Professor Fermin Diez
Professor Fermin Diez is Deputy CEO and Group Director, Human Capital and Organisational Development at the National Council for Social Service.
Even though Singapore may feel safe for many Singaporeans, we operate in a country with a strong reliance on an open economy. The COVID-19 situation in other countries is very different to ours - and as such we need to be wary of international developments, says Professor Diez.
Businesses in Singapore are adopting measures such as split teams, which Professor Diez is explains is important, but another pressing issue that needs to addressed is managing key business objectives through your people strategy.
Analytics can aid in many ways - but instant communication is where Professor Diez sees the greatest value of people analytics. Pulse surveys come to mind immediately, with their ability to take advantage of our digital world and provide more frequent data points to make decisions based on.
Take a People First strategy. Many companies are expected to struggle in this period - and may have to make the difficult decision to cut their headcount or the salaries of their employees. But which decision is the right one?|
Understanding what preferences your employees have with regard to such policy changes is vital for retaining their trust in the company.
If the economic situation leaves your management with no easy choices - one way to keep employees engaged is to simply ask them on what policies they are willing to adapt to.
Professor Diez elaborates that asking such hard questions demonstrates leadership in responding to your employee's sentiments, and augments your company culture. Cutting salary before cutting people is almost always the right choice, but key sectors of the economy that rely on commission-based compensation will lose out in many ways. Paying careful attention to whether cutting salary allows your employees to meet their daily needs is vital, as you may otherwise be leaving these individuals in a difficult position.
Beyond developing a gauge of how leaders should respond in such a crisis, pulse surveys can be a tool to check in with the emotional well-being of employees. In such a sensitive situation, having confidence that your employees do believe in your management's ability to lead during this crisis is extremely valuable.
Professor Diez explains that one debate that has continued for years - which is to allow employees to work from home, wherever possible - will end. A world where we have to adapt to remote working for a period as long as three years will be a world that cannot adhere to the conventions of today.
While a BCP is focused on bringing operational processes set in place, a People Continuity Plan focuses on developing an environment that is supportive of your employee's emotional health, as well as developing procedures to manage critical business functions from
Here are some resources for building psychological resilience for your teams, developing your people strategy and introducing succession planning for your teams.
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