• Blog
  • August 3, 2020

Respond, Recover, Reinvent: Operational Recovery Post Covid

“The historic challenge for leaders is to manage the crisis while building the future.”

– Henry Kissinger

With challenging economic times looming and a drastically altered business landscape, organisations will have to be very focussed yet adroit as they move forward.

To recover, stabilise and grow, organisations will have to navigate and deal with a multitude of variables caused by the crisis. Lockdown has prompted and continues to drive a number of societal and market changes that organisations will have to manage and plan for if they are to thrive.

How and when the government will further relax, or reimpose, restrictions is uncertain, which is why organisations should consider all their options now and build capacity to respond quickly as the situation changes.[1]

Moving from the response to recovery phase is a pivotal opportunity for business leaders to redefine their organisation and realign their strategy.

Deloitte recommends that businesses should take this chance to transition away from their current reactive mode to one of anticipating how to reinvent the organisation for the future.[2]

Accenture suggests organisations commit to a program of active reinvention, while seeking to build new capabilities by taking a fresh approach to innovation.[3]

The crisis has already highlighted the importance of requiring an accelerated response strategy but it has also revealed a number of business resilience short-comings and given companies a greater sense of what they need to do to achieve smoother continuity.[4]

Reinvent For The New Normal

In the pandemic-altered world of business, many organisations are facing a decline in demand, new customer expectations, fractured supply chains, and tough operational challenges because of changing health and safety restrictions.

Commentators say it is unlikely companies will be able to return to ‘business as usual’ and are predicting it may take years for organisations to bounce back fully.

And, although lockdown is slowly unwinding here in the UK, it is important to remember that without a vaccine there is a risk of a second wave of the virus.

Therefore, organisations need to plan for this eventuality to be able to respond to these uncertain circumstances, organisations should make strategic planning a continual activity.[5]

This point is underlined in NHS Scotland’s Re-mobilise, Recover, Re-design framework, which is actively planning for such a scenario and puts emphasis on the organisation’s need to build up its capacity to handle the ongoing presence of Covid-19 while working to resume normal services.[6] 

Not All Employees Had The Same Covid Experience

In the interim between response and recovery, organisations will have had to transform how they operate day-to-day. Moving forward, some of these changes may remain, while others may shape-shift into something else and certain activities could be reduced or even retired entirely.

Responsibilities and job roles have had to very rapidly evolve to cope with staff being let go or furloughed. No two team members have had the same experience over the past few months, and this too must also be taken into account when planning for recovery.

Therefore, it’s important that organisations increasingly build an inclusive working environment and that managers approach any potential underlying issues with heightened sensitivity and emotional intelligence.

Those key staff members who were left in the workplace manning the operation may be feeling overworked and possibly resentful towards those who were furloughed.

Therefore, as part of your recovery communication plan it is key that their efforts are recognised and they are thanked for going above and beyond, and at the same time the potential impact on the individual and their families should be acknowledged.[7]

Furloughed staff on the other hand are likely to be feeling anxious about a return to the work environment for a number of reasons such as health and safety, a return to the status-quo in terms of work flexibility and possibly an altered job role.

To address this, management must regularly engage with their people to understand how they feel about returning to work and gauge how coworker relationships between those who were and were not furloughed has changed.

Be Sincere in Your Response

Using Trickle’s platform managers can use MoodSense to see how people are feeling and individuals can use Confide to privately raise concerns and seek support. Your people need to know it is ‘ok to not be ok’ and that you are authentically committed to supporting their wellbeing.

To mitigate the risk of burnout for those staff members who have been working intensively throughout the lockdown, organisations should consider offering them time to ‘reset’ before they return to their normal work. Research suggests that not providing sufficient respite for those key workers will increase the likelihood their wellbeing will be negatively affected.[8]

On top of the issues outlined above, your workforce may be feeling an underlying tension over the organisation’s outlook and ultimately their job security. Research carried out by Accenture found that over 64% of the global workforce is facing high anxiety over their personal job security.[9]

To address these concerns leadership should adopt a transparent approach to communicating their strategy and ensuring their people have a method for raising and resolving their issues.

Allow People Time To Settle

During this transition there will be a period of adjustment as staff settle into their new routine. Providing your people with a mechanism to have a voice can help smooth this phase.

Employees’ performance may drop off as a result and it may take longer for them to start working efficiently and collaboratively with others again.

By enabling voices from every level of the organisation to be heard through one streamlined process and in real-time, leadership will have invaluable dynamic insights into the effectiveness of their recovery strategy.

In turn, this will greatly improve the organisation’s responsiveness and help it to make more informed decisions.

Listening to your people and responding to their suggestions and concerns helps build trust and improves employee engagement.

A weak and poorly executed recovery plan can majorly derail employee motivation, damage their wellbeing and be perceived as a failure on the part of leadership who may seem insincere.

Reaffirm Your Commitment To Your People

This is an ideal time for leadership to highlight the organisation’s purpose and values, particularly its commitments to its people. How leadership reimagines and projects the organisation will significantly impact its long-term competitive advantage.

What is certain is that operational recovery will require a focus on your people and consistent emotionally intelligent leadership; at Trickle we are ready to stand with you and help.

Our platform provides you with the simple tools needed to effectively engage with your people and consider their wellbeing.

If you would like to see any of Trickle’s real-time engagement, wellbeing and recognition tools, please get in touch with us and we will arrange a 10 minute demo.


[1] https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/emp-law/employees/workplace-guide-returning-after-coronavirus

[2] https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/economy/covid-19/guide-to-organizational-recovery-for-senior-executives-heart-of-resilient-leadership.html

[3] https://www.accenture.com/_acnmedia/Thought-Leadership-Assets/PDF-3/Accenture-COVID19-Five-Priorities-To-Help-Reopen-And-Reinvent-Your-Business-v2.pdf#zoom=50

[4] https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/future-of-work/from-surviving-to-thriving-reimagining-the-post-covid-19-return

[5] https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/reset-your-business-strategy-in-covid-19-recovery/

[6] https://www.gov.scot/publications/re-mobilise-recover-re-design-framework-nhs-scotland/

[7] https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/docs/default-source/about-us/covid-19/going-for-growth-version-3-05-05-20.pdf?sfvrsn=7cf71c97_4

[8] https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/docs/default-source/about-us/covid-19/going-for-growth-version-3-05-05-20.pdf?sfvrsn=7cf71c97_4https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/docs/default-source/about-us/covid-19/going-for-growth-version-3-05-05-20.pdf?sfvrsn=7cf71c97_4

[9] https://www.accenture.com/_acnmedia/Thought-Leadership-Assets/PDF-3/Accenture-COVID19-Five-Priorities-To-Help-Reopen-And-Reinvent-Your-Business-v2.pdf#zoom=50