Apply the Workforce Management Lessons Learned Amid COVID-19 to Your Long-Term Plans

Thursday, April 23, 2020

By Kendall Fisher, executive producer



One thing we’ve experienced over the past several months is the tremendous resilience of businesses amid incredibly challenging circumstances. We’ve seen twist tie manufacturers start producing face shields, teledentistry platforms extend their services to a nationwide professional community, and struggling restaurants give back to medical workers. The list goes on.

Of course, none of this is possible without the driven and perseverant employees behind all of these brands — the people supporting their companies in the face of uncertainty, taking pay cuts, working from home with families, abiding by new regulations and wondering what the “new normal” will look like. 

Workforce management catapults to the top of the priority list during a time like this. We’ve seen business leaders go back to the drawing board to create new communication strategies. Companies also are taking more time to focus on their employees' needs, and empathy paves the way for leadership teams in all industries and departments.

These strategies shouldn’t be limited to the months surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak. Rather, businesses should consider how the strategies they’re using today can improve workforce management long into the future.

We spoke with several CEOs, founders and business leaders of various industries and company sizes to hear how they’re applying the lessons they’ve learned over the past several months to improve their workforce management.

Watch the video above to hear what they had to say.


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Here is a full transcript of the video:

What’s your workforce management strategy right now?

Kara Goldin: Making sure that people have the tools to be able to do their business no matter where they are is so critically important.

Imran Khan: So, one of the things we have been doing is every Friday we have a virtual town hall where everybody dials in from everywhere, and we talk about what we are seeing on a regular basis and checking on us.

Jim Bonomo: Make sure you're checking on the general wellness of our employees and how they are doing, how they're coping with stress, and making sure everybody's okay. Because you've got to take care of your employees, because your employees take care of your customers.

Jim Bonomo: ...We're all in it together. You know, there's a lot of opportunity out there to really do some great and incredible things.

Imran Khan: One of my colleagues is--his family's from Brazil--I checked in on him yesterday and just had a normal social conversation. We didn't have to talk about business. We talked for 15 minutes about life, and I think that's important to bring people together, because those water cooler moments I'm missing now.

How are you leading employees through this challenging time?

Kara Goldin: I think I was just thinking about, what else can they be doing? You know, just other roles that they could ultimately do in the company. I think everybody really saw that it's kind of all hands on deck, and we're going to get through this.

Jim Bonomo: When you're having meetings, make sure you have that, you know, that we're all in this together type of mentality.

Kara Goldin: Maybe now's the time to figure out what are those problems that I'm seeing that I wish my business had that maybe I didn't know that they had a few weeks ago and use this time to sort of solve those issues.

Jim Bonomo: Challenging your workforce and seeing how they can execute. So, look at that opportunity as being a great thing. And it excites people, because you want to get that excitement from your employees to really work on things.

Kara Goldin: You know, we can all look at how we can just be better.

How are you handling layoffs & furloughs?

Gaby Diamond: Like many other businesses, we had to perform temporary layoffs, mostly to the benefit of the employees so that they can file for unemployment--knowing that we were back up and running, there'll be back.

Imran Khan: I think you have to do this conversation one at a time, because these are very personal conversations. And I think that my biggest concern was making sure that we take care of everybody's health stuff. So obviously we extended health care as long as we could.

Gaby Diamond: Just being here for them through the process. I'm not an expert on unemployment, but being able to--I've gone on Zoom with some of them and helped them fill out their applications, so almost as if they're still here and just coming from a place of empathy and that we're going to be in touch.


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