Companies today are being forced to reorganize at an unprecedented pace in response to the continuously evolving COVID-19 crisis. To help executives, a recent HBR article offers several tips for doing this effectively:

1. Move quickly, but always have a plan

As the HBR piece puts it, “If a crisis-driven reorganization takes longer than 6 months, it is significantly more likely to fail. After all, the longer it takes, the more likely it is that the business context will have changed (especially in a rapidly developing crisis situation), making the new model irrelevant.” At the same time, however, companies can’t rush blindly into change. The circumstances may not allow for a fully baked plan, but organizations must have a framework for implementing a reorganization if they hope to be successful.

2. Analyze your human capital resources

Undertaking an internal benchmarking analysis to identify how your workforce could be better deployed and optimized is also critical. According to HBR, this practice “…enables companies to move fast, understand what is driving differences, roll out best practices to other areas, and more effectively challenge naysayers with detailed evidence.”

3. Set differentiated targets

Don’t rush to slash costs across the board. Rather, investigate each organizational unit and determine whether some should be cut so that others can receive a focused investment to help make the reorganization as smooth as possible.

4. Involve the entire leadership team

Many crisis-driven reorganizations are spearheaded by the CEO or a small team of executives. Born of a desire to move quickly this tendency is understandable, but involving the full leadership team is a much better approach.

5. Be flexible

The HBR piece states, “In 50% of cases, crisis-driven reorgs fail to deliver as planned because leaders resist a centrally mandated solution. Companies that allow leaders some flexibility in deciding how the changes are implemented—ideally based on a solid business rationale—are far more likely to succeed.”

6. Communicate as quickly—and humanely—as possible

In a fast moving situation, employees want to receive news quickly so electronic communication is important in crisis-driven reorganizations. But it’s still essential to recognize the human element involved in the change and acknowledge the negative impact of layoffs or other decisions on your remaining workforce.

7. Create a positive feedback loop

Implementing formal mechanisms for feedback can help companies evaluate how the reorganization is perceived by employees and take steps to address any issues or course correct before significant problems arise.

Check out the HBR piece here for more on how to successfully reorganize even in today’s incredibly challenging environment.

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