As of May 1, Edmond Alblas has joined IG&H as new lead partner Insurance & Banking. Alblas has over 20 years’ of experience as a consultant in the financial service industry. Working on complex strategic assignments and transformations for major Insurers and Banks. He gained significant experience with strategy, technology and change, from working as a Partner at Deloitte and KPMG.
Edmond Alblas: “I believe in translating customer problems into multidisciplinary solutions, in which close cooperation of all teams are very important. What makes IG&H very appealing to me, is that it has such multidisciplinair teams, which can provide customers an end-to-end solution. Think of: the Platform service practice with specialized people in low-code development and Business Engineering as the pivotal capability to accelerate solution development. Smart collaboration creates opportunities to accelerate customers to establish a renewed business model.
In addition, I gained a lot of experience in the financial sector internationally, and now I am very excited to use that to focus on reinforcing the Dutch financial service industry.”
Jan van Hasenbroek, managing partner at IG&H, says, “We’re delighted that Edmond choose to work for IG&H. He understands what is needed to bridge the gap between strategy and execution and the role of digital technologies in complex transformations. We are looking forward to a fruitful cooperation in the months to come to give Edmond a kick start and Insurance & Banking another boost.”
IG&H is active in the field of consultancy and technology. As a sector expert, IG&H focuses on retail, finance, and healthcare. Currently, the company has 275 committed professionals who help organizations realize the digital transformation to radical customer focus.
What they wanted
Our client wanted to improve their commercial credit process for real estate clients and transform it to be more risk-based, data driven and efficient. This market-leading Commercial Bank experienced the need to maintain their competitive edge and contribute to company-wide cost reductions. Also important was the objective of freeing up capacity of their Front Office and Risk team specialists. These experts should focus more on new business, on innovation and on the biggest risks. Their commercial credit process was highly manual and especially the credit risk reviews required a lot of back-and-forth, precious time and lots of information.
What we did
We started by quickly building the value case and aligning the required stakeholders. Next, we introduced AI to largely automate the annual credit risk review cycle that was taking up thousands of hours each year. The client’s credit specialists trained our AI algorithms to assess the need for risk reviews. We used the specialists’ input and feedback to design the total solution in such a way that it was transparent, interactive and customizable. During a pilot the proof of value was highly convincing and the enthusiasm among specialists and senior management grew further. Then we started to use the AI model in practice, harvesting value and lessons learned, while preparing and realizing the full IT, process and Organizational change.
What we achieved
Within a few months the first AI model runs in production and automates >80% of all credit risk reviews. It outperforms the experts consistently in accuracy and helps redirect €500k annually in manual FTE.
AI not only accelerates the process and reduces costs; it also provides whole new capabilities. Using the AI model our client can now monitor risk on portfolio level and case level continuously. The model can also be used for quick scans of scenarios to spot which cases likely need first attention should the real estate market, or an individual client’s circumstances change. Building out new decision models for other parts of the process is in progress.
What they said
“Initially I was doubtful about the benefits of AI in real estate financing. The results have now completely convinced me” – General manager Real Estate Finance –
In the beginning of this year the University of Maastricht University made the headlines; The university was paralyzed by a hack and eventually decided to pay a ransom. Cybercrime has risen in the last couple of years and is fastly adapting to the situation right now where many people work on remote. However, cyber criminals are not the only ones who pose a risk to business operations, for example, a fire in the server room or an employee who accidentally causes a data breach can lead to far-reaching consequences. What can you do as an organization to minimize these risks?
DNB’s assessment framework is a good basis for information security
In order to create a good foundation for information security, the De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) has developed an assessment framework that can be used as good practice by financial institutions. As an organization, this is a good starting point: think critically about which risks you are applicable to your organisation, which risks you wish to accept and which risks you want to minimize. Draw up an information security policy and also record where the tasks and responsibilities lie. Having put this on paper the next step is to make it work in practice.
