What Your Employees Can Teach You During a Crisis
When the business world has been turned on its head due to a wide-spread, large-scale crisis, it can change how basic operations for any given organization can function. Big changes in operations can lead to new challenges with stakeholders – customers may not appreciate them, and front-line employees may take issue with them. Oftentimes, those employees may be your best source of information on how to adjust alterations in the day-to-day running of the organization, as they are the ones most likely to see details that others might miss. Here are some ways that you can best utilize your staff to answer questions more accurately about operations during a crisis.
What are customers saying?
Customer feedback can be an incredibly helpful way to understand how your daily operations are being affected by large-scale adversity. Customers may offer feedback to the workers they interact with without much prompting. This unprompted feedback can be an insight into issues that may not have been foreseen, but that can have a large impact on the customer. Therefore, empowering (and even requiring) employees to come forward with any unsolicited customer feedback they may receive during this time can provide more specific details about what can be done to make adjusted operations better for everyone.
What is Essential?
Trimming non-essential processes and meetings from daily operations can also be a helpful step while revising the day-to-day processes during a crisis. Workers often have a good idea as to what parts of their job are important to keep things running smoothly, and what can be reduced or eliminated to make things more efficient for stakeholders. Employers should be cautious, though, as personnel do not always know the “why” of things. Before implementing suggestions that seem workable, employers should confer with other appropriate departments (HR, Legal, etc.) and management to make sure that any such changes will not adversely impact the employer nor leave it open to risk or liability.
How Do You Do It?
High performers may have different approaches to their work, and different opinions about the workplace, than their lesser-performing counterparts. Asking them about their strategies for success can help the employer glean information that can be used to help others perform more effectively. This tactic is just as useful during a crisis – high performers may be able to shed light for the employer on better ways to adjust operations when dealing with adversity or unexpected challenges. However, this line of questioning can also uncover methods that are untenable for a variety of reasons. Employers should be ready to react appropriately and lawfully.
In general, when getting feedback from employees about customer concerns and/or daily operations, etc., there are some criteria that will help vet ideas, and ensure their feasibility. Some questions employers can ask themselves in the context of listening to workers include: “What problem does this idea solve?” “Is this idea lawful?” “Is it achievable – and how can we make it happen?” “Can we test this for viability?”
Questions like these when employees are offering advice can keep the discussion relevant and help to ensure that workers will continue to contribute to the conversation and feel empowered and valued in the workplace. The people in an organization are often the most valuable resource at hand. It is important for employers to recognize this, and utilize their talents and minds in a lawful manner to most benefit the organization.