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Recovery Playbook

your talent challenges have changed

2020 has forced every business to rethink Talent. Talencity’s Talent Recovery Playbook is a resource guide to you in pivoting, shifting or re-inventing your talent strategy.

Each week for 12-weeks, a new resource will be launched.

Talent-Centric Risk Mitigation

The 2nd wave of COVID-19 may already be upon us, has your organization done what it can to mitigate the risk for your talent?

Risk mitigation has become more important than ever to create a safe and secure work environment while increasing the stability of business operations. The worldwide pandemic caused by COVID-19 and the ever-looming threat of a second wave comes with valuable lessons in risk mitigation for leaders and their teams in any industry. Leaders need to take a holistic approach to risk mitigation and includes the well-being of employees which goes beyond their health and safety at the workplace. The most effective risk mitigation begins with an empathetic and sustainable approach.

Successful risk mitigation also involves effective listening and communication, as well as an education plan for all employees. Listening to the needs of your team and maintaining clear and consistent communication helps you make the best decisions. Leaders must remember to provide ongoing training to their team on effective risk mitigation because it should be everyone’s responsibility.

Listen and Communicate

As Mercer noted back in March 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, “companies will need to balance tough economic decisions with empathy and this balance will win in an evolving and unpredictable world”1. This lesson can be incorporated into other areas of risk mitigation, not just responses associated with the pandemic.

When faced with any type of risk or challenge, it’s important to accentuate the importance of communication, especially with listening to your employees. As a leader, you cannot lead with empathy until you understand what your employees are going through and what concerns or fears they may have.

When focused on preparing organizations for the second wave of COVID-19, Kristina Vassilieva from OHS Canada Magazine suggested employers need to consider the mental health of their workers throughout the pandemic 2. Taking this statement into consideration, does your company allow for employee input or feedback with respect to your health and safety policies? Do you have an anonymous feedback system in place to allow concerned employees to voice their thoughts and issues?

Regular communication and active listening will be one of your top priorities as a leadership team in time of crisis or major changes. Be honest, open and direct with your communication. Listen to your talent with both your brain and your heart and acknowledge their emotions and concerns. Remember, active listening is to put aside your own point of view or emotions, acknowledge them without your own bias, listen closely and ask questions to clarify and gain a full understanding of your talent.

Effective listening and full acceptance of their circumstances will help build resilience, strong mental health and engagement of your team. Having a healthy and stable team is critical in mitigating risk for your business.


In times of uncertainty, risk mitigation is the responsibility of everyone in your organization. An effective education plan must be implemented so that all employees are familiar with the basics of risk mitigation and the most up-to-date workplace safety policies. Basic knowledge of how to recognize potential risks, how to respond to them, and the proper process of how to communicate these risks must be part of your education plan. Risks cannot be effectively mitigated if your employees are not equipped with the proper knowledge they need to stay safe and healthy.

For example, providing education and tools for the best practices for communicating with each other, health and safety in the workplace, be it remote or in the office. Depending on your industry, your team’s personal protective equipment (PPE) requirement may vary, but everyone should know why, when and how to use any and all PPE required.

Be prepared and learn from COVID-19 risk mitigation. The pandemic taught leaders and their teams that they should be educated and trained on all elements of your workplace to plan and prepare for anything. Having a robust risk mitigation plan while considering various potential risks or events before they occur can help your organization save money and protect the continuity of your business and in turn the future of your team and talent.

Hope McManus, head of health and safety at OH&S Consultancy Peninsula Canada in Toronto suggested that employers can learn from what they experienced from the beginnings of the pandemic, and draw from that experience when determining how to respond to not just future pandemics, but other health and safety concerns. McManus also noted, “This should state how risks have been assessed and mitigated, how new work procedures will be implemented, what will be done if an employee contracts the virus and the workplace’s plan for contact tracing, among other information” 2

Sustainability of your Workplace

The sustainability of talent during any difficult time is of the utmost importance. Leaders need to ensure their risk mitigation strategies are sustainable.

Ensure your risk mitigation is holistic. Risk mitigation extends beyond health and safety in the workplace. Every conversation about mitigating risks should include the mental well-being of your employees.

We’ve previously discussed key success factors of highly effective remote teams and the inevitable future of at least a hybrid-remote workforce. Even a partially remote team can be an effective way to mitigate risks. However, the most effective risk mitigation should include a sustainable way to deal with any risk your employees may face when working remotely.

For example, what is the contingency plan if their Internet connection fails? While remote teams can be highly effective, how do you help a team member who’s not feeling productive? How can you help employees dealing with burnout?

Burnout is a workplace risk that can be mitigated. The effects of burnout include:

  • De-personalization: feeling detached from work and co-workers; may include cynical and negative attitudes towards colleagues and clients.
  • Exhaustion: emotional, mental, and physical tiredness. Can result in lack of focus and chronic fatigue.
  • Low-efficacy: decreased productivity and low morale.

The detachment associated with de-personalization can be mitigated by fostering teamwork among remote and hybrid teams. Encourage brainstorming and collaboration on projects among team members. Leaders should be prepared to provide consistent guidance and feedback.

Exhaustion can happen to anyone, especially during difficult times. Exhaustion is usually a combined result of isolation and dismantled daily routines. Arm your talent with the important soft skills such as empathy and resilience to sustain their well-being.

Low-efficacy can be mitigated through time-shifting and results-based management to improve employee morale and engagement. Leaders need to build a team that feels trusted and empowered to do their best work.

A simple yet effective way of safeguarding sustainability of your talent is having weekly one-on-one’s with your immediate team members. As cited in this Microsoft Team study, make it a priority to touch base with each of your team member for 30 minutes each week. This can help them stay aligned, prioritize and protect their time.

Final Thought

Risk mitigation goes far beyond addressing and mitigating health and safety risks. In face of uncertainty and constant changes, focusing on Communication, Active Listening, Education and Sustainability will be key to the overall well-being, productivity and engagement of your talent.

From an employers’ perspective, hiring during tough times can become very complicated. If you are in this situation, contact us, we can help you explore your options, some of which has been covered in our Talent Recovery Playbook over the past 12 weeks, including gig workers. If you are an employee looking for work or contemplating a switch, contact one of our Talent Directors to discuss the opportunities and the job market out there. We want to help. This is what we do, we help connect great companies with talent through relationships.