Features

Covid-19 Survival Kit for Corporate Employees, Businesses & Entrepreneurs

Covid-19 Survival Kit Series
Corporate, Employees & Business Entrepreneurs

Bukonla Adebakin

Covid-19 Survival Kit
For Organisations & Employee
As the Group COO, RED | For Africa & Team Lead, The Future Project, this unprecedented time has shaken the core of our activities and taken a toll on some of our plans, however, one thing that it hasn’t done, is dampen our spirit.
We are currently experiencing a global pandemic—countries are shutting borders, and social distancing is becoming our daily norm. Did we ever think we would be here less than three months into this new decade that promised so much? The most important thing right now is that we all stay safe and do our part to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
In the midst of so much change and uncertainty, one thing is certain—the effect of the pandemic on the operations and bottomline of organisations, and on the work habit of employees.

I decided to share some of the strategies from our survival kit at RED | For Africa, which is essentially focused on both Organisations & their employees.

In it are strategies that organisations & employees can employ, which are:
? Open & Transparent two-way Communication: Organisations should communicate openly and transparently about the situation and how it affects them. The communication must be two-way such that the organisation is frank about the challenges it is facing, and employees are truthful about how the situation affects them.
1
? Reassure your team: You can’t predict the future, but you must do what you can to provide calm, steady leadership by renewing your commitment to the people who work for you. Set the tone, and everyone else will follow.
? Show Empathy: When an organisation and its employees demonstrate empathy, they both know what the other is going through. They know it is not business as usual, and they both want to ensure that each stay afloat for their future survival.
? Build Trust: This guarantees the desire of the organisation and employees to collaborate to resolve challenges. It arises from open and transparent communication and empathy. It is very important in periods of uncertainty in business environments. Trust generates common desire; the desire to work for the survival of the organisation and the employees.
? Invest in work-from-home solutions if you haven’t: I know the temptation right now is to preserve cash. But you need to keep your business running, and that’s not going to happen with half-measures or workarounds. Productivity is already struggling right now, don’t let inadequate tools make it worse. Find a solution that fits your business and make it work.
? Reevaluate your finances: These are going to be lean times the likes of which Nigeria hasn’t faced in quite a while. Cut where you can. For instance, if you are in a position to get out of a lease on office space, well, your team is already working from home anyway, and if otherwise, give this a thought. Let space go, and get that cash back. Do whatever you can to preserve cash flow without cutting people.
? An environment of Collaboration and Cooperation: This creates a desire to find a win-win solution that is acceptable to both parties. Both the organisation and employees have the justification to work collaboratively to ensure that synergy is created. You don’t have to solve this crisis at once, and luckily, it’s not your responsibility to do it by yourself. You’ve hired a team you trust and believe in. Now is the time to lean on their collective experience, intelligence, and wisdom to help make the right decisions.
2

? ABC – Always be closing: You need to hustle as you’ve never hustled before. There will be a strong tendency for potential clients to grow timid in these uncertain times, but the same goes for your competition. Be forthright, be out there and offer solutions to the problems of this strange new world we’re suddenly in. Don’t retrench. Don’t retreat.
? Have backup plans for your backup plans: Much of the world is lurching suddenly over to primarily work-from-home arrangements, which comes with its own set of problems. Tools like conference call systems are already being overwhelmed by volume beyond capacity, so you need to know what you’re going to do when your plans fall through. The whole world is rushing to find technological solutions, and that’s going to take time. Plan accordingly.
At RED | For Africa we work with a schedule, a clear timeline, and regular check-ins on everyone working from home, and have honest conversations for both management & employees. What makes this easy is creating an environment that is open to brutal and honest conversations — a workplace where we enjoin everyone to speak up.
Long before the pandemic, RED | For Africa has been running a work-from-home policy to create a convenient work-life balance, hence, it was not difficult to continue .
To create balance, we created a virtual bonding activity called The Huddle. This involves all teammates using a virtual conferencing platform (in this case, Microsoft Teams) to engage and share stories about what they are grateful for during this period. We also started a virtual book club to facilitate the development of the mind. Organisations must realise that the COVID-19 crisis will end no matter how uncertain we are of when this will happen. They should therefore not destroy the foundation that will make bouncing back post-pandemic possible. Otherwise, they would be forced to build another foundation after the virus, while others who planned properly will take advantage of the ensuing favourable business environment.
Reference: ?https://www.lbs.edu.ng/lbsinsight/
3

Covid-19 Survival Kit
For SMEs/Business
There’s no doubt that small businesses will be the hardest hit from the COVID-19 pandemic. The bigger businesses have a better chance of surviving; however, small businesses tend to live only with a few months of cash flow (at most), so when a crisis as significant as this hits, it can be devastating not only for the business owner, but also for the employees they support.

So, how can small businesses survive these turbulent times? There’s no easy answer; however, I ?decided to share ? a few points centered around ?some strategies from our survival kit at RED | For Africa and The Future Project which is primarily focused on Businesses/SMEs.

