The Article “How to Help Your People Manage Through The New Now” by Jignasha Amin Grooms was previously published on the Epicor Shop Floor April 09, 2020 – the original article can be viewed here.
Epicor’s Chief Human Resources Officer shares her perspective on how business leaders can manage through change during challenges to the status quo.
While the economy constantly evolves, we’re managing through a very real shake-up happening on a global scale. In The New Now, I want to offer some practical advice from a Human Resources perspective to help you lead through change by keeping your employees first and foremost in your response. I’ll cover the following topics:
- Make your employees your top priority
- Focus on business continuity for now and the future
- Drive process improvement and offer more learning opportunities
Make your employees your top priority
As leaders, ensuring the safety and well-being of your employees is your top priority. Doing so fosters a more stable work environment and calms employees. Cooler heads will prevail.
During this challenging time, employees will look to Human Resources, Communications, and other senior leaders in your organization for direction and information that creates stability. They’ll take cues from your behavior.
Make listening to employee concerns an important part of your efforts.
To instill trust and avoid confusion among employees, your leadership team must work together to present a united front with clear, frequent, and authentic communication. Be thoughtful with your words and sensitive to employees’ concerns, providing them with guidance and encouragement in a balanced, forthright way. Also, make listening to employee concerns an important part of your efforts. Hold informative virtual meetings and have two-way conversations on apps like Yammer, Microsoft Teams®, and Skype. Continually reaffirm that your employees are at center of your business value proposition. Specifically outline what you’re doing to support their health and well-being, as well as measures you’re taking to support business needs and challenges.
Follow the guidelines of national and public health organizations, i.e., the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization, so that you can provide best-in-class information for your employees—as well as their families and your local community. If the protocol recommends working from home but you have employees with critical on-site roles (factory or plant workers), make sure you do all you can to follow recommended guidelines for their health and safety. Support employees by providing informational updates and tools to help them adhere to health protocols, i.e., face masks, hand sanitizer, social distancing. And, remember to thank them for their commitment and dedication during this time.
Bottom line: Always keep your people first, even when you need to make tough decisions. Communicate with employees openly and authentically about challenges and potential changes.
Focus on Business Continuity for the New Now and the Future
Part of ensuring the safety and well-being of your employees is preserving the continuity of your business now and for the future. Your business’s health is your employees’ financial security.
To preserve continuity amid the uncertainties, your leaders must have a thoughtful business plan. It may mean you need to make tough decisions, such as canceling non-essential open requisitions, non-essential projects, and other discretionary costs so that you can secure payroll for your current employees. If you have employees working from home, look for opportunities to drive a culture that actively engages virtual workers and teams with cross-functional collaboration.
Again, remember a key priority is making business decisions that preserve business continuity, in turn providing as much security as possible for your current employees.
Drive Process Improvement and Offer More Learning Opportunities
While you should be empathetic to those who are impacted, it’s also an important time to look for opportunities to develop and invest in your employees and your organization. Think through your business processes and search for areas where you can drive operational excellence. Where you can drive efficiency and effectiveness? A thoughtful evaluation (and appropriate adjustments) will also help you maintain business continuity and set up your employees and business for future success.
I encourage my team to focus, exhale, and innovate.
When the business world at large feels slower, I encourage my team to focus, exhale, and innovate. As an example, we are offering more virtual learning and development opportunities for employees so they can fine-tune their current skillset. We also introduced artificial intelligence in some areas of HR to drive efficiency and help employees increase their self-sufficiency, i.e., an HR voice assistant that answers commonly asked questions, updates personal information and paystubs, and makes benefit changes.
The key for all leaders is to take advantage of this unique opportunity to prepare for greater future success. Take the time to grow and learn, build stronger relationships with colleagues and customers, and find ways to enhance your ability to excel in your personal and professional life.
Free Epicor University Training
One of the ways that Epicor seeks to help is by offering a month of Epicor Learning Center content for new subscribers. We are also providing live training webinars and training on-demand sessions for current subscribers. It’s our hope that your employees can use the training to deepen their knowledge so that when things return to a fast and furious pace, they can apply improved software skills to help drive better business results.
Shake-ups to the status quo are inevitable, but during this unique time, I’m reminded to also look for silver linings. We have a real opportunity to take actions that can provide global benefits and strengthen relationships with co-workers, customers, and the larger community that have a lasting, positive impact.
Just recently, I received an email from one of our marketing managers in China who thanked us for the physical and emotional support we provided to her and her co-workers over the last few months. She also extended an offer to provide support to our U.S. sites in any way her team could help. Her generosity of spirit reminds me that we’re all in this together—now and in the future. So take a deep breath. Remember you’re not alone. And focus on what you can do now to help your employees thrive—and by extension, your business.
About the author
Jignasha Amin Grooms is Epicor’s Chief Human Resources Officer focused on strengthening employee engagement across a globally diverse, people-first culture. She has 20 years of leadership experience in the technology industry working with international employee populations. Jignasha has a bachelor’s degree from Emory University and a JD from the University of Miami School of Law.
About Encompass Solutions
Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.