Times of crisis and great change can be daunting. They can make or break us. They can be what drives you towards bigger and better things or they can be what leaves you in the dust. As a company, the key to getting through these tough times is to redefine your purpose.
COVID-19 has hit the world pretty hard. It has raised difficult questions within our societies that were not being asked. It has forced millions into new styles of living and working, or out of work completely. It has threatened lives and taken others. The change brought about by this pandemic has forced many of us to look inward to find what truly matters.
One who has looked deeper than many would ever dare to go, is Austrian Neurologist, Viktor Frankl. His famous book, Man’s Search for Meaning was bursting with profound insight on issues as complex as the meaning of life.
Frankl believed that man’s greatest desire is to find his purpose. Through finding this purpose, man can survive anything. His inspirational writing often describes the benefits of embracing suffering and change and marching head-on towards problems. He applied this practice to his own lived experiences of the holocaust, often questioning if it is what kept him alive.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” –
This method of thought can be applied effectively among the many uncertainties businesses are facing during COVID-19. It is no use fighting against the exterior environment one cannot change. Instead, it is necessary to address what we can change.
One thing we are in control of is our own actions and that of our companies.
Using Frankl’s philosophy, the most essential step for companies trying to survive times of change is to strengthen their purpose. Here are some tactics to help you do that.
Appreciate the Backbone of Your Company
First and foremost, you must recognize the efforts and struggles of your employees. As they are the workers that make everything possible, this should be your number one priority.
If the majority of your workforce is now telecommuting, employ tactics to keep your remote employees engaged and healthy. Providing your workers with the extra support they deserve can come in many forms and doesn’t have to break the bank.
Simply video conferencing with them regularly to see how they are going could help someone through a tough time. Investigate how you could responsibly provide allowances to help employees purchase food and essentials.
These emotional and financial gestures of support will highlight how much you appreciate your workforce.
Give Back to Your Roots
Irrespective of the industry you are in, acknowledging those that make it all possible should be next on the list. If your company is going through a demanding time of change, chances are your community is too. This will be particularly noticeable in brick-and-mortar businesses, where the client-business relationship is even more closely interlinked.
Take this challenging time and flip it on its head. See these moments instead as great opportunities to stand and be a leader within your community.
A great example of this would be a company that takes steps to ensure its more vulnerable customers are looked after. To do this, try providing discounts to those who need financial support. Or install digital signage to educate and inform the community of hygiene practices to reduce the spread of COVID.
Looking out for those who have given to your company during times of halcyon will be remembered.
Redefine Your Businesses Values
Now you have measures in place to look after your community and your employees, you will be in better stead to look inwardly. Following Frankl’s advice, take the time to understand what it is that motivates your company and your team.
This re-evaluation can be a productive drill to do even during times of stability and growth. Get together with your staff and ask them what values they want to stand for. Aim to discover where they see the business heading, and how they want it to get there. Have questions ready that you would like to ask them and be prepared to listen.
What is it they love about working for the company? What is it they dislike about working for the company? Why did they start working for your company in the first place? Questions like these will give you valuable insight into the minds of your employees.
The knowledge you gain from this exercise with your staff will help you redefine your company’s past, present and future purpose.
For example, if your workers feel that the opportunity for growth isn’t as good as they would like it to be, ask yourself, does the company value this? And, if so, how can it cater to the needs of its staff more efficiently?
Once you have analyzed and identified where your company’s values lie, you can more accurately build towards this purpose.
Be Prepared to Adapt to, and Accept Change
Accepting that COVID-19 will have lasting effects on your business is the first step to overcoming the challenges that await. Once you have done this, then effective change can take place.
Running a successful business requires adaptability and progressive thinking. The company’s that don’t keep in touch with the needs of their community and their employees end up suffering the most.
One key change that will stick around post-COVID, is the prevalence of remote working. According to a Gallup poll, 60% of individuals who have been forced into telecommuting as a direct result of COVID would prefer to continue working remotely after the virus is under control.
With growing pressure from employees who wish to utilize this model, it will be important to understand how to manage and ensure remote workers are remaining happy and productive.
The growing number of businesses and employees partaking in a remote working model is just one example of what companies will have to adapt to.
Reinforcing your company’s purpose will be achieved by embracing change and standing strong with your employees and community.