A Shift Towards Wellness

A Shift Towards Wellness

While some consider the COVID-19 pandemic as a crisis, most leaders contemplate it as an opportunity to evolve and adapt to the emerging working trends.


The COVID-19 Pandemic has proved to be a game-changer across industries, unfolding the way leaders think and behave in an organisational structure. While some consider it as a crisis, most leaders contemplate it as an opportunity to evolve and adapt to the emerging working trends. However, in both the circumstances, there is an essential need for leaders to step in and assume control, in order to ensure a continuous, stable and safe working environment for the employees. From empathy to motivation, communication to a futuristic vision, COVID-19 has completely altered and reestablished the role of the leaders.


In order to succeed, businesses need to figure out a way to work around this crisis. With social distancing emerging as the new normal, many organisations have adapted themselves to cope with extraordinary circumstances wherein the safety and wellbeing of employees and customers are now at the centre stage.


Strategies to aid during the pandemic


Redesign strategies: There has been a shift in business requirements, and hence one needs to change his/her approach as well. This is the opportune moment to go back to the drawing board and realign strategies basis parameters such as geographical limitations, operational efficacy, expected cash flow centres or even the potential impact on the industry. It is an opportunity for us to rethink our policies and organisational design for the long-term. Cross-functional projects, multi-tasking and team members relentlessly working round the clock to keep essential business services operational, truly proved to be beneficial for organisations to identify key talent and think of innovative strategies to retain and develop them.


Help employees reskill: As business practices change, employees will need to learn the roles all over again. During this period, organisations are required to revisit employees’ core roles/responsibilities, and map their current skillsets versus the skills required for the new normal. This will provide them with insights on some very critical skills needed to develop as we evolve to the new normal. Helping employees reskill and up-skill with virtual courses has been one of the key focus areas in addition to boosting their remote working capabilities, and ensure that they continue to be efficient, productive, and most of all motivated to succeed.


Demonstrate compassion and empathy: Times are tough, and this has made way for uncertainty and the fear of the unknown. The need for open communication and transparency with the employees to understand their challenges and apprehensions is stronger at a time like this. While one may not have all the answers, the employees are bound to feel reassured and supported. Nurturing employees, being empathetic and giving them the confidence to face challenges headon is truly one of the most important roles of the business leaders that have taken on a new meaning.


Drive communication and transparency: As we practice social distancing and other measures, it is important for leaders to communicate regularly with employees to minimise isolation within the office as also while they are working from home. Reaching out more frequently to colleagues, managers, and direct reports for one-on-one check-ins can replicate the water-cooler talk and ensure that a fair degree of serendipitous interaction can still occur.


There are seemingly infinite ways to communicate with your colleagues, but virtual communication has emerged as the go-to-service for official meetings and informal gatherings.


Leaders should give utmost importance to health and wellness


The COVID-19 outbreak has prompted leaders to accelerate the implementation of wellness measures in their workplaces while introducing additional hygiene and health-related steps. Wellness programmes are win-win, and make good business sense. Many organisations have added a COVID-19 health insurance for employees and their families. In addition, they have also introduced regular testing for employees and their dependents at company cost to ensure the health and wellness of every member related to the company.


♦ Manage individual and collective performance: Engage, assess, and manage employee performance beyond the scope of functional responsibilities, where the sum of the part is greater than the whole. Provide them with the tools and training to move beyond their silos and contribute directly towards the organisational vision. Weave trust and accountability into the culture of the company.


♦ Keep a futuristic view: While this is not new to leaders, we are right now living in a time that requires immediate actions. Actions based on the right information and the right time will be critical. As a leader, our first priority should be safeguarding our people, ensuring their immediate health and safety, followed by economic wellbeing. Parallelly, leaders today must also focus on the horizon and understand that new business opportunities could emerge. This will be a time to lead, respond and stay focused on the things that seems right and that matter the most. Leaders must find opportunities to move forward and create more value for the organisation. Your employees are your most critical asset, and their well-being should always be your number one priority. Other than workplace safety, drive business protocols that always keep human capital from harm’s way.


Adversity provides the impetus for innovation and risk-taking. Give your highpotential (HIPO) employees the needed fillip for incremental innovation or process improvements. You never know when one small, meaningful change could snowball into the next game-changer!


It is vital to remember that every crisis, including a global pandemic, provides an opportunity to do things differently. As Rahm Emanuel, former Mayor of Chicago, says, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean is that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”



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Mandeep Kaur is Vice PresidentHuman Resource, LOTS Wholesale Solutions (A Siam Makro Enterprise). A strategic leader with 17+ years of progressive experience in Mergers & Acquisitions, Organisation Development and Cultural Transformation with a focus on capability development, profitability, growth, and employee morale. Mandeep holds an MBA in Human Resources from Indraprastha University.


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