In this time of social distancing, it is essential to have high efficiency with a remote workforce. Central to the success of a remote workforce is that employees are self-reliant. Employee enablement has been a term that has been extensively sited in much business literature. If you have to enable employees by definition it means they are not enabled and thus, may not be as self-reliant. The following are some ideas that stem from my personal experience in running an organization that has a substantial amount of its’ function performed with remote operations.
In the cybersecurity business most of the adversaries, we are entrusted by our customers to protect against, operate remotely. As evidenced by the many articles in the press, these adversaries, do it with an efficiency leading to devasting legal, financial, and reputational losses. This is asymmetric electronic warfare and it is mind-boggling to people how very large organizations with numbers of experts in IT Cybersecurity get hacked. Unfortunately, the answer would take a book and is left better for another day.
However, one central theme we can take from the hacker’s guide is to have a solid tangible outcome in mind. Hackers, for the most part, want money and secondarily to operate with impunity. This outcome drives all aspects of their behavior and makes them efficient in the exploitations of vulnerabilities. Translated to all of us, all the employees must know and understand the tangible outcomes expected of them, in the short term. In military speak, it is known as the commander’s intent. All members of the team know the intent and can fulfill the mission, even if some members of the team are incapacitated.
Re-organize and re-distribute job functions and responsibilities so that they form a layered redundancy for critical functions. In our firm, Dark Rhino Security, one of the key items is ensuring that all clients are made aware of any potential cybersecurity-related incident. Normally, we would have several analysts in our securities operations center (SOC) monitoring a plethora of screens. The Coronavirus epidemic has forced us to reduce the numbers of the people in the physical SOC and enable secure remote access and verification protocols.
These protocols ensure that remote employees can connect securely in a verifiable manner into the SOC and support the customer environments and supplant personnel that may become incapacitated. We are further training up our existing team members to become cross-functional and more generalized from specialized to ensure all critical functions maintain continuity. In your own companies look at establishing multi-layered cross-functional redundancy for critical operations.
Over-communicate, with social isolation, in-office communications are greatly reduced or stopped altogether. It is essential to hold small daily team meetings. This promotes a strong sense of team. A strong sense of team is essential to understanding and fulfilling the commander’s intent. Also, over-communicate with your clients. Make sure they know you are continuing to accomplish for them as you work remotely. This may seem obvious, but it is often “the obvious” that gets overlooked. Leverage the technologies of virtual groups to create channels in which your customers and employees can communicate on general needs and topics in near real-time.
If you do the above you will likely discover gaps in your customer and employee engagement processes. Gaps that may not otherwise have been noticed or addressed. Closing these gaps will make for better customer and employee experience. It will increase the efficiency of delivery and thus revenue. It provides a lasting competitive advantage long after the Coronavirus has faded into memory.