Information security from paper to practice
1) Be critical of yourself as an organization
Organizations often have too rosy a picture of how information security is arranged. Are the backups of the critical systems made according to plan? And should a backup fail, when will you be informed about this? Does the strict password policy apply to all employees or are there exceptions? As an organization it is important to ask such questions, to zoom in on the exceptions and the risks thereof and to demonstrate this. When proof has to be provided, it often comes up that it is slightly different than previously assumed.
2) Ensure a supported risk culture
Employees often know quickly enough how to bypass the security steps if this is experienced as too cumbersome or difficult. It is important that employees are not only aware of what is expected of them in the field of information security, but also understand why they have to do it. Unfortunately, in practice you often see that the awareness is fully and exclusively invested in employees with a risk function and that they quickly become a voice crying in the desert. Higher management must therefore clearly convey that information security is not something you do next to your day-to-day job, but is an important part of your work. IG&H has developed a unique method for the Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle to ensure that the adjusted processes and risk thinking are properly secured in the organization.
3) Technology is your best friend
Good technological solutions are crucial in limiting risks. If it is user friendly and reliable it can relieve your employees. It is important here that you have clear view of the requirements you need and which action you will take if it is not technically possible to achieve this. Also, be aware of the exception to the rule and what risks this entails. Finally, use the information available in the technology and monitor it actively.
As can be seen from above, getting information security in an organization properly organized costs both time and money. However, the costs if you do not invest in this as an organization can turn out to be many times greater. For example, the University of Maastricht has paid almost 2 tons in ransom and British Airways had to pay a record fine of 204 million euros due to a data breach. As an organization, you also have to catch up in a short time. This is time consuming and a heavy burden on the organization. In short, prevention is better than cure.
Would you like to know more about information security or how we as IG&H can help your organization? Then do not hesitate to contact us!
Through an exchange of letters, Marjon Kaper (CEO ANWB Reizen) and Erik-Jan Mares (CEO Zeeman) provide answers to four questions posed by Bram Gilliam and Jasper van Rijn (IG&H Retail), focusing on how they address and institutionalize the challenges and changes they are facing as a result of the corona crisis.
During one of his first press conferences on the corona crisis, Mark Rutte emphasized the measures introduced in our country were of unprecedent scale. All of a sudden, our main concern was focused on feeling safe, whether at work, in shopping streets or on holiday, something we never experienced before. Safety currently comes in the form of a 1.5-meter society. A society in which we always keep our distance and a travel ban applies to many countries. At the same time, the need for personal contact and interaction is bigger than ever, in order to motivate employees and retain customers. It feels like a contradiction and creates a challenge for organizations to add social value to their offerings. It does not only require adjustments in communication towards customers, on the shop floor and within the supply chain, but it also requires adjustments in the organization itself.
Today, we are aware that the measures stabilizing the spread of the coronavirus will have a structural impact on our society. The Dutch government asked all branches to provide action plans on how to rebound business, while guaranteeing safety of customers and employees. A strict entry policy, clear store routing and high tolerance in rebooking of travel plans are examples of the rebound plans in your branches. Personally, it makes me wonder what the 1.5-meter economy does with the people behind these plans. I can imagine it takes various approaches and requires scaling up at different paces for every single business unit, from head office employees to front line staff and travel guides. This brings a high level of complexity.
What actions did you take to make your employees feel safe and secure?
This question takes me back to March 13th, the day that the coronavirus reached our country and things changed. Up to then, Zeeman only experienced some delayed inbound shipments from China, but from that point onward it became clear the virus was going to have a much bigger impact. To make things more complex, Zeeman is operating in seven different countries, all reacting differently.
The most important thing we did was communicate frequently to keep our teams informed and simply to show that we care. ‘We can imagine how you feel, that you are scared or uncertain and that you wonder why your store is open or not‘ – these are all examples of topics we wanted to talk about. We mostly worked with videos to get across a more personal message. Next to that, I personally visited 19 stores (1 in each of our Dutch regions) in the first three days of the lockdown to show our support and to really understand what was going on. An intensive, but very rewarding thing to do.
