People Management Priorities in Post COVID-19 Pivot

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COVID-19 pandemic has mostly affected the socio-economic activities fostering a more significant downturn than the one experienced during the Great Depression

Business organizations seem to be the most affected sectors following the pandemic’s financial crisis, with most of them temporarily closing down or reducing their operations. The enacted government regulations to counter the pandemic have profoundly affected most industries’ demand, and supply sides as economic activities almost came to a standstill. With the duration of the COVID-19 crisis remaining unknown, most governments have focused on restarting the economies, which is bound to be a challenge. With the government working on having an economic recovery, most companies and organizations are forced to restructure their operations as the crisis risks causing job loss for most employees. Organizational restructuring is a vital step for companies to save their operations and, at the same time, work towards economic recovery by building resilience (Rogovsky, 2005). This paper focuses on the different practices of restructuring, which could be adopted by companies to save their operations while at the same time adhering to the set COVID-19 protocols.

One of the essential restructuring practices is rethinking customer engagement as the COVID-19 crisis has fostered consumer behavior changes. Most businesses will be faced with difficulties as COVID-19 has challenged them to reconsider their ways of maintaining their customer bases and earning their loyalty. With the crisis restricting people’s movements, most consumers have switched to online buying whereby they male orders while at home, and they get to be delivered (Struck, 2020). This business trend will foster most companies to rethink their business models more so the ones who were previously relying on a face to face customer services as they will turn to be less profitable and feasible. With their intention of recovering the income lost during the pandemic and rescue their operations, they will have to re-invent their ways of reaching out to their customers by adopting more innovative approaches. This includes developing and mastering social media platforms where the customers can make their orders for products and services, thus reaching out to them. Switching to the online market will put them in a better position to compete with their counterparts. This will also ease the burden and the cost of having to attract new customers.

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Even in the absence of a pandemic, flexible work arrangements can improve recruitment and retention efforts, augment organizational diversity efforts, encourage ethical behavior and help the organization’s efforts to be socially responsible.

Another step is to manage workforce flexibility as most companies will have to cut their production and capacities drastically following the decrease in demand for the products and services. With finding the right balance between adopting essentials steps of ensuring the survival of the company and operating in a socially responsible manner proving to be difficult, the management will have to address the issue. While most of the companies were used to long-term planning of the strategic workforce, the COVID-19 crisis will foster them to incorporate short-term plans due to the pandemic’s dynamic nature. For instance, they may opt to define their labor demand and supply weekly or even monthly. Besides, to manage the workforce flexibility, companies and organizations will be required to adapt their current workforce to existing situations by instilling long term or short term measures. The companies may also readjust their hiring to a temporary adjusted demand basis such as interns or internally fill the existing vacancies.

Additionally, companies may be forced to restructure by switching gears and taking their digital transformation to the next level, although technological changes were already occurring even before the COVID-19 pandemic. With the set guidelines on COVID-19 requiring people to refrain from mass gatherings such as the workplace, companies will have to adopt ways through which their staff could work without necessarily making physical contacts. This will require them to adopt flexible working models as a crucial step towards fighting against the COVID-19 virus (Struck, 2020). Establishing remote working is one solution whereby the employees could take some necessary items at their home, thus working from home. In-person meetings will also be scrapped, with companies being required to adopt virtual meetings with office meetings being an alternative in situations where there are no other means. Companies may even be compelled to set up virtual agile teams and to restructure to adapt to travel policies with the necessary guidelines in place. Companies could also be forced to instill changes in the work schedule, such as reducing working hours and flexible working arrangements.

Moreover, companies ought to restructure by mitigating the people’s risk as, during a pandemic, the readiness of a company to the absence of staff shapes the economic fallout of a company. Generally, good organizations ought to reduce the risks such as situations where key personnel could be absent from work by articulating how the positions could be filled in worst cases such as the COVID-19 pandemic (Rogovsky, 2005). By identifying and supporting the critical roles, companies will have mitigated the risk as the workforce will be clustered on the basis of competency rather than the company’s structure. Besides, splitting teams will definitely decrease the risk of exposure whereby those in critical roles are accorded outstanding protective measures or even work from different spaces with the others. Having backup solutions to replace the key staff will also be a good contingency plan or even rehiring the organization’s already retired workers. With the COVID-19 crisis posing some severe threats to the economy, the above-postulated recovery strategies will aid in restructuring the companies.


Paul Lalovich
Paul Lalovich
Organizational Effectiveness and Strategy Execution Practice
Andrew Warneck
Andrew J. Warneck
Talent and Culture Practice