Alberta is in an unprecedented economic time. The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the energy and other sectors is already rippling out, and individual businesses are facing a perfect storm of money-sucking problems.

Over the next couple of months, we’re re-doing our “Deadly Waste” articles—but we’re taking it up a few notches to help you adapt to this storm. The cost-saving ideas in these articles may be uncomfortable, but growing pains can hurt even when we know it’s for the best. We hope this helps.

For many Alberta businesses, survival is in the hands of the team. We need to adapt fast, possibly changing policy or possibly changing business models entirely. Here are some thoughts about how you can make the most of your teams’ talent as you face the new opportunities and complications that COVID19 is creating:


Really Learn About Your Staff  

Chances are that the people on your team are surprising you right now. A few are stepping up to the challenge and tackling it head-on, and others are shrinking away and checking out. 

Crisis brings out characteristics that we would never see otherwise. We all deal with stress in different ways, and at times like this, certain people—perhaps whom you didn’t expect—will rise to the challenge to help you adapt and survive.

Watch for these people. Don’t expect the same employees to show up for work now the same way they showed up 2 months ago (or since you hired them). Stay open-minded and try to look at everyone with a blank slate. When you see someone rising to meet the crisis, react.

On the same note, you may see some hot-shots suddenly become a lot less helpful. That’s the flip side of the equation. It may not be intentional: our inner nature comes out during a crisis.


Who Will Help You Adapt

Sticking with the status quo won’t work for you right now. Your business needs to adapt fast. Watch for the team members who feel the urgency of the times and who are stepping up to challenges. Embrace their efforts. It’s not the time to overthink staffing decisions. It’s time to find those who will help our business survive and deputize them. 


Watch for Burnout 

Survival is hard right now. You’re adapting fast, firing out policy changes and changes in procedures like a Tommy gun, and there’s a lot of adrenaline fueling your management team right now. 

If burnout hits your staff, your ability to adapt grinds to a halt. You need them at their fighting best, so take care of them.



Let’s be blunt: it’s an employers’ market and will be for some time. Finding and training new people is expensive, but a staff member who’s anchoring the team to lost ground potentially carries a higher price tag. 

Now more than ever, it’s important to get your head around what you need for your people. Be clear and transparent about what your expectations are for your team. If your employees’ job descriptions need to change, tell them. If you need them to do things differently, let them know. With the right team in place, you’ll be better positioned to adapt and change with whatever comes next.