Afterwards, people felt a little more confident and at ease. In this crisis, safety and business continuity seem to be on opposing sides. This brings up a discussion which you can move away from or directly address and we tried to do the latter one.
What a strange situation we are in, right? Who could have imagined that the entire organization (in our case over 300 colleagues) would work from home for more than two months? After Mark Rutte announced that we “should stay at home as much as possible”, we quickly arranged that all our colleagues, including the ANWB Reizen customer contact center, could work from home. In the first weeks, there was a lot of work to be done. As ANWB Reizen, we are active in tour operating, camping and leisure activities (a day out, walking and cycling in the Netherlands) and we run ANWB Golf. In a short time, we had to cancel all organized trips and activities, inform our customers and repatriate 2000 travelers from all over the world. All this was achieved from the attics, kitchen tables, or living rooms of our colleagues.
This experience made me realize that you do not have to be physically together to get things done, and that there are endless possibilities to work remote. I believe that leadership and creating trust are always important, but the physical distance created by this crisis poses the real challenge. In times like these it is more important than ever to be transparent and approachable. We try to create continuous insights into how we are doing as a company and emphasize that we are part of the larger ANWB, which is a healthy organization with healthy financial buffers. Also, we have continuous and open contact with the works council, having constructive discussions on a weekly basis. We regularly communicate to our people through vlogs and blogs and next week we will be meeting with senior management to catch up on the latest details. We have a great way to enable all levels of the organization to speak up on what is on their mind, through our internal social platform “ANWB talks”. The platform offers the opportunity to discuss and share all kinds of topics. This can be a specific group, in terms of interest, but also top down. We encourage colleagues to respond and interact here.
Now, it seems that we can meet each other again soon, in person. We prepared a plan in which approximately half of the employees can come to the office, considering the 1.5-meter distance. We aim to maintain the efficiency that working from home has brought us, reducing travel time and traffic jams as much as possible. The office is increasingly becoming a place where you want to be, every now and then, especially to meet your colleagues, but not a place where you must be present every day to sit behind your desk at 8.30.
Managing and supporting employees has become top priority in organizations due to the corona crisis. Organization leaders are called upon to lead organizations through the crisis. This requires a delicate balance between masculine (a directive and decisive approach) and feminine (focusing on connection and intuition) leadership styles. On the one hand, leaders must project calmness and control to remove uncertainty of employees. On the other hand, inspiration and trust must be projected to keep employees motivated and confident. We see examples of organizations doing their utmost best to inform and involve employees. For example, CEOs who take the time to share thoughts and developments with their organization through weekly of even daily video messages. Moreover, we see decisions being made fast and decisively, for example in expanding e-commerce capacity.
In your opinion, what are the key leadership traits you rely on in times of crisis?
My preferred leadership style is to give trust and responsibility to the team. However, in times of crisis, I temporarily switch to a more directive and decisive style. The management team participated in a training last year, making the team well-prepared for this switch in style when the crisis hit our country. Still, we discussed as a team how to allow for fast decision-making and consciously decided that this would centre around very few persons only. I think the whole team appreciated this discussion, including myself.
One example is on the communication we discussed earlier. I had a clear view of how I wanted to bring that forward, in what tone of voice and with clear focus on empathy, which I guaranteed by personally staying on top this. Currently, the responsibility is fully back with the team. So, if you ask me, the most important leadership quality required during a crisis is decisiveness, hand in hand with keeping the human dimension (‘menselijke maat’)
Next to that, leading by example is a practice I strongly believe in. You do not know what goes on in the minds of others, if you have not experienced it yourself. Creating visibility, showing that you care and starting a conversation. In this way the store visits I talked about earlier are very important for me as they provided a real opportunity to be in touch with so many people.
