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The Leadership Imperative in Managing the Employee Experience of COVID-19

The rapidly unfolding COVID-19 crisis has already had significant emotional, social and economic impact. Although we have seen some situations like this before, with varying levels of severity – from SARS, to the great recession, to 9/11 – the final outcome is unknown. At the time of writing, the number of COVID-19 cases in China seem to be plateauing, while cases around the globe continue to rise. We have seen significant market reactions as well – the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and FTSE 100 are all down over 20% as of mid-March 2020, from February highs.

The unfolding events are clearly having an impact on employees’ productivity and mindset. We know 'moments that matter' in the employee experience typically involve ups, downs and change. COVID-19 qualifies as a significant employee experience, and leaders have significant control over how this moment will be remembered. We also know that positive moments that matter are ones that inspire, elevate, connect and remove friction; leaders have an opportunity to intervene, with employee wellbeing at the front and center.

In this article, you will discover:

  • Why effective leadership has a crucial part to play in managing the employee experience in this crisis
  • What engaging leadership traits and behaviors are necessary during times of change
  • Practical advice on how leaders can navigate through COVID-19, as well as key things to consider
  • Examples of how we are supporting clients around the world

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About the Authors

Senior Partner Leadership Assessment & Development Global Practice Leader
Michael Martin
Partner HR & Talent Advisory Global Practice Leader
Japan Market Leader
UKI & France Practice Leader Culture & Engagement Practice
Senior Partner Culture & Engagement Global Practice Leader
China Market Leader

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