Only a few weeks ago, managing loads and customer engagement were at the top of your mind, but now, you may be looking at having essential employees living in their workspace to maintain the grid, employees falling ill or operational challenges. It’s time for focused leadership during this crisis.
It’s a challenging time to be in a leadership position, but we are here for a reason. For HomeServe, leadership means having employees work from home and ensuring our network contractors protect themselves and customers by wearing personal protective equipment. For you, we’ve gathered some best practices from our partners and others to share.
We are in uncharted waters and you must make decisions without as much data as you would like. However, you can’t put off decisions, hoping you’ll have better information later. The time to act is now, and you’ll have to make the best choice possible, given the information available.
It’s time to gather your team, empower them to make decisions and decide on your priorities. It’s tempting to attempt to continue business as usual, but you need to focus on those areas that will bring your business – and the essential services you provide – through this crisis, even if it means you’ll have to deal with pain points later or delay an impactful initiative.
This crisis is unfolding fast and is nothing you or your team has seen before, so mistakes will be made. Be ready to change course when you realize you’ve made a misstep and give your team room to innovate without worry. Don’t let the fear of unintended consequences leave your team frozen with indecision.
Communication will be key, and candor lends credibility. You can be honest without being pessimistic. A simple, reassuring message about how your utility will come through this crisis will show your employees that you’re on top of the challenges the company’s facing and providing clear leadership during this crisis. Personal connections are more difficult when everyone’s working remotely, so consider making a short video message for the company or holding short, but regular, teleconferences.
Communicate with energy consumers with frequency and transparency. This may mean admitting that the business is dealing with limitations, but better to prepare consumers instead of letting them find out on their own. However, this also may mean celebrating the unsung heroes working to keep the lights on.
Listen to the people on the ground. They will see the most immediate impacts on your business. They have their finger on the pulse of the business in a way that can’t be achieved from the C-suite. They can tell you how energy consumers and employees are reacting to changes in the business. Employees will be dealing with additional stressers, so acknowledge and plan for it.
Look at what you can do for your members. Several states have already ordered cessation on disconnections during the COVID-19 crisis, while several energy providers are volunteering to work with customers to avoid disconnections. Some states are providing loans or other relief for utilities ordered to keep the lights on to help defray operating losses.
This will be a long, difficult fight, but we aren’t about to give up. Working together, we will come through this crisis.