Consulting is amongst the first line items to get cut in downturn (with few exceptions). This is part one of a four part series focused on providing management consulting firms with a playbook to navigate the disruptive changes and new realities caused by COVID-19.
Uncertain new realities
The uncertainty and impact of COVID-19 has left executives questioning their business survival and risk exposure on every level. It surfaced an immediate need to establish contingency and recovery plans for remaining resilient and persevering through this crisis. With projects delayed or cut, for management consulting firms now, more than ever, it is critical to provide reassurance, leadership, and be a source of strategic and immediate value to clients.
What your clients are facing
Most companies are in complete crisis response mode — dealing with layoffs, legal implications, financial restructuring, and shifting operations to a virtual environment. The type and degree of impact COVID-19 is having on organizations varies significantly depending on industry, size, location, and technological maturity.
After getting a handle on existential questions, clients running COVID-19 business diagnostics with Entromy are seeing a startling range of emotions from employees. However transparency, honesty, and genuine outreach are most critical for expectations from senior leaders. From one of our outreach partners, the top trending comment among their employees is: “Keep communication frequent. Be transparent about the state of everything.” Employees are asking for daily outreaches, even if as simple as “no update for today.”
Frequent employee outreach is critical and greatly appreciated at this point in time:
- High response rates (70–80%) from employees after outreach: employees are eager to connect with their leadership teams, provide feedback, and remain engaged given unexpected shifts to unstructured and remote work environments.
- Desire to connect: (with positive response rates, averaging over 90%) as many employees are suddenly navigating at-home work setups and unexpected transitions, especially those caused by school closures or other family needs.
- Policies and procedures are an area with lower overall scores, particularly around comments that mention benefits, expectations for remote work, and how to plan if an employee does fall sick or needs to support a close contact or family member.
- “Small” touches are generating positive responses from the broader workforce: Daily “huddles” for teams to remain connected and strategies to help facilitate their transition to mostly or fully remote work.
These same insights can be directly translated to your relationships with clients.
Provide Meaningful Value
Many of your clients will be at different stages of crisis response mode, so it is imperative that your early outreach efforts focus on trying to understand where they are at as an organization. It is likely that your general improvement and long term transformational projects will be delayed or cancelled, but this doesn’t mean your ability to deliver value is delayed or cancelled. Proactivity is essential right now — address your existing client’s most immediate needs to return them to a state of stability before proposing longer term strategic changes.
Clients right now are looking for range of support from crisis management, scenario and strategic planning, cash and financial planning, succeeding in digital and remote workplaces, establishing organizational resiliency.
Even over the last few days we have seen increasing levels of expectations for knock-on effects that will come as your clients absorb the shocks and respond.
Establish regular communication channels with your core client base before and prospects that are deep within your funnel before pursuing leads — shift your resources towards the most impactful work. Showing genuine empathy, flexibility and providing reassurance in early communications greatly increases the likelihood of continuing current engagements.
Before you can begin to support your clients, it is imperative that you adapt your remote work and delivery process. Many consulting companies that we have spoken to are starting to ponder how to deliver same level of impact if they cannot walk the halls with clients. Luckily, value delivery in management consulting can be done remotely with an effective process and the right tools. But the right approach to “soft” client management to establish trust in organizations and identify and leverage key influencers is essential.
Entromy Organizational Intelligence
Entromy provides a solution for management consultants to rapidly complete organizational assessments, understand organizational network dynamics through automated collaborative surveys supporting nuanced company-wide discovery — with actionable insights. Our platform is a convenient, stand-alone tool, automatically delivering reporting in Powerpoint format for effortless incorporation into existing reporting processes, providing a welcome addition to operational and support toolkits.
Entromy is here to help you understand the critical needs of your client’s organizations so you can deliver rich insights and reasoned strategies quickly. If you would like to learn more please visit Entromy.com or connect with a member of our team at firstname.lastname@example.org