In general, I do not think there is a big difference between leadership during a crisis or leadership during “ordinary” times. As a leader, I believe it is always important to indicate the direction in which the organization is going, that you make quick decisions and communicate them, as well as being approachable and accessible to your colleagues. The current situation does present additional challenges to the leaders of the organization. For example, communicating with the right tone or remaining visible and approachable, as mentioned above, are more challenging from a (physical) distance, when everyone is working remotely. As management, we write blogs and record weekly video messages for our colleagues. We also try to pay special attention to the social aspects of working, for example by organizing digital drinks. Fortunately, we are not unique in this and we see many organizations around us who do this.
“Only a crisis produces real change”, economist Milton Friedman once said. Changes, which typically take years, are now gaining momentum. These changes become visible in many areas. There is an increasing demand in home delivery, children are following online classes and elderly know how to use digital channels. A similar movement is shaking up organizations. A digital working environment is slowly becoming the new normal, possibly bringing structural benefits. New partnerships arise, deeper as well as wider into the supply chain. These changes seem to be accelerated by employees showing a greater amount of decisiveness and focus. In my opinion, the challenge is to institutionalize the positive side of these changes to unlock a structural, more efficient way of working.
Could you describe how the Corona crisis changed the culture within your organization and how you attempt to institutionalize the positive aspects?
The culture of Zeeman focuses on frugality (‘zuinig’), on genuine care of people, resources and society. We are a family business with a high level of involvement, acting differently and being a little bit headstrong (‘eigenzinnig’).
At the start of the crisis, the way of working at Zeeman changed drastically. It used to be slightly old-fashioned: for instance working from home was not done commonly. Currently – and I believe that this will continue after the crisis – attending a meeting at Zeeman is possible regardless of your workplace.
Next to a new way of working, the ability to focus on a few things only enormously increased. We have always been a very lean organisation with the ability to act quickly. However – now more than ever – our focus is on ‘getting things done’. We switched from thorough and deliberate decision making, to fast, less comprehensive, but still thoughtful decision making. Herein, the key is to focus. Prioritize and focus on the three things that matter most. An example is the application we use to share the videos I referred to earlier. Within a week, we launched this application, an introduction which usually takes much more time. How to preserve these changes in the future is ‘the million-dollar question’, since the list of possible projects is already growing. Leadership can help in prioritizing and serving as an example. However, the main question is whether the organisation is ready and whether people are capable and willing to internalize this way of working.
We definitely see acceleration in digitization. Some processes digitized at an accelerated pace during the past weeks and it is fantastic to see how skillful we have become with organizing digital meetings. A cultural change I observed, is that remote working has increased the need for trust that you must have in your people. I sincerely hope that the amount of traffic jams in the Netherlands will reduce, as a result of increased amount of trust and responsibility we give to our employees in deciding how, when and where to work. Now, the corona crisis reinforces that trust, even among managers who might have found this difficult in the past. I hope we can continue to assume that people are motivated to work to the best of their abilities. Ideally, we would only come to the office because we think it is valuable for certain activities or meetings, and not as a habit.
I also see positive changes in our way of working. We are in the middle of a transition of our internal organization and are merging a number of business components. Since January 1st, colleagues have taken up their new positions and we see that people are getting to know each other quicker and seek cooperation more easily since the crisis requires us to do so, for example in repatriating customers. The crisis is disastrous for our business, but it is an accelerator for our transition.
The big question remains, how do we hold on to these positive effects? Personally, I intend to never schedule a meeting again for which people require to be stuck in traffic; from now on I will always take that into account. I understand that this will be challenging, but in my opinion, this requires leading by example and persevere.
While physical distance between people is greater than ever, social connection is intensifying. People look out after each other more. Spontaneous support initiatives for neighbors or local entrepreneurs arise and additional gratitude to healthcare staff is shown. Moreover, grocery shopping is no longer a daily activity, but a fulfillment of primary needs. The corona crisis puts society under a microscope, resulting in enlarged focus on the societal role of organizations. A study done by Nielsen, tracking changes in consumer behavior caused by corona, also indicates this. It shows consumers have an increased interest in the supply chain, demand increased transparency and prefer buying more local. Changes like this evoke reflection and ask organizations to think about what they truly want to represent. I am curious to what extent you reconsider your positioning in order to (re)connect to the changing world.
