Around the world, many companies have faced substantial challenges related to the novel coronavirus. Increasingly, companies are facing shutdowns or changes in operations, including a shift to remote work, due to the challenges associated with the global pandemic.
Equally, however, many companies are stepping up to the challenge and using this time as a period of innovation and an opportunity to give back to their communities. Take a look at these cases of corporate innovation across Asia during the COVID-19 pandemic and what your company can take away from those efforts.
In China, well-known hotel company Huazhu started with daily crisis task force meetings that allowed upper-level management to provide advice and insights that can help each individual franchise make effective decisions about how to progress. The company also uses an app to help build communication opportunities and ensure that each member of the team has access to the information needed to effectively accomplish daily job responsibilities.
As the situation continues to change, the company prioritizes ongoing communication within the business as a whole.
Key Takeaway: Your business can benefit strongly from improved communication throughout this period. Your employees need to know what's expected of them, including the latest information related to their work responsibilities or your company's standards. As your company improves its communication methods, you may find new, innovative ways of sharing information across your company and helping everyone come together.
Hema is owned by Alibaba, a company that specializes in e-commerce. This supermarket chain took an innovative approach to hiring as it responded to the pandemic. As online orders spiked due to the need for average citizens to remain at home as much as possible, Hema acquired trusted employees from area restaurants that had already shut down or decreased operations to meet the demand.
This simple approach made it easier both for Hema to get the employees it needed in order to continue operations throughout the crisis and for those employees to continue drawing in income throughout the crisis.
Key Takeaway: Look at how you can redistribute your employees during this time of crisis. While some needs may go down dramatically as a result of decreased shopping or business shutdowns, there may be other services that your business desperately needs. Not only should you take into consideration the need to continue to provide those services to your customers by using trusted employees, you should consider the importance of employee loyalty once the current crisis comes to an end.
The most vulnerable members of society, including those who are economically disadvantaged, face some of the greatest dangers to illness, especially in the midst of a pandemic like COVID-19. Infosys, which is a global leader in information technology and outsourcing services, is paying direct attention to those high needs.
Not only has Infosys Foundation offered substantial funding to help with ventilators, testing kits, and other measures designed to aid patients in the light of the current pandemic, but the company has also created a quarantine facility that provides monitoring from doctors and nurses as well as offering the medications the patients need, free of charge.
Infosys Foundation is also helping distribute 21-day food packets to vulnerable members of the population.
Key Takeaway: During this period, consider not only how you can help your company, but how you can help others--especially vulnerable members of the population. Your customers will remember those efforts long after the end of the pandemic.
Tata Group, an Indian international conglomerate based in Mumbai, has made its distance learning platform available for free to educational organizations. This software makes it easier for students to interact directly with their teachers and share information and data across platforms. In some cases, the platform can even help simulate the effects of being live in the classroom, which can offer substantial advantages to many students.
In addition to providing free educational software to children suddenly learning from home in light of the current pandemic, Tata Group has offered substantial funds to help fight the virus and keep tracking patients, which may ultimately lead to better protection for vulnerable members of the population.
Key Takeaway: You may have technology or products already on hand that can substantially improve daily life for people impacted by the coronavirus, including children and their families. Take a look at your existing technology and solutions and consider how you can repurpose it to add value in unique ways.
Now is the time to be more innovative than ever in the way you choose to use the technology and tools available to your business--and many of those applications will reach well beyond the current crisis to offer benefit to your business even after the crisis ends.
In the wake of the coronavirus crisis, Lin Qingxuan, a well-known cosmetics company with branches throughout Asia, had to close 40% of its brick and mortar stores. Instead of taking this as a blow, the company, which had multiple Wuhan-based locations that needed to close to help control the pandemic in Wuhan, deployed its in-person sales representatives as online influencers.
Not only did this allow the company to continue operations and maintain profits--and set it up for incredible gains as business started to shift back to normal--it allowed these individuals to continue to work in the midst of the pandemic.
Key Takeaway: Many of your employees may still be able to complete their job responsibilities, albeit in a new and innovative way. Pay attention to the tools you have available and look for ways to allow your employees to keep up with their work, even if it happens in a new way.
Across Asia, many companies are responding positively to the epidemic. Not only are they focusing on giving back to the community, these companies are making every effort to protect their team members and offer what their customers, their employees, and their businesses need most during this difficult period. How is your company responding to the coronavirus? Are you looking for opportunities for innovation? Through these strategies and many others like them, your business can thrive and even excel in the midst of this worldwide crisis.