HR managers are dealing with an unprecedented crisis.
We live in uncharted territory. From extension of COVID-19 lockdowns With the proliferation of natural disasters and other crises, human resource managers face increasing pressure to demonstrate strong and effective leadership in multidimensional challenges.
At the same time, employees face their own pressures while working under a state of tremendous stress and anxiety. These parallels have made human resources directors (HRDs) and HR managers key partners with our C suite leaders in crisis management and organizational resilience building.
Here are some of the ways leaders, especially HRDs and other HR leaders, can support our organizations in times of crisis.
Understand and manage crises
One of the keys to crisis management is first to understand organizational risk and all the measures in place to identify and mitigate these potential risks and disruptions. This can force HR leaders out of their comfort zone, but as leaders it is important that we have the knowledge to make decisions that will help our organizations weather the storm safely.
We need to ask ourselves the following questions:
What facts do I know? Make sure you are as informed and up to date as possible. Your relationships with senior management and stakeholders will help create context when needed. As you are well aware, it will be up to you to provide employee-related answers, which may not be readily available without the help of additional tools or resources.
What else do I need to know? There will likely be gaps in any leader’s knowledge and understanding of the various crises. You can look to your network of peers, especially those responsible for security, risk, brand and reputation, to help you identify these gaps and how to close them. This will help you better understand and prepare for the future.
What do I think? Making intelligent assumptions about what will happen next and assigning a probability are fundamental to any leadership and crisis planning function. You need to be clear in communicating these assumptions, the data behind them, and any variations that exist between employee type and location.
Behaviors Leaders Should Adopt
When a crisis arises, the reaction of the leaders is crucial. We need to help maintain employee morale, mitigate impact, and protect our employees. To do this effectively, there are some important behaviors HR leaders can and should adopt to help their organization navigate uncharted waters:
- Lead with compassion. More than ever, the mental health and well-being of employees must be at the heart of your strategy and your corporate culture. Put your people first. Communicate clearly and often.
- Trust and empower your team. Delegation is the superpower of a leader. Don’t micromanage. Instead, delegate and then delegate a bit more. This means you need to trust your team and empower them to make tough decisions.
- Be transparent in your decision making. This creates trust between teams, fellow leaders and employees. This is also extremely important if you are asking your organization to go through any type of change management: people need to know the “why” before they can buy in and embrace the change. And while precision is essential, so is the speed with which decisions must be made.
- Act with agility. You must be prepared to pivot as a crisis develops. The human strategy your business relied on before the crisis may not be relevant when a new situation evolves.
Finally, HR managers must develop the skills necessary to lead under stress. If you don’t yet know how you’ll react in a time of crisis, it’s hard to prepare for success. The best way to learn to stay calm under pressure is to practice putting yourself in stressful situations.
Practice making tough strategic decisions in as realistic an environment as possible. How do you react ? What are your weaknesses? Your strengths? There are psychometric tools that you can use to take a stress test; some companies use them for crisis leadership training. The goal is to understand what happens to you in the face of a crisis.
As businesses operate in an ever-changing world, especially with the rise of the COVID-19 Delta variant, many HRDs and HR managers are dealing with a multi-faceted crisis of this scale and magnitude for the first time. of their career. But the pandemic has also provided all of us with an unprecedented opportunity to solidify ourselves as business partners of our colleagues and custodians of our organizations. When equipped with the appropriate skills and knowledge, HR managers will be able to ensure that all stakeholders, including employees, customers, investors and communities, are supported in crisis management and business continuity plans.
Helene Sutton is SVP, EMEA & APAC Sales at Data miner.