Corona and HR: 5 Questions for Owners and CEOs


Co-written with Tamir Avni, CEO of Proactive HR.

Since the outbreak of the Corona crisis, business leaders, owners and CEOs are facing many challenges and dilemmas regarding proper team leadership and human resource management. Here are five recommendations from an HR expert.

  1. Should I change my business model? How should I prepare for HR budget cuts? Start by assessing your business vulnerability. How much are revenues likely to be affected in different scenarios, both in the immediate, short, and medium terms. Then, adjustments of costs and expenditures should be done as much as possible.
    • HR is usually one of the biggest expenses for businesses, which is why it’s so important to be strategic with this issue. It is recommended to keep as many customer-facing staff as possible, and reduce as much as possible elsewhere, with as little harm for both sides as possible. If possible, together with their consent. The more solidarity you can generate as a leader together with your team, the better.
    • It is also important to remember that things change rapidly, almost daily for some, and keeping agile is crucial. Therefore, it is recommended to re-prioritize current issues and adjust timelines on a weekly basis, and make HR related decision with as much flexibility as possible. You don’t want to let go of people today based on this week, and discover you need them tomorrow based on next week.
    • It is important to communicate to the entire team that decision which are taken right now are aimed to ensure that the business survives these challenging times, so that we could all recover and grow stronger when the crisis will be over.
  2. How can I maintain productivity, when remote work becomes the new temporary standard? It is advised to prepare a daily and weekly list of tasks and goals, and create a standard of communicating them and making sure they happen. Constantly priority issues in that list, and constantly communicate them to your team. If you did not do so before Corona, schedule weekly team meetings and 1:1 meetings enough time in advance. This is the time for calendars to rule internal meetings and back office. Make sure calendar invites include all attendees and make sure they are updated to meet reality. Meeting summary is king – insist on one for every meeting. Make sure to always end meetings (and summaries) with decision which were made and action items – “who’s doing what”. Make sure to have your own mega-list of “who’s doing what”, and make sure those tasks are getting done!
  3. Working from home with kids – how is that possible? Set an agenda and rules for working time and behavior when it’s working time. Try to find a separate room or spot where it’s “your office.” Agree with your kids on a sign that when you signal it, they know you’re on a call/video conference and they should be quiet, so that you don’t need to use your voice to shut them down. Try to schedule team meetings and 1:1 meetings in recurring times (day and hour). Add “rest”, “eat”, “play with kids” into your calendar – it’s now part of the agenda!
  4. How can I maintain proper contact with my team, given that everyone has a different home-schedule now? Insist on maintaining daily quick briefs with the relevant people, as many as possible. Use these calls to also check in on them, on the personal level. show them you care. Make them feel comfortable to share from their challenges and experiences working from home – kids, pets, activities, family, etc. As the CEO, insist on a weekly summary email to all staff, where you update on progress, what’s ahead, upcoming milestones etc. If you have employees on unpaid leave due to the current Corona crisis, include them in updates, remember to check in on them, make sure you do not forget birthdays, and offer help in any way you can. Remind you team that ultimately, you as the leader do not know everything and also operate in a rapidly changing environment. Share as much as you can about “what’s likely to happen”, to defuse tensions and increase trust and loyalty.
  5. How can I better hire during this time? In general, during such times of uncertainty, it is advised not to hire. If you must, many aspect are easy to do from afar these days: advertising new positions, screening candidates, phone/video interviews, remote tasks and test as part of the process, etc. More than the usual, in these times it is very important to touch base with candidates, and update them on the status of their hiring process. Make sure you have an onborading plan which could be completed as remotely as possible. Last, it is very recommended to insist on a physical meeting between you and the new recruit, as much as possible given the current limitations. If it’s possible – insist on it!

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Originally posted by Tamir Avni, on Proactive HR newsletter.

Co-written with Tamir Avni, CEO of Proactive HR. Proactive HR provides consultation services and human resource outsourcing management services. The company builds infrastructures for effective, flexible, professional human resource management in accordance with its customers’ needs. In addition, the company offers its clients human resource management and recruitment of professionals to support establishment or expansion programs or to provide temporary replacements. The company also engages in placing both middle-level employees and executives – high-quality, professional manpower – in a variety of organizations.


About the Author
Assaf is passionate about promoting business in and with Israel, helping and mentoring entrepreneurs, advising young professionals with career planning and self-fulfillment, and more. Assaf acts as a brand ambassador of Israel as 'Start-Up Nation', speaking to thousands of businessmen, investors, entrepreneurs, young professionals, students and others, both in Israel and around the world. Assaf also works as a business development and marketing consultant to Israeli start-ups and others.
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