I sent this e-mail to my team on Monday, March 9. My team consists of seven Human Resource Consultants who work with our clients as on- and off-site HR Managers, and five administrative/operations staff. The HR Consultants mostly work remotely; my admin team works in our office.
The Coronavirus issue has started to take over all of our lives, both personally and professionally. It’s consuming the way we make decisions as well as how we do what we do.
I’m obviously not an expert on this; I’ve probably read and seen as much information on the subject as you have; there’s little if any information regarding the virus itself that I can share with you that you haven’t already seen.
So in thinking about this and the way it impacts RSJ/Swenson and our clients, I’ve come up with some guidelines to follow.
- Use your best judgement at all times. In deciding whether or not to make a visit to a client, use your best judgement. If you’re not comfortable, don’t go. We’ll back you up on our end.
- Logistically, we’ll set each of you up with Zoom accounts. You can conduct meetings, calls, conferences either by zoom, by phone, or e-mail like always.
- If you primarily work in the office, my RSJ Partners and I are committed to making sure our environment is as safe as possible.
- If you’re sick, don’t come in to work. You can work from home. If you’re out of sick days, call Jamie. You won’t lose money because of it. I’d rather have you not come in than come in. Work from home is fine.
I’m personally a lot more concerned about the business impact on our clients (and than the virus itself.
This was brought home to me on Friday when a long-time client (that is really successful) called me asking for assistance on how to eliminate half of his employees. Seems that the banks have withdrawn credit because of fears that contracts will be cancelled.
There are many other clients that will be directly impacted as well. Our museum and private school clients are going to close for who knows how long. I’m hearing that restaurants will be impacted and many other industries as well. We have clients in import/export, financial services, and non-profits that could take a hit.
At a minimum, all businesses are now scared, and when they’re scared, they don’t make decisions. The first instinct is to downsize or buried heads in the sand. This happened in 2008-09.
Thus, the most important business decision we can make is to proactively reach out to each of our clients.
You are looked to as the Subject Matter Expert on how to deal with the workforce. Right now, we need to add as much value as we can. What we do is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. But we can only be perceived as necessary if we are constantly adding as much value as we can.
We’ll have a conference/video call next week to discuss particulars and share stories and anecdotes of how we’re helping our clients. Until then, please make sure you’re in touch with each and every client in a proactive (not reactive) way.
Thank you for all you do.