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Crisis Response Journal Crisis Response Journal

Threats change, so must our thinking

Posted on 23rd March 2020 at 14:29pm

Organisations must look at opportunities for diversifying, adapting and planning – being proactive in the workplace to find different ways to respond. CRJ Advisory Panel Member Rob McAlister from Glenbarr Consultancy offers some practical advice for businesses that don’t want to bury their heads in the sand.

So, what can organisations do?

  • Tweak operational models just as John Lewis PLC has done in the UK, pulling fashion outlet staff out of retail stores and put them into their food outlets in their supermarkets, Waitrose
  • Before laying off staff, consider what else they can do for you with minimal re-training: manning the phones, looking after social media from home, or working in warehouses to keep supply chains operating efficiently
  • Will you need the staff you are about to lay off as reserves for when current staff get ill or burnt out? If so, how can you retain their goodwill when you need them again; what incentives do you have to offer, pay, vouchers, transportation etc?      
  • Ask why older staff are still manning supermarket checkouts compared with younger, less vulnerable personnel
  • Re-training or re-tasking our army of security officers worldwide – get them doing more: Frontline customer service; looking after other staff; stock taking; random temperature checks… anything but monitoring CCTV, patrolling or arresting shoplifters which, at present, may not be a priority for all venues
  • Can organisations hire vehicles for staff who cannot now use public transportation or share vehicles?
  • How many restaurants who have so far decided to stay open have adopted new rules on table distances, reduced tables and introduced hand hygiene for customers at the door?
  • What can organisations do behind closed doors to plan for the recovery phase, seeking new clients or diversify their plans for a post-coronavirus environment?
  • Regarding supply chains, consider stopping certain product lines that are not a priority and divert to those that are
  • How are organisations on industrial or retail parks collaborating for the greater good, sharing information, staffing, sharing resources etc?
  • Get your staff together to brainstorm ideas – they probably have a million great solutions to the current organisational issues. At the same time, this also generates feelings of ownership and camaraderie   
  • How are organisations making use of specialist consultancy advice to quicken planning and response capabilities?

You can see that things can be done – granted, some are more practical than others. But a different mindset is required as this threat is constantly challenging our ability to think creatively and laterally.


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