Does this crisis affect the role you want to fulfill in society and your company’s purpose?
Prior to the Corona crisis, Zeeman already had a clear vision of its purpose and role in society. Our way of working, with its human dimension, is who we are and what is being reinforced by the crisis. The paradox of balancing between people’s health/safety and business continuity is a topic we already discussed at Zeeman. When the government decided to keep the Dutch stores open, we felt the obligation to continue offering our products, while guaranteeing safety for employees and customers.
Another example is our CSR policy. We were already investigating how to reuse materials and increase local sourcing. From a CSR perspective, it makes no sense to circulate goods by sending them back to China to recycle. As a result, we need local facilities that can do this close by. The crisis confirms that the things we started are more valid than ever.
To be honest, the crisis is an opportunity for Zeeman to strengthen its position. We mainly focus on slow fashion, basic products that have a permanent rather than a seasonal profile and are offered at discount rates. The amount of people interested in slow fashion with great value for money might only rise as a result of the crisis.
All in all, I believe that our companies purpose together with the mentality of our people is going to make us emerge even stronger out of this crisis.
The purpose and mission of ANWB is to let its members go out or get on the road, carefree and with great pleasure. By carefree, we mean for travelers, as well as with the least possible impact on the environment. For this reason, we compensate for CO2 emissions of all trips that members and customers make with us through ANWB Reizen. Obviously, this is not enough yet. We strive for further sustainability of the tourism sector. This was already our vision and it is strengthened by the current crisis. We do expect consumers to be more critical of travel organizations, airlines and hotel chains after the crisis, but we do not consider adjustments to our purpose necessary.
With special thanks to Marjon Kaper and Erik-Jan Mares,
Director at IG&H
E: email@example.com T: 0622564054
Jasper van Rijn
Partner at IG&H
E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 0653376760
IG&H, a partner of OutSystems with offices in the Netherlands and Portugal is coordinating the National Coordination Centre for Patient Evacuation (LCPS). The aim of LCPS is to spread the workload and care capacities across hospitals as effectively as possible. Therefor they needed to manage the available resources in each hospital and coordinate all patient transport movements across hospitals in real-time.
To avoid a possible catastrophic scenario, a management tool needed to be built very fast and with high standards of quality.
PECC was built with OutSystems by IG&H and became up and running in less than 2 weeks. This new centralized tool replaced shared files and whiteboards that were being used before. The result was impressive, not only did it improve the effectiveness of all staff involved, but is also created a new set of capabilities (i.e. auditing and reporting). The adoption by the users was almost instantaneous and the feedback that started to reach the Development Team was great.
The PECC application covers 119 hospitals in the Netherlands and Germany. PECC provides real-time overview dashboards and other web pages that manage the process of each patient’s transport movement. These include the workflow of identifying the criticality of each case, then finding the best hospital and managing the specific transport according to the situation of the patient. These decisions are based on 90+ different input fields, that lead to the most favorable solution.
Following the success of PECC, LCPS identified one other urgent necessity that could be tackled with Low Code, the result is the COVID19 NL-DE Kooperation Webportal and a tool managing the allocation and distribution of mission critical equipment like ventilators and IV-pumps called MedOps. The Kooperation portal has been built with OutSystems and is a web application portal that manages the availability of German hospitals to receive Dutch ICU-patients. Dashboards and web pages deliver the information that the application receives directly from the hospitals and transform it in a way that immediately shows the users the most useful information quickly and if needed that information can be drilled down to the required level of detail.
This solution was only possible due to the contributions of OutSystems by providing the necessary infrastructure, deep expertise and support, the Dutch Ministry of Health and the Dutch Army that helped defining the solution process, and by IG&H Health sector knowledge.
The current Corona crisis leaves many businesses in a lot of uncertainty about the future. Many companies face a significant decrease in turnover. Interestingly, this shows similarities with the introduction of the iPad in 2010. Do you want to know these similarities? Read about why your organisation has to anticipate today, and about our three most important learnings.
