Due to the current pandemic, many businesses are struggling to make ends meet. This battle is stressful for employers, employees, and stakeholders alike.
We asked 12 business owners to explain how they’re working to alleviate the dangers of their most at-risk stakeholders.
Their answers might surprise you.
All of my business clients are at some risk. My self-employed clients and those mandated to close have been hardest hit. I am providing my clients with continually updated information from the IRS and SBA at no cost to ensure that they will remain in business. I want to continue to service them after the pandemic.
Joanne M Elsen, CPA
Adjust Your Expectations and Offer Support
We have found that employees who are single parents or part of a dual-income household are under the most pressure. Because schools and daycare services are closed, they now have to juggle work commitments and parenting at the same time. The three strategies that I see as the most effective (and humane) are: 1) adjust expectations of productivity during the shelter-in-place, 2) support them with online education and entertainment resources for their children and 3) regular check-in by team members to see how and where they can help to get them through this period. The bi-weekly virtual happy hour is also a great hit with working parents.
Consider Financial Assistance
Arizona’s arts and culture organizations are most at risk from our perspective. We’ve lifted any grant constraints and given them access to experts in financial modeling and planning to develop scenarios for consideration.
Remember Stakeholders are People Too
Remember that the stakeholders that make up your company are real people with real concerns. Stakeholders include your team, your department leaders, and your customers. Be transparent with them and help them make sense of all that has happened and what it means for them and the company.
Continue to Show Value
Many individuals have been impacted – and even those that are fortunate enough to remain working need to realize the importance of 1) being seen (video conferencing will remain a staple of corporate life so embrace it or risk out of sight out of mind and 2) being essential (not as defined by the government – instead look for ways to recreate or redefine your personal brand within your current employer and continue to demonstrate your value add in new ways going forward.
Janet Wise, VP Employer Experience Career Transitions
Students are most at risk for us in this current environment. With schools being closed, most communities don’t have the infrastructure to keep their kids engaged in an online classroom setting. To alleviate this we have developed a program to assist schools in getting the technological resources their students to successfully adapt to distance learning.
Most of our stakeholders that have a business that is dependent on a specific distribution model have found themselves at a critical juncture. We are working with them to identify alternate distribution models via technology that will ultimately strengthen their businesses in the long run.
Avoid Layoffs and Furloughs
Of course, the most at-risk stakeholders in any company are the lowest-paid employees. I think doing everything you can to hold onto as many positions as possible is the best you can do in this current situation.
Help Job-Seekers Find Opportunities
In general, job seekers who have been laid off or furloughed are the most at risk. With the staggering unemployment numbers, many are counting on subsidies to offset going back to work immediately. Finding a job will be more competitive and many will not use this downtime efficiently; they will wait until the last moment to look for work. Most will be unprepared and become frustrated if they are not hired immediately. vCandidates.com helps prepare job seekers by turning them into “viable candidates” and connecting them directly with recruiters with job opportunities.
Try to Mitigate Fallout
Clients of my last employer in the travel and tourism industry have been at greatest risk. With so many clients – destination brands – relying on the success of their partners – hotels, restaurants, and attractions – many have been crushed financially by the fallout due to COVID-19. Our focus was to provide ways clients could leverage the software and digital marketing tools at their disposal to mitigate the economic fallout and prepare for the eventual recovery.
Rennie Leon, Director of Marketing and Communications
The spotlight shines brightly on leadership and what plan of action they are going to take with the company to steer effectively through these challenging economic times. Leaders that stay level and communicate a clear plan of action are at less risk of scrutiny by stakeholders. Proactive, systematic risk management means finding the problems before they find you. Work with stakeholders before complaints and comments arise to figure out how they can be best addressed and how businesses can continue to thrive even amidst constant change.
Contact State Officials
My firm is small so the folks most at risk are my friends who cut my hair and provide my manicures. I’ve spoken with my Congressman to request help to get these folks unemployment insurance even though they have no pay stub. We are still awaiting financial relief for these front-line workers. I said if the State of AZ DES’ promised new website does not come online as promised around May 13, I will definitely take further action with our elected officials.