By | Anand Bhaskar | Senior HR Leader, Angel Investor, Director and Coach
The last few weeks have seen an extra ordinary change across the world. None of us could have ever imagined how a pandemic could turn the world upside down. There are many around us who think, this pandemic is a problem to others. If you are one of them, you are grossly mistaken. The pandemic is likely to affect each one of us like never before. The prediction is that such pandemics are likely to recur in cycles every 2 years.
A difficult truth we all may need to brace up with is that a new normal is now being established around us. It is important for many of us to wake up and start thinking smart. The reality is that companies are going to be deeply stressed over the next one-two years. If pandemics in the likes of Covid 19 start coming in waves over the next decade, economies are going to constantly be on a roller coaster. Which means, the companies you work for are also going to be on a similar ride. In such a scenario, you can’t expect to be on a stable platform. Both employers and employees are all standing on a burning platform. In the past when employees lost jobs, experienced lay-offs, or wage cuts due to business down turns; there was hue & cry around employers being “hire & fire” operators. Employees could quickly apply for new jobs and bail. The interesting reality today is there “nowhere to jump”.
The best option today is to hold on to what one has and make that work no matter what. What would it take for you to hold on to what you have and make that work? Companies in the past used to fire or lay-off people to protect profit or profit projections. With what is happening around us right now, it can’t be about profit anymore. It is about “survival”. As employees you can play a huge role in ensuring your company survives this downturn and companies on their part can help you survive this downturn too. This is the only way one can overcome this unique challenge.
Extraordinary times call for extraordinary actions, that one has never taken before. Companies are crafting BCP strategies to stay afloat through this crisis and maintain cash flow. Based on the industry you work for; wages & salaries are typically between 31 – 54% of the operating cost of companies. It might not be out of place for you to come forward and offer a voluntary salary reduction for a defined period, to keep you company afloat. If the company leadership was to make this decision, it would be viewed as unfair and arbitrary leaving angst and dissatisfaction. During the recessionary period of 2009, many company’s made decisions to lay-off people or cut wages. No sooner the recession eased attrition in companies spiked multi-fold. Glass door was abuzz with comments on lack of empathy and poor employee practices. There was a lot of collateral damage due to these decisions and it plagued companies for years.
In addition to taking a salary cut, it is imperative for employees think like entrepreneurs during this crisis. Do everything in your power to generate new business for the company, improve the customer service/satisfaction levels, support the management proactively in identifying opportunities to cut costs, double your productivity and value to the company.
There is often too much expected from employers or leadership of companies. During these extraordinary times, employees can play a huge role by taking the initiative, demonstrate high ownership & empathy, retain their customers, save their own jobs and that of their colleagues across the board.
Do you think, we are ready for this?