The COVID-19 crisis has been a tsunami that has directly impacted the ways of managing the company.

The companies in Spain have had to reconvert in a few weeks to be able to stay as the main axis on which our welfare state is founded. In relation to the direct impact that COVID has had on its organization and human resources, we could differentiate between three types of companies:

  • ERTE companies. They reduced their workforce as a consequence of the inability to receive supplies or directly due to a reduction in the demand of their sector.
  • Telecommuting companies. They were able to make their templates more flexible to maintain the same service provision remotely.
  • Companies essential service. They maintained their templates as a result of the increased request for their services or products.

Many organizations cannot be classified only in one of the previous types but have maintained a hybrid model (for example, with partial ERTE or with a part of their templates remotely and another in person).

In all cases, the pandemic has radically revealed the theory of the new era VUCA (English acronym for volatile, uncertain, changing and ambiguous). Because: What could be more uncertain and changing than a virus forces you to modify your entire business process, which in most cases has taken years to build, in just a few hours or days?

Many companies had invested heavily in designing business continuity plans for assumptions (a war or an earthquake, for example) that just a year ago seemed like a pipe dream to us. Others, most of them, have had to improvise and abruptly adapt to reality and changing regulations (often difficult to interpret). In all cases, it has been a majestic challenge for all business managers in this country and for workers and their representatives. And it is not over, we will still live pending intermittent outbreaks until we have an effective remedy. Anyway, it is a good time to reflect on what we have done and how we have done it. This can help us to recognize the architects of successes and to learn from mistakes to avoid making them again, next time.

In any case, focusing on the human side of the company, in general, we can count on the following four great lessons learned. Although many of us already knew them, it is worth remembering them.

  • The quality of a company is directly proportional to the quality of its human capital. A no-brainer that is demonstrated when when things get really ugly. If you have recruited and loyalty the best people, you will get the best results. And it is something tangible, which goes beyond what has been reflected in formal mission, vision and values ​​documents.
  • Collective success lies in the exercise of teamwork. The only way in which a company can face a radical change in a minimum time is by making everyone in it work together towards a common goal. It is something that is not improvised. As in sports, teamwork in a company requires hard training under the supervision of a leader with clear objectives.
  • The level of leadership depends on the level of empowerment you practice. Some companies, as they grow, tend to maximize their internal control mechanisms. Sometimes they may give the impression that they do not trust hard-working people. But to manage the adversity you need people who make decisions for themselves, without fear of being wrong. This can only happen through a management model that reduces hierarchical supervision through personal empowerment. The result is called confidence, and it is the main unsanitary factor of work motivation.
  • Internal governance must be inconspicuous but effective. Although teamwork and individual empowerment have been a source of success on most occasions, all that energy does not converge in the common interest but is accompanied by a plan and a method. In this sense, hierarchy is essential. But the most efficient hierarchy is the invisible hierarchy, those that mark destiny but allow the road to be built among all.

Surely each of us will be able to add a few more lessons, and we will all accept. But the most important thing about learning a lesson is having the opportunity to put that learned knowledge into practice. If not, time causes it to drop and forget.