Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Don’t Get Caught Off Guard (Again)

Although none of us anticipated the challenges 2020 would bring, we can learn from this time and be better prepared for the next unforeseen challenge. As business leaders, we talk a lot about risk management and risk planning. But how much time have we devoted to planning for risk rather than just fighting the fires as they appear? People are our greatest asset and our highest potential for risk, and yet how often do we sit down to intentionally create a People Strategy?

As you know, the state of Virginia required all businesses to complete their Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response plans back in September. While created out of the current pandemic, the template itself is simple and resembles typical risk plans created in the past. We can use this approach to create a People Operations Risk Management Plan that can be reused in many situations and updated over time. This is a great use of current unplanned downtime. 

We can use Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as a guide to ensure that not only do we address each needed component but that we prioritize our efforts in the most impactful way by working our way up from the bottom.

What could a People Operations Risk Management Plan look like?

  1. Workplace Environment: Based on your business type, what roles need to be onsite? What roles can have location flexibility? What has been the impact on productivity and culture? Could you consider flexible work options for some roles going forward? What could increased flexibility mean for your employee recruiting and retention? Note there are many more options than everyone in the office or everyone can work remotely. Think of the decision here as a dimmer switch instead of just and on/off switch.
  2. Productivity: How are you measuring productivity for all your employees? Did you uncover roles that did not have specific productivity measures before 2020? How will you address that gap in the future? How might you adjust your goal setting and performance processes? Being intentional here enables us not to equate physical presence with productivity for all roles and to be more transparent with employees regarding our expectations.
  3. Diversity & Inclusion: Do you have an employee mix with different areas of expertise and experience that can help you innovate and move your company to the next level? How are you accounting for the multi-generational workforce? How are you adapting your recruiting processes to ensure you have the right talent not just today but for the future? Diversity is a journey for individuals and for organizations. Creating a plan that moves your organization along in its journey will be unique to your organization.

There is no silver bullet to the questions above.  The “right” answers will depend on the type of business you are in, your growth strategy, and the desired company culture. These factors can be weighted as part of a Risk Matrix within your People Operations Risk Management Plan. What is important now is to take time to think through your people risk and the options available to you.

We cannot control when the “new normal” will begin (and perhaps we are already in it) but we can deliberately make plans for our businesses based on what we have learned this year about our consumers, our employees, and ourselves.


About Sara Shelton

Sara, a new addition to the Fahrenheit Advisors team, leads Fahrenheit Advisor’s Human Capital Management Practice. She began her career in management consulting supporting technology, financial services, and healthcare companies through mergers, acquisitions, and other large-scale transformational initiatives. She brings a passion for organizational performance and creating great places to work. Need help creating your People Operations Risk Management Plan? Sara can be reached at sshelton@fahrenheitadvisors.com.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Image and content provided by Fahrenheit Advisors. Fahrenheit Advisors is a Sponsor of Virginia Council of CEOs.

Posted by Staff at 11:00 am

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