In terms of risk and vulnerability lessons, 2020 was filled with them. Businesses suddenly had to make so many changes, that it exposed a variety of issues.
The good news is once issues were exposed, businesses had the chance to learn from them. Most importantly, businesses can now grow and thrive as a result.
1. Take Illnesses Seriously
One highly unethical practice many businesses are guilty of is forcing employees to work even when they’re sick. Unless you have an immediate excuse from a doctor, which isn’t always easy to get especially due to high insurance costs, you could be written up or even fired. Yet, you may still get punished if you get sick while working.
The COVID-19 pandemic taught businesses that when an employee shows any signs of illness, it should be taken seriously. As one of the top risk and vulnerability lessons, businesses who didn’t take it seriously or tried to cover it up found themselves shut down due to company-wide outbreaks.
As long as employees aren’t obviously abusing the system, it’s better and safer to let an employee work from home or provide them with sick leave.
2. Safety Is A Priority
When shut downs began to happen, businesses were faced with shutting down too, setting up a remote work system or creating a safer environment for employees at the business. The problem was most businesses had no plans in place for any of those scenarios. This pointed out a major risk and vulnerability – employees always need a safe way to work and businesses weren’t always providing this.
Employees should always feel safe at work. By prepared in advance to adjust your business processes to provide the most ethically safe work environment possible. Investing in safety creates happier and healthier employees.
3. Ethics Hotlines Are A Must
As strange as it might seem, one of the more important risk and vulnerability lessons businesses learned in 2020 was they need an ethics hotline. During the coronavirus pandemic, people haven’t always been on their best behavior. People hoarded supplies, businesses created dangerous products (such as using dangerous hand sanitizer ingredients) and employees weren’t always given ways to stay safe.
For businesses that ignored ethics, it hurt their reputation and caused them to lose good employees. If ethical hotlines and processes were in place, employees could have reported issues immediately. From not providing protective equipment to taking shortcuts to get products out faster, employees could anonymously report this and make the business better. This actually boosts the business’s reputation, increases product quality and makes customers happier too.
4. Lock Down Systems Remotely
It wasn’t unusual for employees to get frustrated with shorter hours, longer hours and remote working problems. However, businesses weren’t prepared to suddenly have so many employees working remotely. As a result, the pandemic exposed just how vulnerable systems were to internal attacks and abuse from employees.
It’s important to monitor system and file access to ensure no one’s abusing the system. Otherwise, this can open up your business to fraud and general theft. Since unethical employees were accessing sensitive information from home, they felt safer committing the act. Businesses have learned it’s vital to lock down systems and encourage employees to report any suspicious access or file changes.
Overall, it’s been a year of surprising lessons, but it’s also a great opportunity for growth as long as businesses learn from those lessons.