The COVID-19 crisis causes considerable risk for businesses and outlines the need for strong leadership. To help the companies overcome both economic and health challenges, company boards and business owners play a critical oversight role. Here is how companies in Singapore can evolve beyond the pandemic.
Adopt a Stakeholder-Centric Approach
The best way to refine insights and drive the much-needed recovery activities, business owners should adopt a stakeholder-centric view across their business, clients, people, and broader society.
From a Business Continuity Perspective
The boards must find timely updates linked with the emerging risks and product threats of the company, as well as its potential effects and vulnerabilities. They need to have confidence that the financial events planning and stress-testing taken are sufficient to assess the levels of credit, liquidity and capital requirements over a wide range of possibilities.
The management should also continuously monitor the internal controls’ efficiency over financial disclosures and reporting. Since various business models have been modified to address the COVID-19 crisis within a short time, the management should find ways and explore how these changes can give the company new opportunities and operational efficiencies in the long run.
They also need to assess how the customers are evolving because of the pandemic and how the company should respond to these changes. At the same time, it would be best to ensure the company’s cybersecurity, data privacy, and IT resiliency are secured and handled well to prevent any breaches, which may compromise the client’s trust.
From The People’s Perspective
The boards have to make sure that the management has sufficiently communicated staff health and safety as the main priority and allocated enough resources to ensure the people are well taken care of. Besides, they have to ensure their workforce management department provides prompt and appropriate response should the personnel’s safety and health be compromised.
Moreover, business owners should properly understand the steps required to lower risk factors linked with IT needs and the adaptation of changing workspace, as well as assess the company’s plans for handling redundancy levels, the extent of supply chain resiliency, and the efficiency of third-party services agencies.
Besides, business owners should devise a plan or training program to transform and upskill their workforce going forward. Most importantly, their crisis-related decisions have to reflect the company’s values, purpose and culture.
From The Perspective Of Business Effect On a Broader Society
The boards need to figure out how their business can support economic and social welfare initiatives going forward, which includes short-term expenses with long-term delivery value via enhanced social outcomes and improved corporate reputation and trust.
For instance, Sing Lun Group and Apricot Capital collaborated with others to launch the Help Our Promising Enterprises fund in Singapore, which will extend short-term loans to companies which are severely affected by the pandemic.
Challenge Conventional Ideas
The pandemic offers unique opportunities to reevaluate entrenched methods of thinking. What worked well before the outbreak may no longer be applicable in the current time and beyond. For instance, IT resiliency problems have taken on greater importance. Remote working arrangements will become a defining feature for the post-COVID-19 world’s workforce. Also, new strategies are needed for workforce planning and skills management.
While handling the crisis, business owners have to take on a transformative mindset and pay more attention to their current business model. They should try to implement incremental enhancements for products, clients segments, and market strategy. They may need to refocus their aim and envisage their business’ scenarios for years to come. Here are some questions they may need to answer:
● Will the business stay relevant beyond COVID-19?
● How will they stand in the current and future business ecosystem?
● Do they have to retreat, reboot, or reshape their business?
For some companies, this action would mean having bold investments during this risky and unpredictable time. On the other hand, in a recovering industry, the landscape of mergers and acquisitions usually give high-quality acquisition at much lower estimates.
Determining distressed assets which are aligned with the company business strategy can help create capabilities which accommodate future growth demand. Remember, what will happen in the future depends on today’s choices. Thus, the boards must lead their company with confidence and clarity to steer the company forward.
The current COVID-19 crisis poses a significant risk to businesses in Singapore. Having strong leadership, adoption of a stakeholder-centric approach, challenging traditional thinking, and a responsive strategy would help the company to navigate through the crisis and leverage unique business opportunities during this time of uncertainty.