When the iPad was introduced in 2010, a publishing company predicted that the introduction of the iPad would cause a 70% sales decrease in hard copy magazines and subscriptions by 2020. The online world was hardly existing back then and nobody knew how this would pan out. The magazine publisher had a decade to find a solution but was not sure about which direction to take. In the current Corona crisis, many companies don’t know either: many of the short-term emergency measures will become the new normal, but which ones?
Studies and empirical research describe the situation of these companies as complex. It is important to understand that complexity makes it impossible to predict patterns of the future. The normal way of strategy forming is therefore not effective and organisations should seek alternative ways.
The answer lies in conducting many safe fail experiments within a shared set of rules (boundaries). Safe fail literally means that it is “safe to fail”: there are little resources invested and that it is easy to kill the experiment when not successful. When successful, the organisation should of course be able to scale up quickly. What we see in many organisations is that experiments are the opposite, they are just the first step of a giant roll out. The publisher in this case started a series of experiments in several countries on web fora, digital magazines, interaction with readers, and more things that we find common nowadays. It is an example of successfully adapting to new opportunities.
So, start today with our three important learnings from this case:
1) Accept uncertainty: When you accept the complexity, you accept that there is no cause and effect relationship visible upfront. Therefore, regular strategy forming processes do not work.
2) Set a clear purpose of your organisation and define rules for experimenting: Be clear on the company’s purpose. For example, the purpose of the publishing company was to remain customer relevant in off- and online content. We advise you to define specific rules (called boundaries in complexity theory) within which your company can start to experiment. Examples of these rules are:
- Experiments should always create customer value
- Experiments should start small and develop quickly to a larger scale
- Experiments should be bold with ambitious goals that innovate the sector
3) Start bottom up experiments: Start experimenting within your organisation. Involve employees that are in day to day contact with customers, trust them with coming up with the right ideas. Create multidisciplinary teams to boost creativity and enable quick roll outs. Managers should delegate maximum authority to experiment teams in order to maximise productivity and ownership. Additionally, this enables managers to focus on staying connected, communication, and providing perspective. Read more about this in our recent blog on leadership.
The theory of these learnings is the easy part, putting them into practice is hard. Keep in mind that you should never waste a good crisis, maybe your experiment teams will discover the next breakthrough innovation in your sector!
Are you triggered about the impact of complexity on your organisation and do you want to create momentum to get a head start? We are more than ready to help you explore new opportunities! On our website we will share more blogs, hand-outs and other materials related to the current Corona situation.
In Commercial Banking it is increasingly important that business processes are digital, data driven and can leverage AI. In the current times of unexpected change we see this magnified. IG&H data scientists observe that organizations who already transformed their processes now truly benefit.
Commercial banks are confronted with a sudden wave of SME client requests, changed risk drivers and changes in risk profiles. Banks want to help and need to figure out what (temporary) policy changes would be meaningful for clients. And also, what the impact of specific changes would be on the bank’s business.
Those who have already transformed their processes are now able to handle this situation much faster and more confidently. Their business processes are already more efficient and more consistent. And in the current time of crisis they also prove to be much more Scalable, Transparent, and Adaptable and they offer more options for looking forward in a smart way.
Digital, data driven business processes with a high rate of straight-through-processing and where decisions are made (partly) by AI decision models, require much less human effort. Therefore, they can deal more easily with peaks in workload, especially in times when human capacity may be limited.
This benefit can only fully materialize when there are no bottlenecks in other parts with a crucial dependency. This stresses the fact that individual point solutions are not the way to go. The effective way is a transformation to become a true Data Driven Organization in People, Process, Data and Technology.
Monitoring the impact of the current situation on the client experience, on process performance metrics and on KPIs is much more accurate and near real-time in a data driven process. This facilitates communication and coordination throughout the organization and allows management to take more effective actions.
For example: Dashboards can quickly be shared to observe what is really happening. Such as which teams have the highest workload increase. Or where clients’ payment behavior is most impacted. Analytics can be used to signal early warning indicators such as trends and significant deviations.
