Coronavirus – Building your reputation skillset

By Susannah Kerr

On Friday May 1st, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar unveiled the Government’s plans to get the country back on its feet, setting out a five-point roadmap, beginning on the 18th of May and guiding us to reemergence from this crisis on the 10th of August. With this latest announcement came the ability to see light at the end of the tunnel – confirmation of dates and a chance to look to the future. As we learn that these measures will be in place for some time, organisations now have an opportunity to prepare themselves and their people to be ready for the ‘new normal’ that awaits.

Employees at all levels are finding the current situation difficult. Teams are isolated, morale may be low, cultural touchpoints are absent and with many lacking human contact and communication with their peers they may feel less confident and undervalued in their roles. It’s important for leaders to encourage their employees to make positive use of this time, by finding time and resources to invest in upskilling and training, and providing their teams with more tools to maximise their performance and sense of importance to the business. A recent Forbes article considered the coronavirus as an accelerator for defining, or re-defining, the role of remote working, and the transformation of corporate learning. The future Workplace Survey posed the question to HR leaders: How could the Coronavirus be advantageous to your business? The mixture of responses shows that there are leaders who view the Coronavirus epidemic as an opportunity. Almost a third of respondents said that they would re-think assumptions regarding current business practices, while over 20% of leaders would cross train their employees to add new skills to their portfolio since this crisis has emerged.

Reassessing Reputation Strategy

As mentioned in previous ReputationInc blogs, stakeholders and the public will remember how organisations reacted to this crisis and whether or not they acted for the greater good and met expectations. Now is the time for employers to reassess their reputation strategy and how they want to be viewed moving forward.

Building or re-building a reputation strategy requires integrating business objectives, leadership ambitions, functional constraints and stakeholder expectations into a cohesive framework. Those leaders who choose to look at their business from the outside in, in the face of adversity, will be able to see exactly how the public view them. This can highlight areas of necessary growth and improvement, and given the tools, they can emerge even stronger from this crisis.

Benefits of upskilling

Employees should use this time to think of how they could be working most effectively to help their business. Additionally, leaders should be supportive in providing their employees with the resources and tools to upskill while working remotely. A recent survey by Randstad Sourceright, of human capital leaders found that while 91% of companies felt they should be providing reskilling opportunities to their employees, in fact only one in five were doing so. Humu CEO Laszlo Bock, said in a recent Fast Company article that employers need to put the spotlight on learning during these unprecedented times, and less so on performance goals.

We believe that by maximizing this time to learn and upskill, not only are employees improving for the sake of their business, but also for their own wellbeing, enabling them to feel worthwhile and valued as they continue on their work from home journey. At ReputationInc we focus on the upskilling of team members, focusing on leadership advisory, brand strategy and capability training.

Types of upskilling programmes

At ReputationInc, we give our clients and their organisations the best head start when approaching the ‘new normal’ by offering the chance to advance their skills through training and development programmes, such as our capability offerings which include media training, presentation training and reputation ambassador training. By employers investing in their employees now, it ensures the smooth sailing and continuity for organisations as they look to re-establish their business functions. Providing employees with the tools sooner rather than later, will help businesses emerge strong in the new landscape and show their agility to stakeholders, thereby putting their best foot forward for their business.

Employees upskilling now will reap the rewards not only for their business but also for themselves to feel valued and motivated during this time. The opportunities are endless for a business who continually strive to get the best for their employees and give them the tools to progress. This means that when the dust settles, and we emerge into our New Ireland, that organisations have used this time proactively, and reputationally, are emerging stronger than before.

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