In this survival kit exists strategies that Businesses/SMEs can emplo::
? Don’t panic, take care of yourself, and keep calm: This can be difficult especially when cash is running out, but remember to take care of yourself in a way that works for you. If faced with some difficult decisions, take time to balance yourself and your mind before taking any drastic decisions. In what is a very dynamic and rapidly changing situation, sometimes taking a step back to reassess, asking for trusted opinions, and also keeping perspective will help.
? Tap into resources provided by government and financial institutions: Governments around the world are already putting together initiatives to support small business owners, and this is something that is evolving on a daily basis. Be up to date with how your governments can help cut costs, as well as other important institutions such as banks who also have a social responsibility. If you’re registered in more than one market, explore support options in both markets.
? Make a three-month financial plan: Every small business usually has the same key expenses, which include employee salaries, office rent, and utility bills. Further expenses range from industry to industry. Speak to who you need to pay in the next
4

three months (landlord and suppliers), and find out what options you have to spread out the costs.
Look at your personal finances, and speak to people you may support to have a realistic discussion on how to control your personal spending for the next three months. What costs are necessary, what can be put on hold? If you have a partner supporting you as you grow your business as the breadwinner, have an open and honest discussion with them about your immediate and long-term plans for the business.
? Find the opportunities: It’s never nice to capitalize on events such as this, but they can also be a wake-up call to reconsider how you have been doing business. In this case, is your business model able to survive the changes that will come from the COVID-19 pandemic? How do you expect your customers to behave moving forward? What will and won’t matter to them, and how can you accommodate who will likely be a new type of customer? Can you digitize any of your products or services, and start offering them online? Can you implement technology to balance any loss of earnings by offering new ways to connect with your customers?
? Upskill your staff: Wherever possible, try your best to keep your staff– they rely on you, and if you have managed a good team, they should be supporting you. You could train your existing staff on additional skills, which could make them more productive and efficient, rather than hiring more staff. Look for courses and resources similar to this that most match your needs and also your budget during this time.
Reference:?https://www.entrepreneur.com?|h? ttps://www.bizcommunity.com?|
Covid-19 Survival Kit
For Entrepreneurs
5

Four themes from experts jumped out:
? Conserve and lengthen your cash runway as much as possible
? Try to retain your team and prepare for recovery beyond the crisis
? Maintain extremely strategic spending choices
? Be of service to and invest in the comm?unities you serve
But what can entrepreneurs do in this time of crisis and uncertainty? Many Entrepreneurs in the region have had to make budget cuts across all lines of business, so ?I decided to share some of the strategies from our survival kit at RED | For Africa and The Future Project, which is essentially focused on entrepreneurs.
In this survival kit are strategies that entrepreneurs can employ:
? Do a stakeholder sense check: You’re probably on this already, but if not, talk to all your stakeholders involved with communications and decision making as soon as you can. Garnering their collective viewpoints will ensure you have everyone’s input from the start, and it will help shape your new strategy and make next steps easier.
? Define objectives and strategy: Your objective may be survival right now. Or it could be looking at attracting a new audience. Either way, think strategically about opportunities that can make a difference, and align PR and communications to it, but whatever you do you need to ask yourself: what do you need to do right now? And what will you do when this is over? Because it will be at some point.
? Re-evaluate your plans: The business plan you had last month, or even last week, is now defunct. Relook at all your plans now, get a new one in place, and keep refining it as often as you can. Things are changing all the time and you need to make sure you’re adapting in all areas of marcomms.
? Be human: Your overall positioning and tone of voice should be one of safety, empathy, all delivered in a human way. Soften language, banish corporate jargon,
6

and ensure sensitivity. Now more than ever, your audience wants to see and hear from human beings.
? Showcase strong leadership: You need to show this now more than ever. Ensure clarity, empathy, and strength via all communications. Have you spoken to all your clients and re-assured them? Are you checking in daily with team members working remotely? Could you look at some video content to convey your message in a more human way to ?i?nspire confidence with your stakeholders??
? Preparation is key: Ensure you have statements prepared for all possible scenarios you can think of. Have you prepared for an employee contracting COVID-19 and it escalating to the media? Have you got social media Q&A for customer concerns on hygiene? Handling this correctly is vital. This is where brand trust can be won and lost in an instant.
? Keep communicating regularly: Don’t go quiet. Even if your business has been impacted, keep talking. Government directives are changing daily, and you have a duty of care to reassure people that you’re complying with them and will keep them updated as things develop. Keep talking and listening to your audience and customer base, the beauty of social media is that you can have a two-way conversation.
? Building creative content: A content-led approach is a great strategy for your marcomms right now, and it can be very cost effective — all you really need is a decent smartphone and internet access. Remember this isn’t a time to benefit, it’s a time to show you care – e.g. if you’re a management consultant, could you release some content on how organizations should be temporarily re-structuring their businesses, or give some practical tips on working from home and keeping employees motivated? Get creative, but in an empathetic and authentic way.
? Give back: We all need to help each other get through this, so what can your business do to make a difference? Can it donate money to charity? Can you help with the distance learning movement? If you make a positive impact right now, you
7

will generate brand affinity, and people will remember it. Whatever you do, please make sure it’s within legal guidelines.
? Stress on measurement and analysis: This is still fundamental to ensuring what you’re doing is working in the right way. Yes, the quantitative metrics are still important, but more important are the qualitative ones, bearing in mind it’s all about humanisation of our activity right now. Looking at the comments on social media posts and getting feedback from stakeholders will ensure that you stay on track.
Stay safe, stay strong, and remember, this too shall pass.
Reference: Entrepreneur | ?http://www.rachaelburgess.com? | https://www.smartcompany.com.au/

Leave a Comment