Organizational Design and Structure-A boon to the Pandemic?
“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”
― Albert Einstein
As the world around us changes, we also need to adapt ourselves to the changing environment.
When the Pandemic broke out, it came as an unpleasant awakening. With it came many challenges, the toughest one being- ”How fast can we change and adapt?” The pandemic tested the fundamentals and made brands rethink- “Is my brand really sustainable?”
One of the most important elements of organizational strategies is Organization Design and Structure. It can aptly be referred to as the backbone of an organization.
It can help the organizations in:
- Gaining competitive advantage and in developing entry barriers
- Providing protection against emergency situation like the pandemic
- Helping brands strategize from a diverse perspective
- In being Innovative and updated with the latest trends
Having said that, let us now revisit the phase when the Lockdown 1.0 was enforced all throughout the country. Some of us were perplexed, some relaxed while some panicked. But there were some who could use their analytical mindset to foresee the upcoming challenges and prepare for the eventualities that would eventually come their way.
A similar situation happened with the organizations as well. Some of the sectors as a whole performed really well. Here are a few pointers which was prevalent in during the pandemic:
Many employees faced salary cuts for the organizations to be able to manage their operational costs, whereas other organizations increased the employee’s salaries to motivate them in their hard times. Some organizations made 3rd party tie ups to support the medical expenses of their employees while others sent goodies to their employees to motivate them during their work from home period
2. Employee Layoffs:
As per a study by the Economic Times, around 4.1 million youths lost their jobs during the pandemic out of which the majority were the construction and farm sector workers. Some of the organizations had to let go off their employees due to the unprecedented conditions while some started their hiring phase with the thought of getting the best talent pool
3. Closing down of subsidiaries:
Many of the organizations had to close down their subsidiaries in the areas severely affected by the pandemic. The turbulent conditions impacted the supply chain and made businesses come to a standstill. The travel industry was badly impacted while some of the airline companies went bankrupt
4. Reopening of new product lines:
It was seen that the organizations tried to switch to new product lines which could benefit and bring in additional revenue. E.g: Many organizations manufactured new products like disinfectant cleaners, hand sanitizers, masks, etc.
While some organizations closed down, a few established ventures in totally new sectors to fight for survival and hit the restart. The Pandemic showed new areas of improvement where sufficient progress for improvement could be entertained with the right strategy.
Some of the organizational structure changes that helped organizations during the pandemic and could help in adapting to the
“New Normal” are:
As the workforce shifted online, the focus was on delivering the task on time and with least involvement of others. The usual day where we could rush to our colleague’s desk when we were not able to solve a particular issue was not available now. The deadlines remained the same but we had to multitask to get the things done on time. Now the Jack of all trades will survive the challenging situations and this will be the demand of the New World.
With the outbreak many organizations faced Financial Issues and Liquidity problems as they didn’t plan their reserves for such an eventuality. While Investments can be lucrative, sufficient attention should also be given to the emergency funds needed by an organization to avoid going bankrupt. It can be related to our individual situation of investing in the capital markets and experiencing significant loss in the value of our investment portfolios
The Full Time jobs now transformed into flexible working hours- which gave even more importance to Gig Workers and the Freelancers. The payment policies shifted from month-end salaries to hourly-based pay systems. It saved the long travelling hours to the offices and client meetings shifted to Zoom calls. Multitasking, which seemed impossible for many individuals, had now become a necessity.
Many organizations which resisted the digital shift, had to adopt it to ensure survival. This shift challenged the business’s implementation abilities. The revenue streams which would be generated during the happenings in a conference room, now had to be fructified over virtual conference calls.
Organizations are concerned about their digital presence across the web and the social media platforms as they became the new platforms for visibility and growth.
The decision making which earlier required verifications at several levels of management and categories, now had to be quick.
Now the decision making also had to involve a lot more stakeholders and parameters due to the uncertain times. While earlier decision making was aided by historical data, now decisions have to be taken by a probability driven approach due to the uncertain times and the redundancy of previous data in many cases. Decision making has always been essential, but has seen its criticality raised by a notch or two due to all the uncertainties involved .
The pandemic probably showed us some of the worst times of our lives but also brought in many impending changes ahead of time. Organizations which survived the pandemic are now more vigilant, flexible and far sighted.
Even though it might not be the best analogy, it’s worth saying that-
“Every Cloud has a silver Lining”.