AI decision models and business rules can be configured easily to effectuate policy changes like (temporary) higher risk thresholds, lowering the weight of specific risk drivers, higher or lower maximum values, etcetera.
For example: It can be easier to change a few parameters in a risk review decision model, than it is to communicate such changes to whole departments of specialists and coach them to quickly and consistently execute these.
Smart forward looking
Finally, AI decision models can be used to ‘test out’ different scenarios and evaluate very fast the likely effects on individual loans and on portfolio level.
For example: Changing the values of specific risk variables along the lines of different scenarios and observing the predicted effects, is being used to zoom in on those clients who likely require first attention.
AI models can be a very powerful tool to provide insight in likely future outcomes. A data scientist and business specialist who understand how the underlying machine learning works and on what data it was trained can provide a range of quick scan insights within a very short turnaround time.
IG&H’s data scientists and banking consultants continue to work with clients (especially now) to transform commercial banking organizations to remain competitive and benefit from being a true Data Driven Organization.
Would you like to talk about what you can do while your processes are not yet as digital and data driven as you would like? How you can best take the first step? Or how you can leverage your first progress and truly turn the corner to transform into a Data Driven organization? We are ready to help you explore and make data work! Just drop me a note!
Manager Data Science IG&H
From the local bakery to the multinational corporation, the corona crisis requests strong leadership at all levels. Leaders have the important task to navigate their organisation and employees, and therefore society, through these difficult times. Question remains: how to approach this kind of responsibility? We have identified three best practices for effective leadership during a time of crisis.
#1 Show empathy and remain connected
Employees are your main priority as a leader. Therefore, it is essential to show empathy and compassion for the personal and professional challenges employees currently face. Acknowledge the complexity of the situation and emphasize that you are in this together. This requires special attention by being supportive and showing appreciation towards your employees. Recognition can be sparked by contacting your employees regularly. Ask them how they are doing, how they feel about their workload and how their needs can be addressed. By setting an example, employees will start to check-in with each other as well, which will foster team spirit. During the check-ins, it is paramount for leaders to stress the importance of a healthy work-life balance. Additionally, you should encourage your employees to take time to relax to stay physically, socially and mentally in good condition.
#2 Communicate frequently and transparently
Besides showing empathy and remaining connected, these uncertain times call for clear and transparent communication. Take a fixed moment every week in which you provide transparency about the impact of the crisis and the outlook after the crisis. Clarity sparks confidence and creates a sense of security among employees. Make sure, just like our prime minister, to emphasize that you will constantly adapt to the latest insights as not everything can already be foreseen. It is important to be cautious with regards of the terminology you use in your communication, as words have a big impact on sentiment. It is recommended to emphasize on solidarity (by using words like ‘we’ and ‘together’) and faith (by using words like ‘collective flexibility, ‘our future’ and ‘your power’).
#3 Provide future perspective
Apart from the challenges we are currently facing, the coronavirus outbreak also provides ample opportunity. It is for a good reason that the Chinese sign of crisis is similar to the sign of opportunity. Translating this to leadership means addressing risks is equally important to addressing opportunities. Take time to reflect: What can our organisation learn from this situation, is it time to change directions? This helps to provide a realistic but positive future perspective to your employees. Creating perspective will increase trust among your employees and will rekindle motivation to contribute to this collective (renewed) goal. Challenge employees to explore creative ways to turn the apparent challenges into opportunities. To make those ideas work, ensure a dedicated approach: identify critical success factors, make sure to accelerate fast and evaluate continuously. Besides, daily check-ins with the team will foster collaboration. Read more information about how to design this in a digital environment. By enabling employees with enough space, time and mandate to make it work and by focussing on (small) achievements, collective energy will increase, which is necessary combating the corona crisis.
Would you like to talk about working in a digital environment within your organization or use the momentum to get a head start? We are more than ready to help you explore new opportunities! On our website we will share more blogs, hand-outs and other materials related to efficiently working from home.
Or Click here to receive one of our compliment cards