Expert Speak With Mona Cheriyan, President & Group Head Human Resources, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd

About Mona Cheriyan

Mona has over 30 years of experience in Human Resource Management and Training, a truly global perspective of human resources. Over the years she has developed a deep understanding of talent development especially at the executive leadership level. Her role involves defining corporate strategy, developing and influencing culture within the group companies, ensuring group policy alignment and meeting the business challenges of her organization.

How To Manage Business In Covid Times

Our business environment is filled with unexpected challenges on a daily basis. VUCA (volatility,uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) is the new normal, and the potential impact of serious crises such as market shocks, governmental instability and pandemics is imminent. Few of us are in a position to change the environment in which we operate; we can only control how we prepare for it and respond to it.

Management teams need to focus on creating a resilient organization that can successfully overcome crisis after crisis and learn to handle adverse experiences. For leaders who hope to accelerate performance and capitalize on change, dealing with the “new normal” is absolutely crucial. Resilience is the ability to rebound from adverse experiences and is characterized by the capacity to cope, recover and learn from them.

For leaders displaying behaviors and attitudes that support a mindset that is open to information, a sense of humour and a positive attitude. The current environment demands that there is a quick recovery from crisis at work and an ability to absorb lessons from the adversity that they can use to grow and improve future performance.

Leaders with a positive outlook expect and get positive outcomes more often than those without it. In many situations, positivity also enhances problem-solving and decision-making and helps people think more flexibly, innovatively and creatively. Coping with, recovering and learning from mistakes is all critical to being resilient. Swift, strategic decisions that address the enormity of the challenges facing the organization require trusted partnerships and solutions that are tailored to the needs in the current situation.

The current pandemic is fundamentally shifting how we live and work. This pandemic could be an opportunity for organizations to re-think assumptions on their products, services and business model as well as cross-training and creating new products to be better prepared for the new normal. During a crisis, organizations may look at downsizing to minimize costs and optimize its profits. They may also be required to introduce a new layer of management and sometimes departments are enlarged.

Disruptions like pandemics, technology, and financial turmoil cause employees to experience insecurity, lack of trust, stability, and lower productivity levels in a remote set-up. Unless we look closely at the factors causing disengagement and deal with them head-on, the virtual set-up could impact the most important resource of any business, our people.

Leaders of virtual teams should take deliberate actions to build in activities and practices that are vital to team success. Work from home brings its share of challenges like managing competing priorities, meeting deadlines, delivering quality work and also ensuring people and teams do not suffer burnout and disengagement. Managing virtual teams is fundamentally different from regular work teams. It needs planning and coordination. Virtual work is designed to help one navigate this work shift from office to home while maintaining productivity, trust, and communication. The aim of the virtual team leader is to enable the success of the team in finishing its task and assignments. The symbol of a strong and well-managed team is efficient authentic communication – a two-way communication.