How organisations are entering Survival Mode to manage Covid-19

The world is reeling from the impact of the Coronavirus, with the threat to businesses changing on a daily basis. Yet while some businesses have already closed and others are at risk of disappearing as the crisis unfolds, others appear to be riding the wave.

Of course, this is partly dependent on the nature of each business and its relevance in a lockdown scenario, but organisations that are agile and flexible are proving to be further ahead in their survival strategies.

What does survival look like?

Survival means different things to different organisations. It might involve adapting your offer to the new situation: think about the cafés and fast food outlets that have switched to delivery only, or personal trainers and yoga studios moving to online classes.

Other organisations will seek to minimise their costs by suspending operations and furloughing staff to wait out the lockdown.

Crucially, the key is to act fast. Identifying the potential impact to your business and responding accordingly is fundamental to damage limitation.

Winners and losers

It’s helpful to look at a few real-life examples. Netflix, for one, is set to do very well out of people staying at home. While it had the forethought to reduce its streaming quality so that internet providers can cope with the increased demand – and has created a $100 million hardship fund for people in the creative industries – it has come under fierce criticism for increasing subscription rates.

Supermarket chains will clearly continue trading throughout the crisis and are responding to calls to prioritise health workers, the elderly and vulnerable.

Meanwhile, restaurant chains, travel firms and retailers that have been slow to move may not survive the shock to their businesses.

Forward planning

Some organisations have responded better than others, particularly in the early stages of the pandemic.  These are the organisations that have robust crisis plans in place, helping them to establish a core leadership team early on, where each member had a clear role and objectives.

Such companies have strong channels of communication and have shared messages with employees early on to reassure them that the threat was being taken seriously. They have continued to share regular updates with staff, customers and stakeholders and taken time to answer their questions.

While this preparedness won’t guarantee survival or avoid the need for tough cost cutting decisions, it will give them a fighting chance – and hopefully the support of their people.

Technology investment

The need for social distancing and isolation has created big challenges for some organisations, while others have switched to home working with barely any impact on day-to-day functioning.

Technology is fundamental in survival. Coronavirus has really demonstrated how important it is for employees to understand the tools available to them. That way, when a crisis hits you don’t face the additional pressure of a sudden need for extensive training.

Seek expertise

It may be that your own company’s battle for survival through the pandemic has exposed a need for emergency planning and risk management in your organisation. This is an area where external expert input is invaluable.

WIL Group’s global executive interim talent pool includes hundreds of highly experienced professionals that have worked through many different crisis situations and led organisations through challenging times. If you would benefit from their experience, speak to us today.



Tell us a little bit more about your business and how we can help. The WIL Group partner in your country will be in touch with you shortly.

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