Insights & expertise

Life after lockdown: Leadership

Ethical leadership and corporate responsibility

When everyday life seems precarious and unpredictable, people cling to the certainties in life and work delivers structure, purpose and vital incomes. Individual employees dealing with uncertainty about their jobs, mental health difficulties exacerbated or prompted by the pandemic, anxieties about how existing conditions could make them particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 and the challenges of juggling home schooling with working remotely need tailored support. Your business will be adapting to novel demands on its operations, communications and HR management.

Imperial is at the forefront of academic research into the impact of ethical leadership and how it can help your company be more agile and productive. Over the coming months, we’ll be sharing insights from our academics about:

 

The Economic Context – ongoing uncertainty for individuals and businesses

The ONS published a report on the impact of COVID-19 on the UK economy in July 2020. According to official statistics, the number of workers on UK payrolls fell by 649, 000 between March and June this year and since the start of the pandemic, total hours worked per week (in the UK) has fallen by a record 175.3 million, or 16.7%, to 877.1 million hours. At the time the findings came out, 2.6 million people were claiming work-related benefits, which includes the registered unemployed and those whose earnings were deemed insufficient to meet basic living costs by the DWP.

In the same month, a British Chambers of Commerce survey revealed that 29% of the 7,400 companies asked thought it likely they would cut jobs in the next three months as the furlough scheme closes at the end of October. The government’s ‘Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ is now closed to new applications, but 9.4 million UK workers have been furloughed since the pandemic started [the scheme runs in three-week cycles, so some will have returned to work with the recent relaxations in social distancing] – and, from 1 August, employers will have to contribute towards furloughed employees’ salaries. From 1 July, employers have been permitted to bring staff back part-time and are responsible for paying them for any hours worked, whilst the government continues to subsidise the pay for the time they are not working through the furlough scheme.

On 8 July, Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s statement to parliament included further steps to address the financial crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic which included incentives for employers to hire young people on apprenticeships and to retain employees currently on furlough until January 2021. Some commentators argue that support should be targeted towards certain sectors of the economy – and that some individuals have not been able to access government support to help compensate them for the strain the pandemic has put on their personal finances and businesses.

Imperial’s academics can help you decide how best to support your employees and ensure that your company is optimising its social and sustainability policies:

Are Ethical Leaders Good for Business?

There is sometimes a perception that compassionate leadership inevitably poses a cost to a business. In fact, our academics’ research has shown it can make companies more resilient and competitive. 

Solidarity vs. selfishness

What can the pandemic teach us about human behaviour and business? Analysing the different approaches to dealing with the challenges of COVID-19 offer interesting learning opportunities for business leaders.

The art of the pivot

Pivoting occurs when a company makes a fundamental change to its business after determining its product isn’t meeting the needs of its intended market. Many businesses have had to adapt their business models quickly in order to survive.  

Data science for social good

2020’s technologies including data science, big data, Artificial Intelligence, augmented and virtual reality have an immense capacity for optimising social benefits, but the full potential of these innovations may not have been fully realised yet.

Sustainable development and social responsibility

Promoting sustainable business growth is essential for the long-term health of our society and economy. Imperial’s research specialises in identifying innovative strategic, technological and psychosocial techniques which have the potential to improve your organisation’s operations, public profile and robustness.

Is your CEO right for the job?

A survey of over 1,000 CEOs has revealed how the most successful business people spend their day, but traditional metrics of high performance, may not necessarily identify the most holistically effective leaders.

Find out how Imperial can help you with your specific needs be they immediate or a longer term goal.

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