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People are key to the recovery!
Protect, reassure, equip and communicate with them

It is no understatement that recent weeks have been trying, destabilizing and unpredictable. This situation will demotivate some and stimulate others, but everyone virtually has to adapt both personally and professionally every day at warp speed. The announcement of a gradual resumption of activities certainly comes as good news, but adaptation and resilience will be part of the equation for some time yet. A challenge confronts those businesses that have been given the green light to gradually resume their operations and those that will be soon joining the parade. How do we protect, reassure, equip and communicate with consumers, employees, partners, etc., during this process? It’s an important question, and the answer lies with all of society, as everyone has some role to play.

As far as protection is concerned, basic distancing rules and health measures, hand washing, disinfection, personal protection will continue to be weapons in this fight. This will be the same for everyone, but how do we broaden their scope of application to ensure they are successful?

For starters, these basic rules should be part of a process that is to be enforced. If they are to be adopted, they must be described and communicated to all. Since this represents a major change in behaviour that is completely different from what was done previously, we must keep in mind that we will have to repeat ourselves over and over again. Some will be on the leading edge and demand that measures be implemented, while others will tend to either defy them or, at the very least, forget about them. So how will you as a business owner manage the situation?

You will have to equip your employees to deal with the new reality facing your business. For example, you may have to hold regular meetings for some time to remind employees of the new methods of operation. In addition, a clear procedure dealing with non-compliance with instructions by one of the partners in the business, customers, employees, suppliers, etc., could prove very reassuring to many and put your employees on more solid footing in dealing with delicate situations.

Meanwhile, your customers must feel they are safe in your business. Be prepared. Show that your protection plan has been thought out and is effective. Rethink the customer experience in your establishment by focusing on that which is pleasant and user-friendly, while addressing safety considerations. Shopping at your business must continue to be a positive experience.

Communication with your employees, customers or suppliers will still be essential to reassure everyone and to share responsibility for compliance with measures. You must take the time to explain to your employees, customers and your suppliers your new methods of operation to make sure everyone has a good understanding of their role. If required, explain your motivations and your thinking behind choosing one method over another. Leave room for dialogue by asking questions. Do your employees have other ideas? Do your customers feel safe? Are there any apprehensions or fears you can address? Remain open to any adjustments you may have to make. There is no one set recipe, so develop your own to show that your care about the well-being of those around you.

These people find themselves in the same situation as you – life will resume little by little. Will it return to what it was before? Hard to say, but it will surely be different for quite some time going forward. A period of reflection is a must as it will afford you an opportunity to review the things you do, and even if life does end up being different from back in pre-pandemic days, it is important that you come up with a solution where pleasure and joie de vivre will once again be constants in a reassuring environment that will be as safe as possible.

We remind you that, if necessary, you can contact one of our two advisers, Julie Bénard at (819) 449-1551 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Nathalie Patry at (819) 449-1551 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. They will be pleased to advise you and help you through the process.

The situation is changing from day to day. Watch for regular information from the Gatineau Valley SADC!!!


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