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As employers, we find ourselves trying to manage or simply sustain our business through unprecedented time.  How we respond in these times may make the difference.  One thing is certain – we all need to keep moving forward each day knowing we will get through this – together.  To this end, we are providing a little “food for thought” about managing through these times in this issue.

Of course, as HR professionals, we know the health and well-being of any company is a reflection of its employees. This comes from a strong foundation of HR policies and sound business people practices. Let us help you ensure your HR fundamentals are ‘healthy’, up-to-date and well-crafted and ready for when you re-open.  And we’re going to get you going on this, at no charge.

Here are this week’s topics for you:

  1. Managing through difficult times
  2. HR Foundations Health Check
  3. Link to Federal Government Programs

Managing through difficult times

Great leaders are not born, they develop and hone skills over time and through experience.  It’s fair to say, very few business owners, executives and managers anticipated they would be put to the test in responding to a pandemic. However, even during these unusual times, we will learn, grow and hopefully become better leaders for our teams.  Here are some things to keep in mind to help us all manage the changing environment and uncertain future for our teams and communities.

  1. Maintain open communication: To quote Terry Lundgren, previously CEO of Macy’s,“The only way to address uncertainty is to communicate and communicate. And when you think you’ve just about got to everybody, then communicate some more.” While we understand the importance of being a strong and trusted communicator it’s easy to assume that our teams know what’s happening and why, particularly when it affects them. As we connect virtually with distributed work forces or try to stay in touch with laid off employees via email, social media and phone, it’s important to be as transparent as possible. Employees need to be kept up to date and it’s best if they hear it from their leader. Try to be confident and maintain a positive outlook, even in these times of uncertainty. Consistent messages, clear communication and a vision for the future of the company and their jobs will reassure the team and instill trust in their leaders
  2. Identify your core team: Every company has a small group of people who are critical to their success. Who are these individuals in your company? They may come from diverse roles and different departments, be a leader or have critical knowledge and expertise or simply be the best models for your core values and be drivers of culture. Keep them close and keep them strong. Invest in these relationships with frequent attention, invite them to share their ideas and be partners in the plans and success of your business.
  3. Be pro-active: Innovation and opportunity exist even in the most difficult times. Companies that seek to understand the strengths of their core businesses and identify and market their competitive advantage in a new environment will emerge strong. They will have new products, stronger processes and retain or even be able to hire top talent, leveraging new, expanded or different markets.
  4. Stay close to your customers: Business is about people and often it’s our front-line staff who are in closest contact with our customers. If they are absent from your business, who is staying in touch with your customers? Understanding what your customers need and what they will want from you when you re-open will be critical to ensuring your services and products are relevant and needed in the future.
  5. Ask for help: None of us has all the answers at the best of times and in this very fluid and changing pandemic environment that has never been truer. However, leaders can sometimes fall into the trap of feeling like they need to have all the information and be viewed as “in control”.  Collaboration and teamwork make us stronger together, sharing our challenges with peers or other partners.  Asking members of your team to step up and take on a project or new tasks may create surprising results. You don’t need to “go it alone”.

HR Health Check – free of charge

With a little more time on our hands right now, it’s easy to get distracted.  And perhaps we owe it to ourselves to explore this time with our immediate family and rediscover hobbies and past-times we simple never found time to pursue.  From a business perspective, we also want to be productive.  But there is only so much we can do right now.  Or is there?  At TallSky, we have been busy helping some of our clients dust off their HR policies and practices and ensure these foundation materials are relevant, up-to-date, and well-crafted to these changing times. 

We want to help our Vancouver Island community by helping your business dust off your HR policies and practices.  Let’s get ready for the next phase of our businesses as owners and operators.  With time on our hands now, there are things we can do to be the best businesses we can be, and prepare for opening or re-opening.  We may not know how many employees you will need to hire or rehire, or in what form – whether they be contract or temporary – but as business owners and operators, this is a great time to get back to basics and conduct an HR health check.

As an example, and further to Dr. Henry’s recommendation yesterday, do you have a policy for sick time that will support a team member who is unwell? If not, we can help you with this.

What does this HR Health Check look like?  Free of charge, we will meet with you virtually and walk you through an HR Assessment of your business.  We will provide you with the advice you need right now, and then we will review your current policies and practices and work with you to update your materials so you are ready to go when we all receive the green amber light to get out there.  We will apply our best practice and plain language writing expertise to guide you through any necessary changes.  We are here to help you. 

You may not be active as a business today, or your services may be quite reduced.  Today, it’s about looking for opportunities and filling the time with creative business strategies and one of those areas is cleaning out and fine-tuning your HR policies and practices so you are ready to get going or to accelerate your recovery when the time is right.

We bring over 25 years’ experience working with businesses of all sizes.  So, lean on us to help you with your fundamental HR needs.  Again, our HR Health Check is absolutely free of charge.  This usually takes a couple of hours.  Then, if you want, we will work with you to update these foundation materials.  Or we will give you the tools so you can do this yourselves.

You’ve had a lot on your plate.  Let us help you.

In the meantime, please stay home, stay active, and take care of each other.  Our Island is a very special place and we will get through this.

Link to Federal Government Programs

We recently came across a helpful information summary provided by Harris & Company, LLP that we want to share with you. It shows the Government Programs available, and it includes links to the applications forms.

Summary of COVID-19 Government Programs

At TallSky Consulting, our Virtual HR Services are here for you!  We continue to offer our expertise as/when you need it, and from our virtual offices to yours.  Please contact us to discuss how we can help your organization continue.

During these times, tough situations won’t last – tough and resilient people will!  Let us help you.

Please feel free to contact us for assistance or support by email or phone at any time. Stay healthy, stay connected and let’s all work together to support our teams, local businesses and our communities.

DISCLAIMER The information is provided as general information on these topics, and given the rapidly evolving environment, they may not be relevant with recent updates or changes on the topic. These materials are not meant to be a substitute for specific legal advice. Please do not rely solely upon this information for making decisions regarding employees in your workplace.