The effects of COVID-19 have unfolded rapidly upending many of our daily and business routines within a matter of days or even hours. This overturning of process and protocol immediately leads to a sense of confusion throwing organizations into overdrive on how to begin responding.
Moving through this phase, it’s important to consider the following key areas of emphasis within your organization. First, recognize that not all issues can be solved at this point; this is a phase of issue gather vs. issue solving. Focus on identifying the areas of concern across your workforce and various partners and stakeholders, including the business you work with, internal functions like Talent Acquisition, Travel and your vendor ecosystem.
Only through problem definition can we begin to make progress.
At this time, HR and mobility departments are critical and may be the first line of defense for noise within the system from both internal and external factors, including direct questions from employees regarding their safety and security as well as questions from the business regarding the continuation and employee safety. This is understandably a challenging time for mobility departments and professionals. Outside of the organization, you may also have vendors who have already mobilized or started to mobilize who are asking for key points of data or information or who begin pushing information to you and your employees. All of this can culminate in a feeling of frustration and panic as you’re bombarded with and have questions of your own that are not answered yet.
This constant barrage of questions and the lack of immediate answers can easily overwhelm even the most seasoned HR or mobility professional but the key is to not begin immediately solutioning, but begin by listening and asking questions.
As a mobility or HR professional, many will look to you as a resource for key areas around people and safety, travel and mobility, tax and compliance, immigration and legal, technology and even vendor management during this time. This is a time for you to listen, to reflect on the questions be solved.
While the requests and questions may be numerous, focus on compiling the questions creating defined problems and identifying questions based on their similarities and their severity. Keep in mind that the goal at this stage isn’t to solve the problems, it’s to know what the problems are.
In addition to fielding questions, this is the time to initiate pandemic response plans, if available within the organization, and to push out organizational information to employees related to business wide response planning, remote working, and other items helping to make them feel safe and secure.