction in workforce?  How stressed are they?
  • For all employees, regardless of current status, does the company have a “finger on the pulse” in terms of reactions to the company’s response, trust in any/all given assurances, etc.?  How has their perception of the company changed from pre-crisis to now?
  • What is guiding/informing the company’s response to the crisis?  How much is future impact being considered in relation to what needs to be done now to stay afloat?
  • What are their biggest concerns both immediately and after things have more-or-less returned to normal?  What are the biggest “we don’t know what we don’t know” blank spots?
  • If aiming to bring everyone back (in cases where furloughs/lay-offs have been required), has any thought been given to restructuring the organization to leverage efficiencies that might have been lacking/overlooked previously?
  • How can the company come out a better employer at the end of this?  How can that be echoed externally?
  • What damage control might be needed from a recruitment messaging standpoint if the company is already in a damaged position (and regardless of whether or not some mistakes could have been avoided)?
  • What has the company learned about itself as a result of being thrown into this crisis?

Some of these questions and their answers were probably obvious to you, but others may not have been, and that’s okay. It’s completely normal if you don’t have all of the answers…yet. But if you are coming up dry on most of these, it might be a sign that you need to start digging. If the answer is “I don’t know”, keep these unknowns on your radar and start looking for answers because people will start asking them of you, as an employer – both affected employees and top talent especially – sooner than later, most likely.

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John Rosean

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