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Some Managers Still Silent On COVID-19

To give you an idea of just how little some companies have communicated with their staff, one contacts told me today that she's received a communication from her dog groomer about COVID-19 - but not her employer who's a significant fund manager. 

As per our latest response briefing, where we share market feedback and management responses from the BlueChip network, here's what we've learned:

1. MARKET FEEDBACK 

Clients are moving ahead of, or in line with, government guidelines. Those of you with real estate assets such as shopping centres, office buildings (CBD and office parks) and co-working spaces (for now) are saying these will be kept open, with increased cleaning, public communication on site and hand sanitation at entry points. Some of these are essential services so must, at least for now, remain operational to serve the community.

Fund managers are seeing an increase in queries regarding investment strategies and (depending on asset class) are monitoring containment efforts, high frequency data, and markets closely. Clients in venture capital are in direct contact with their portfolio of companies to review the impact and potential impact on budgets, hiring plans, resource allocations, and to give Business Continuity Plan (BCP) advice. More on all that in previous detailed briefings, available via [email protected] 

Member associations have either moved online or postponed their planned gatherings, conferences and events as far out as September. One, notably, has executed a swift and seemingly effective and well-timed pivot to virtual learning just as CEOs turn their minds to how to best use enforced downtime for some keep home-bound executives.

2. MANAGEMENT RESPONSES

 A lot of proactive effective COVID-19 responses but also some concerning themes:

  • - Some managers have no response in place, including my contact with the well manicured pooch but tight lipped employer.
  • - Leaders are just starting to think about the medium term financial and operational implications of COVID-19.
  • - Office shutdown/WFH: A & B teams without crossover and a long gap in office use seems to be the emerging best practice for those of you still onsite.
  • - Emergence of “presenteeism”: we’re hearing of cases where you have people still coming in, but some are not comfortable doing so. Productivity, morale and possibly your reputation as an employer may be affected.
  • - Some have set up COVID-19 dedicated workspaces and microsites for easy access to information.

 3. CEO GUIDANCE

Plan for the long term for more sustainable operational responses: keep moving the time horizon out as you plan. Resourcing and workforce planning is very difficult right now, so it's important that someone has the time and headspace to think this through. If not, your people will fatigue, responses will dull and mistakes will be made or you’ll simply underestimate what’s needed to run this issue.

Collaborate: reach out to competitors, brief your commercial partners, and add more people to these briefing calls so all our responses improve

Daily communication: become a daily source of official company information for your employees

4. WHO TO FOLLOW

This is an excerpt from today's client COVID-19 CEO response briefing. If you’ve received this from someone else, you can join the daily call (7.40am AEDT) and receive these notes directly by emailing us.

Related: Why Waiting to Communicate About Coronavirus to Investors Is a Mistake