What follows has been gleaned from experience and research. This is an amazing time for HR to be a strategic partner! What follows comes in no specific order.

  1. Be inclusive. It is so tempting to try to control everything right now. That is fear-based. The rule around inclusion is if you will make a decision that affects other people, do your best to be inclusive of their input.
  2. Create a contest – such as $100 for the Idea of the Week. Have a jury of managers and employees give out the awards.
  3. Create FAQs. What questions are coming up from employees, customers, and other stakeholders that you can help address. Don’t worry that it’s “not my department”. Chip in everywhere you can!
  4. Encourage employees to “buddy-up”. Have them check in on each other daily. If you are in management, you should be checking up on your reports individually at least once per week. I would also suggest morning team huddles even if they are done online.
  5. Encourage people to maintain a normal work schedule. This is not only important for wage and hour purposes, but for sanity as well. Part of maintaining a solid work schedule is to manage your calendar.
  6. Find a reason to have a good laugh.
  7. Generate simple rules for working with each other. Don Miguel Ruiz’ book, The Four Agreements, is a good framework –
  • Be impeccable with your word
  • Don’t take things personally
  • Don’t assume
  • Do your best
  1. Have great video conference meetings. Make sure you set rules about how people look and show up at the meetings. Also consider having fun as in happy hours and hat parties. I do a great program on best practices for video conferencing. Let me know if interested!
  2. Help employees manage stress, fear, and anxiety. Refer them to your company EAP program if available.
  3. Help laid-off employees with outplacement assistance where possible. Do any of your clients or vendors need good employees?
  4. This is a good time to revisit performance management, project management, and performance incentives. Maybe even start from scratch!
  5. Move from expectations to agreements. These are novel times and we can’t assume that our expectations of each other are normal. You can avoid conflict by moving from expectations to agreements. This is true at work and at home!
  6. Publicize positive stories with your employees, your company, and your clients. Celebrate the small wins, anywhere you can find them.
  7. Send out a daily message from the single source of “truth” at your company. It may be from the president’s office or the director of communication.
  8. Set forth and brand simple and repeatable messages. Keep to a solid theme throughout the crisis. I am encouraging many of my clients to adopt the mentality of becoming “Antifragile.”
  9. Surprise your employees with free food, fun t-shirts, and other novelties. So for example, if you have a lunch and learn, you can send sandwiches to their house in advance. You can also print up thematic team shirts and have them distributed and ask that people wear them during meetings.
  10. Test ideas out. The faster you test and fail, the faster you get to great solutions.
  11. This is a good time to update standard operating procedures and technology.
  12. Turn off. Turn off the TV, multimedia, and all other digital and visual inputs. This will allow you to tap into the zone of creativity and to free your mind up so that you can produce creative results.
  13. Visualize it. Create a poster for your company employees. Have it show your company’s vision, mission, goals, and values for going through this crisis. Encourage employees to put it up in their home offices and blow it up for the corporate office.
  14. What’s next? This is the question on the mind of all the CEOs I deal with. How do you contribute to that conversation?
  15. This is a unique opportunity to reinvent your workforce. To grab A players from failing competitors. To let go of your poor performers. Now’s the time to get the right person on every seat of the bus!
  16. You can assume something is “going on” with everyone you meet right now. Everyone feels like a victim and may have considerable hardship on the home front. If you notice that something is not right, say something. “I notice _____. Is everything okay? Want to talk about it?”
  17. HR has to adapt to the current challenge by updating company policies and procedures.
  • Acknowledgement of screening and reporting obligations.
  • Federal, state, and local compliance and health posters.
  • FFCRA leave policy, request form, and poster.
  • COVID-19 prevention policy, policy for handling symptomatic employees, PPE policy.
  • Return to work – welcome back letter, offer letter to be signed, protocols to be signed, and FAQ.
  • Telecommuting policy, agreements, and checklists.

There you have it. 24 ideas to put into your HR strategies toolbox! If interested in how I have been helping companies and executives navigate these challenging times don’t hesitate to contact me!

Don Phin
Don Phin
Don is an attorney and risk management pro. Over the years, Don has been brought into many chaotic and messy scenarios to provide guidance and creative solutions.
He is an executive coach, consultant, and speaks on emotional intelligence. He has presented to CEO and other executive groups over 600 times. In the last three months, Don has done dozens or Webinars and Zoom meeting to help companies. You can learn more about him at www.donphin.com