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Dealing with the cultural fallout and people issues of a post-Covid recovery

Dealing with the cultural fallout and people issues of a post-Covid recovery

The latest Horizon Scan report from the Business Continuity Institute has highlighted the new and emerging risks for 2021 – with the legacy of COVID-19 seeing political risks and concerns around violence returning to the risk top ten for the first time in three years.

This annual survey of business continuity and resilience professionals has also seen longer term trend analysis coming to the fore, with businesses seeking to be better prepared for so-called “grey rhino” events (events which are highly probable and will have a high impact but are overlooked) or “black swan” events (events which are impossible to predict, have a major effect, yet often appear obvious in hindsight).

This desire to anticipate what is coming over the horizon and an awareness of long-term trends is something we at Instinctif Partners are seeing a growing demand for from our clients – it was one of the standout issues raised in our own recent Client Satisfaction Survey.

Given the events of the past year, it’s also no surprise that mental health issues and staff morale has made its way up the list of business risks. So, how do business leaders look out for their staff, while also protecting their business? How do they look out for family and friends as well as their own health? How do they reassure external stakeholders whilst preparing for recovery?

A culture of resilience

Planning for and managing a crisis is incredibly difficult but breeding a culture of resilience throughout your organisation from the start is a powerful tool. Your people are the most important asset when navigating a crisis and it’s their loyalty, commitment and advocacy that will play a pivotal role in your organisation’s post-crisis recovery.

Encourage bold and dynamic thinking, and an environment built on collaboration and openness where people do the right thing, at the right time, because they want to. Ask yourself what your senior managers can learn from employees at other levels of the business.

Your organisation’s principles and values should always guide actions, and this is especially true in a crisis. Empower your employees to act in accordance with your principles and your wider stakeholders will recognise this and help champion your story.

Process, procedures, and policies

However, while it’s people who manage a crisis, it’s also important to remember that process is still a fundamental element of crisis response, and all processes, procedures and policies should support your management strategy. That is why it is important to identify the roles of the crisis team and ensure that appropriate deputies are appointed. Ensure that you have enough resource to manage a long-running crisis, such as a pandemic, and ensure that you build capacity to allow members of the crisis time to rest and recover.

What we’ve seen as COVID-19 has developed is human beings adopting a far more “primal” mentality. Through uncertainty and fear people are acting in self-preservation – and in unexpected ways.

This is even more reason to ensure that your organisation’s business continuity planning asks the right questions and takes into consideration the breadth and depth of human fragility.

A good start is to measure your resilience against industry best practice, including your approach to communications, culture and people. One quick and easy way to do this is by using CrisisOptic, our unique, powerful and fast diagnostic tool which accurately measures your organisation’s ability to respond in a crisis. With gaps and areas of vulnerability clearly identified, you can focus resource where it matters most and build resilience against potential disruption.

Breeding a culture of preparedness will help your employees feel reassured and ready to help your organisation face challenges, whether they be from a grey rhino, or a black swan.

To find out more about making your business resilient contact

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