JobTiger: Top 5 + 1 most needed managers in the crisis and their profiles

Times of crisis are times, for better or worse, that bring changes to companies. Changes in markets, changes in customers, and changes in the way businesses operate. Often these changes bring the demand for changing people at the top of the company hierarchy. Usually, there are two reasons for that:

Inability to cope with the new conditions. Some managers work better “in attack” – when the company is developing. And others are better “in defense” – when conditions require contraction and retreat. Companies understand this (or realize it on the go) and take the appropriate actions.

Sometimes the inability also comes from fatigue and exhaustion, when the person himself needs change and is unable to cope with the challenges and tension caused by the crisis.

Financial reasons. In times of crisis, companies are forced to cut costs in every possible way, and one of them is to replace their most well-paid employees with “cheaper” ones. In good times, salaries and bonuses normally rise. When in crisis and when results are poor, these costs seem more and more unfounded and businesses proceed to personal changes or direct closure of positions. Naturally, this affects everyone from the bottom to the top line of the company, but the biggest financial effect comes, of course, from changes in high-paid employees, including top management.

This usually leads to turnover in the top management of companies in times of crisis. There is also an “exchange” – managers-attackers move to companies with a growing business, and “defenders” – to companies facing challenges. However, if a manager is not suitable for a situation, it does not make him a bad manager and, in other conditions, he would do his job brilliantly. This is something that companies understand well.

What will be the most needed management positions in the crisis this fall and winter?

Financial Manager

His main tasks include analysis of financial information related to the company, outlining trends, and inventing models for risk reduction and optimization of revenues and expenses. There is a popular joke which says that the main quality of a financial manager is to say “NO”. It seems that this is the main requirement for finances in times of crisis. He says: “HOW MUCH”.

Operations manager

My understanding of what is an operations manager’s talent is related to his ability to make decisions based on minimum information. In a crisis, his work on developing strategies both to optimize the company’s work processes and to detect new markets and reduce losses is essential. He is also one of the main communicators with the people in the company, together with the HR manager.

His task is to figure out HOW to do it and then ORGANIZE everything.

Sales Manager

In a crisis, the activity of the sales manager is essential for the success of the company. He monitors market changes, develops sales plans, sets and controls sales targets. Among its main tasks is to build long-term partnerships with customers.

Digital Marketing Manager

Many companies consciously did not develop digital marketing and communications, but the coronavirus crisis and lockdown changed the game so that now everyone is obliged to think about this aspect of work. The digital marketing manager designs and manages the implementation of marketing campaigns in social media and other online channels to attract potential customers and future employees. All this is based on a careful analysis of performance on one hand and trends on the other.

Although marketing costs are one of the first to be cut, digital marketing is usually unaffected. What’s more, its importance is now growing as an increasing number of advertising activities are going online.

HR manager

The HR manager is responsible for the connection between the employees and the top levels of the company. He is the other main communicator besides the COO. His responsibilities are to attract, but also to keep people in the company. He also takes care of the health and well-being of employees, the organization of all measures for protecting the health and lives of people in the context of the coronavirus crisis.

Unfortunately, he also has to release people when necessary. Not only the act itself but also the planning of all administrative, financial, and organizational aspects of this sad act. Not just HOW MUCH, but WHO, WHY, and HOW.

Usually, times of crisis are overloading for the HR manager, and the past months have proven it.

Crisis manager

I left this one for the end, because the appointment of a special crisis manager is rare in Bulgaria, and usually this function is performed by a COO, CFO, or even CEO. His tasks are related to crisis analysis, crisis management plan, and the making of a team, usually including Financial Manager, HR Manager, PR specialist, Digital marketing specialist, IT specialist, Lawyer. Thinking fast and the ability to work under pressure are key qualities.

Crisis managers are rarely popular, so it’s a good idea to hire people outside the company, as long as they can cope, to save the image of top management. “The difference between a crisis manager and a terrorist is that the terrorist has supporters.”

That’s true for all those who work on overcoming crisis situations in the company. Regardless of the reasons for the change of specific managers – related to performance or financial, choose new ones very carefully. They will have the responsibility to lead the company through difficult times.

The article is published for the first time in Bulgarian language in Manager magazine, Issue 7, 2020

Author: JobTiger