According to Yerkin Tatishev, founder of Kusto Group, companies must prioritize the well-being of their employees during the COVID-19 pandemic to emerge as winners.
Tatishev views a healthy company culture as well as employee satisfaction and freedom as the cornerstone of building a fruitful firm.
“Our top management does not control the work of other employees but determines the vector of the development. We completely trust the specialists that we have hired. We employ people who know how to take responsibility and deal with consequences,” Yerkin Tatishev says.
“They constantly generate new tasks and, in a good way, change the company. All employees know that they can come and offer improvement in any process – even in the setting of tasks and budgeting. We will listen and most likely agree to try and implement this change,” he elaborates.
Companies will benefit from employee freedom
Good leadership and having the right leader also plays a significant role, according to Tatishev.
He remembers when his company bought the leading Israeli manufacturer of paints and drywall, Tambour, during a time when the company was facing serious financial troubles.
“But we saw potential in it, we just decided that the right leader was missing, so a person was sent to improve the performance. In just 24 months, we saved it from dozens of debts and tripled its profits,” says Tatishev.
He acknowledges that Kusto’s gamble on Tambour could have failed, but he considered the risk and accepted the challenge.
“It seems to me that now the ability to accept challenges is especially important. Kusto Group is constantly developing and testing hypotheses. This allows us to find non-standard solutions,” Tatishev adds.
He believes that in the new reality brought by COVID-19, companies cannot remain static. Increasing the amount of freedom for employees will result in more adaptive planning and diverse hypotheses.
In that way, the company has a higher chance of surviving.
“The task of top management is literally every day and every hour to track changes and try to figure out how to use them for the good of the business,” he stresses.
Yerkin Tatishev: “Companies’ true faces come out during crises”
While Yerkin Tatishev thinks that employee satisfaction is always essential for the success of a company, he especially thinks it is important during a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Those companies which have taken decisions that put their employees, rather than the bottom line first, are in the strongest position to recover now that multiple vaccines are starting to come,” Tatishev says.
For Kusto Group’s leadership, the way the company treats its employees during times of adversity is the true measure of its culture and potential for long-term growth.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a moment for employees around the world to review and consider what they want and value in their work lives.
“This will be of critical importance in the competition for talent and lasting competitive advantage,” he says.
Having your employees’ backs
Yerkin Tatishev stresses that reacting to a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic can reveal the best and worst aspects of a company.
“Companies with brittle cultures will see their skilled workers move elsewhere, and they will see lasting damage to their reputations,” he explains.
Kusto Group strives to always support its employees.
“And we believe that the best way to have a high-impact workforce is to give all our team members a sense of community,” Yerkin Tatishev adds.
That sense of community and support has been vital through the COVID-19 pandemic, he says.
“By not taking shortcuts that result in temporary job losses and maintaining constant communication,” says Tatishev, “our team members around the world know that Kusto Group has made them the priority.”
One of the methods that Tatishev uses to make his employees feel valued is to foster a sense of entrepreneurship among the workers.
“This boosts our creative output, helps prevent stale and unimaginative thinking, and provides employees with a sense of ownership over their areas of work,” he explains.
“This has been essential to the establishment of a culture where employees feel a sense of belonging to not just a company that pays them a wage,” he continues, “but develops their skills and values their input, especially in times of hardship and turmoil.”
Despite this, he understands that some companies want to save money, increase efficiency and scale back investments during and after times of crises, but he emphasizes that transparency is key to employee satisfaction.
“Sharing insights into the nature of the challenges and therein treating your employees as stakeholders in the company, with their own concerns and anxieties, is what sets apart the good from the bad,” Yerkin Tatishev says.
He is sure that companies that have failed to focus on the well-being of their employees during the world health crisis will not emerge as winners after the pandemic has passed.