“Do the best you can, and then when you know better, do better.” This quote by poet, author and civil rights activist Maya Angelou, is a wonderful reminder of how to prepare for the possible resurgence of increased COVID-19 cases expected this fall.

In this edition of Thinking Strategically about your Human Resources, we encourage you to reflect upon the lessons learned over the last few months about your business, your customers,
your employees and yourself as a leader to do better.

Below we identify critical questions for you to reflect upon:

  1. For Your Business:
     What products or services had an increase in demand?
     Which products or services were you required to cease providing either due to low demand or reduced supply?
     How did technology impact your ability to connect with customers?
     Where are the opportunities for innovation and modernization?
     Were you required to make any changes to your staffing models and employee schedules due to changing customer habits?
     Did you access the wage-subsidy program and other resources provided by the provincial government to support businesses?
     Are you able to sustain your business if there is another lockdown? If so, for how long?
  2. Partners/Financial Institutions/Vendors/Contractors
     How have you and your stakeholders adjusted your business partnership to ensure equipment and supplies are available?
     Are you able to negotiate more favourable terms with your financial institutions?
     Is there value in all your contractual agreements?
  3. Customers:
     Have your customers changed their habits?
     What have they required from you since COVID-19?
     Were you able to provide them with same level of service equal to the quality, you did in the past?
  4. Employees: The mental well-being of your employees is significant and will impact their ability to work for you and take care of their family.
     What did you learn about the needs of your employees?
     What will they require from your organization as the new school year approaches and hybrid models of in-class and remote learning are planned?
     Have you been sharing with your employees the supportive resources available through your benefits provider or Employee and Family Assistance Program.
  5. Leading: Many have commented that the pandemic has shone a bright light on leaders’ actual characteristics.
     What type of leader have you been over the last few months?
     Did you seek the opinion of others to make your decisions?
     Is greater collaboration among your team members required?
     Did you check in on your employees?
     Have you taken the necessary actions to reset the direction of your business?
     Have you become more aware of the concerns of social injustice and the need for equity that has been growing?

The above questions are designed to get you to reflect upon your business, your customers, your employees and yourself as a leader. Take the time to go through this exercise and write down your responses. The experiences of the past few months can provide you with valuable insights, which can be used to do better, if only you want to be better; in the months and years ahead.