As we all know, the World Health Organization proclaimed the Coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. In order to effectively deal with COVID-19, an impulsive response won’t get us far and might accomplish more damage than good. As HR leaders, we are confronted with the need to carefully react to both the risks and the resulting concerns our workers may have.
What is your Coronavirus Response Plan?
A considerable number of initiatives we see today regarding coronavirus are closer to being reactive than responses. Reactions will be snappy, not that insightful, and often originate from a position of tension. Responses are astute, calm, non-threatening, and often yield better outcomes.
Careful responses take more effort to put together. While you’re building your response strategy, it’s a smart thought to speak with your employees and intimate them about the procedure you are working on. “We still don’t have an ideal answer to this situation, but we are working very hard to find one.” is better than not saying anything, which is yet better than spreading misinformation among the people you’re entrusted to keep safe.
When you conclude on a plan, as events unfold, it’s advisable to make little adjustments here and there to suit everyone. Be flexible in your strategy to fight this pandemic.
How can you deal with coronavirus as an HR leader?
Because the virus is transmitted through droplets from coughs and sneezes in close proximity, you should limit person-to-person interactions when possible. Implementing remote work for your employees is not a bad idea. Most companies were already doing it before the lockdown in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun State.
False information itself can be a threat. So make sure you only share verified information to prevent unnecessary fear. Websites like the Nigerian Center For Disease Control and (NCDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) provide verified information, so check them out first before sharing anything new. The psychological safety of your employees’ matters as much as their physical safety.
Safety measures should also be aligned with the most marginalized workforce, such as contingent staff, and the solutions you provide should include the employees most affected by COVID-19.
Most of the problems for employees stem from the fear that the coronavirus will affect their capacity to work (or keep their job), so a pay continuation and a convenient way to take sick leave should be a solution that includes even the most marginalized employees.
Video conferencing tools like Zoom and the rest can be used for meetings in place of people gathering at a spot.
What can you do to keep your employees and your organization safe from coronavirus?
The risk of infection for most countries is still low, including Nigeria’s current numbers, and you as an HR leader can help to maintain this status. Your goal is to keep both your employees and your organization safe in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak. Some resources and processes that can help are workplace safety precautions and mandatory medical checkups.