COVID-19 has eclipsed nearly every other pandemic of the past 150 years in both size and impact. It has not only cost us millions of lives but also adversely affected the global economy. The phrase "business as usual" reminds us of a distant past.
The key challenges presently faced by the companies are in the domain of market demand, cost management, customer engagement, and digitization of operations. To cope up with this new normal, companies have to charter to unknown paths and start adopting new strategies. Some of the successful strategies' corporates should adopt during a pandemic are-
1. Digital Transformation: Technology can play a pivotal role in reimagining businesses during the pandemic. Firms must evaluate digitizing end-to-end processes including marketing, customer engagement, acquisition, sales, distribution, logistics, and payments. E.g. both large and small firms are investing in building D2C (direct to customer) channels and investing heaving on social media for sales, marketing, and customer engagement.
2. Committing to the Relation: Companies should be empathetic towards customers, partners, and employees. The progressive business outlook will lead to a long-term relationship and foster a sense of oneness. This outlook should be complemented with an agile engagement and business model to combat a dynamic and challenging business environment. E.g.- logistics company can repurpose their resources to help transportation of medical supplies or consultancy companies can provide free strategy advisory to combat COVID.
3. Economizing the Operations: In the time of crisis, it becomes mandatory for a business leader to determine and apply the “cost reduction strategy” like business process improvement, STO (Shutdowns, Turnarounds, and Outages), CAPA (Corrective & Preventive Action Management), etc. Companies should dissect their business expenses to differentiate between essential and non-essential expenses. This will provide a detailed orientation of business and insights into its functioning. For instance, office leasing costs can be reduced by leveraging Work from Home as a long-term work policy.
4. Continuous Up-gradation: Employees across the company must adapt to rapidly changing conditions and companies must encourage and reward their workforce to upskill. Managers should sync with their team members and recommend them with a skill roadmap. This will not only align the employees with the organization’s growth strategy but also improve employee attrition. E.g., many organizations have tied up with online learning partners to upskill their employees.
5. Revitalizing the Culture: Pandemic provided companies a chance to re-visualize their culture. Such an overhaul should promote the feeling of collectiveness during the times of COVID. E.g.- introduction of the weekly online chat sessions, e-birthday celebrations, surprise gifts to the employees, extending additional health benefits, and much more. It will not only give mental satisfaction to each employee in the company but also build a strong long-term employee-employer relationship.
Adapting this new normal effectively will always be a challenge and needs to be further re-worked as we don’t know what awaits us in the future. In the current dynamic world, strategy functions need to focus on seeing around the corner and position the company accordingly for sustained success.