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Article of the Hochrhein-Zeitung (Newspaper) about the study of the worldwide management consultant network INAC on the way managers deal with the corona virus.

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The challenges companies face to master the corona crisis are immense. We are currently in a transitional period (awakening from the shock) and sorting out the damage it caused. Step by step we are approaching the normal state of social and economic life again, but with the continuing threat of a second wave of infection we might have to accept restrictions again.

How top managers around the world are dealing with this situation and how they assess the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic has been studied worldwide by INAC, a management consultancy network based in more than 40 countries.

To this end, INAC partners interviewed top executives (75% of whom were CEOs) in April about their impressions, measures taken and assessments of the future. A special focus was placed on the impact of the pandemic on the workforce and on the relevant management measures that are necessary to steer the ailing economy out of this crisis.

The primary objective of the study is to provide reference points to help managers navigate their company through the crisis.

Significantly more than 500 top international executives took part in the study.

The most important results can be summarized as follows:

28% of those surveyed stated that they had to lay off employees in order for the company to survive. 60 % of all planned new hires are either cancelled or postponed. At the same time, almost 80 % of the companies see employee protection as a priority corporate task, even before cost-cutting measures, which 45 % still consider “very important”. In addition, almost 50% of the respondents rate the impact of COVID-19 on their financial liquidity as “very critical”, the same applies with regard to suffered sales losses.

The vast majority of respondents expect the business to normalize within 6 months after the end of the crisis. The virus, 70 % said, will however continue to cause massive losses for at least another four months. More than half of the respondents therefore plan send the majority of employees into home offices and reduce office space. Nearly as many see it as a chance to further expand their online business. “The dramatic, globally changing digital transformation will take place much faster and more abruptly than expected. Processes that we thought would take years will now only take weeks or months,” said a U.S. executive.

“Strategic foresight and a high degree of resilience among managers are the key competencies for successful crisis management and the long-term success of a company,” emphasizes a manager from France.

Lothar Grünewald, head of the management consultancy Grünewald-Consulting, which is based in the Bergische Land and Düsseldorf, interprets the study as follows: “The strategies for increasing employee loyalty, especially with regard to top performers and talent, will have to be implemented even more thoroughly and rapidly as the pandemic recedes. Not only does it depend on how quickly the crisis mode can be left behind, but it is precisely this that ensures companies’ long-term competitiveness”. Grünewald concludes: “The pandemic is an accelerator for change projects that were already necessary.”

INAC is a network of independent, owner-managed executive search firms whose members have been professionally supporting the global and regional recruitment needs of their clients for more than 25 years through global reach and unique local expertise.

As the German partner of INAC, Grünewald Consulting is part of this worldwide network of over 40 companies.

All INAC members share the common goal of developing long-term, strategic client partnerships and ensuring maximum client satisfaction. In regular European and worldwide meetings best practices are exchanged, innovative projects are developed and implemented, and cooperation and trust are strengthened.

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