Across the country, small businesses are getting the opportunity to reopen amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. After months of practical quarantine conditions, some businesses are operating again for the first time, and others are trying to get closer to some kind of normalcy.
It’s a challenging time for entrepreneurs, not only because revenue is limited, but also because managing health and safety guidelines can be confusing—and because your staff members may not be ready to come back full swing.
Fortunately, your role as leader grants you the power to shape your business during this transformative time. Here are leadership tips for bringing teams back together during COVID-19.
We spoke with Marie Rosecrans, SVP, SMB Marketing at Salesforce, an #OpenWeStand partner, on how business owners can lead through COVID-19:
Priorities for leaders for small business reopening
If you want your reopening to be successful as a leader, your main priorities should be:
- Adherence to laws and regulations. First, you need to ensure your business is adhering to all local laws and regulations for small business reopening.
- Health and safety of your team (and customers). Take additional measures to protect the health and safety of your team and customers.
- Team confidence. After layoffs, furloughs, and general uncertainty, your team may be concerned or pessimistic. It’s your job to restore their confidence.
- Economic success. You’ll also want to operate efficiently to generate a profit—or at least, manage the best you can during this time of limited economic activity.
Leadership tips for bringing teams back together during a pandemic
These business lessons and strategies can help you better support your team as a leader:
Document and explain your new policies
Eliminate ambiguity by clearly documenting and communicating your new business policies. Will customers and/or employees be required to wear masks? What social distancing and hygiene measures are you taking? Are you managing customer volume? Outline these policies and meet with your employees to make sure they all understand them.
Once you’ve established your new policies, take efforts to consistently enforce them. For example, if you say employees are required to wear masks, but you aren’t wearing one yourself, it may make your employees take those requirements less seriously. You can change your policies in the future, but if you do, make it official in the documentation and update your employees on the changes when you make them.
Be as transparent as possible with your employees. Be proactive in explaining your reasoning and your expectations, and if your employees have questions, answer them honestly—even if the answers aren’t what they want to hear. This is the best way to build confidence and trust in your team.
We’re still dealing with a lot of uncertainty, and our knowledge of COVID-19 changes every day. If you want to succeed as a leader and as a business, you’ll need to remain adaptable, and be willing to accommodate new information as it becomes available with new policies, habits, and business changes.
Managing a small business during a pandemic is both stressful and challenging, but with the right resources in hand, it becomes much easier. Check out these resources on OpenWeStand.org for more business lessons and strategies you can use to get through these tough times.