In moments of uncertainty and concern, it’s not only about what leaders of organizations do but equally how they do it that matters.
COVID-19 is taking the world by surprise, causing a great deal of uncertainty and raising issues that require thoughtful, people-first responses. This newly identified coronavirus was first seen in Wuhan in central China in late December 2019. As we enter March 2020, the virus now has a global reach on all continents except Antarctica. As the virus spreads, communities, ecosystems, and supply chains are being impacted far beyond China.
In January 2020, ahead of the Lunar New Year and as health concerns were still growing, MWC conducted a survey in China of human capital policies and practices. The survey drew over 1,000 responses from enterprises operating in China, including a cross-section of private, foreign, and state-owned enterprises as well as not-for-profit organizations.
The survey shows that from the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, the immediate focus of employers has been on ensuring the health and safety of their employees:
- Ninety percent of the employers believe it is an urgent requirement to provide their employees with remote and flexible work option.
- Energy, resources, and industrial companies encounter the biggest constraints in offering flexible working and remote solutions, and have focused on providing epidemic protection—they have been ensuring sanitation, personal protective equipment, and safety of the workplace environment.
- More than half of government and public service entities are focusing on addressing employees’ psychological stress.
Authorities internationally are taking decisive action to respond to this emerging public health threat, which has caused the business community to consider the adequacy of its own preparedness measures.
It’s important to remember we have faced crises like this in the past and will face them again in the future. We need to be prepared, rational, and even altruistic in response. If there is disruption, there will also be recovery, so how we act in a time of crisis can also inform our long-term impact.
Responding to the immediate challenge: a framework to view the impact on your people.