“How companies respond to coronavirus will define their brand for decades.”   If you didn’t take care of your employees or stakeholders and put them first, you will pay the price post virus.”

That would be might quote to any organization leader.

During this time of disruption, your brand is under a microscope. I am sure you have heard horror stories from how organizations are responding to this virus via their employees.  Mass layoffs, salary reductions, furloughed or fired were all situations that organizations found themselves in. On the other hand, numerous success stories: guaranteed salaries, no job lost, relaxed work policies etc.

If there was ever a time for a purpose driven organization, it is now.  Your purpose is being put to the test and will be exposed in full view of that most valuable asset, your employees.  The purpose driven organizations will be exposed.  The non-purpose driven organization will be exposed like bad wiring.

Meaningless Words

You go to any organization website and you see a symphonic array of words all selling their organization from a branding perspective.  However, talk is cheap, Organizations beat their chest about caring for customers, communities, the environment, and that most valuable asset.  Will those hold up while we are in the grip of a deadly pandemic?

Every brands purpose is now being put to the test – and will customers forgive those brands that don’t meet the mark?  Will your employees forgive or praise you for the way they were treated or mistreated?

And the winner is?

ADCB Group, including Al Hilal Bank, announced its commitment to ensure the continuity of employment at the bank, pledging that no employee will be made redundant during 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.  This was an announcement that went out and the virus started.  There will be winners and the intelligent brands, the competitive brands, are the ones that realize they need to activate their purpose now.  Are you living it or just fronting?  Singing all the right tunes, but not connecting to those words.

Having worked through a celebrity CEO who was jailed for insider trading, my time as VP Human Resources at Martha Stewart Living taught me one thing.  Communicate, Communicate and Communicate and then communicate some more to your

workforce.  That is the glue that will hold it together.

Regular update from leaders is a must.  Even bad news has to be shared with compassion.  Transparency is the key.  Communication must be both ways: Cascading down and

cascading upwards.  What is on your employees’ mind?  Do you know what their concerns are?  If not, why not?  Create a forum for them to express their feelings because trust me they see and hear, and bad actor stories are all over the news.

And the loser by a wide margin is…

There was story as few days back about a mass layoff over zoom. Talking about clueless.  So many disruptions from organizations basically acting out.  When I see this type of responses from organization, I wonder where is the heart of the organization? Where is the empathy.

Another organization disconnected all ID cards, so that as employees entered the gate, the card would not activate, and the guard would come out and ask for their laptops etc.  The Guard then informed them that they were laid off.

Think of it this way.  What is your organization doing to enhance engagement now when you need it.  Are your assets proud of your response to this crisis?  At this time go back and read your pronounced words on your website, are you living up to that. Maybe you should reconsider your purpose if you come up with a negative after your analysis

Making purpose count

“It Was the Best of Times; It Was the Worst of Times”

is a quote from the opening paragraph of a Charles Dicken novel, A Tale of Two Cities?

This phrase points out a major conflict between family and love, hatred and oppression, good and evil, light and darkness, and wisdom and folly.  For our organizations the conflict is between best of time in getting our organizations restructured to have more meaning and purpose vs. the worst of time with the pandemic which has caused disruptions and monumental deaths all the world.

How will your organization respond?