Insights




Here at ZRG Partners, we have been tracking the many ways organizations are responding to the coronavirus crisis. We’re seeing everything from the widespread embrace of remote work to innovative rotations on the shop floor to commitments by firms to continue paying idled employees. To help managers respond to today’s challenges, we have created this page to share information that is simply good to know about not only what companies are doing today but what companies that succeeded during previous downturns have done in the past.


In addition to our own insights, we would also like to share related pieces from other resources that we have found "Good to Know":

  


 

NOTABLE COMPANY RESPONSES TO THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

The coronavirus pandemic is pressuring businesses of all sizes. Here we note some of the positive actions that are being taken to help employees and communities mitigate the challenges we are all facing. We will continue to update this page with the latest announcements and examples.


 

EMPOWERMENT AND LEADERSHIP IN CHALLENGING TIMES

ZRG’s Frederick Lamster advises on how to lead with authenticity, logic, and empathy in the current coronavirus crisis.


 

A PRESENT AND POST-PANDEMIC VIEW ON THE TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY, WITH SOME INSIGHTS ON "WHAT’S NEXT" IN A CAREER FOR C-SUITE INDIVIDUALS

As the next ZRG guest on Ken Lubin’s The Ultimate Hire Podcast, Dona Roche-Tarry offers an industry perspective on operating during the pandemic, sheds light on some of the potential positive outcomes of the current crisis, and opens up about career coaching and her book, “What’s Next.” 


 

COVID-19 EFFECTS ON THE CONSUMER INDUSTRY AND POST PANDEMIC EXPECTATIONS

Daryl Brewster, CEO of CECP (Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose), sits with ZRG’s Tom Fuller and provides insights on what CEOs are facing during the pandemic and what he expects to see with initial rebound efforts and potential long-term ramifications.


 

A NONPROFIT’S JOURNEY THROUGH THE COVID-19 CRISIS AND BEYOND: AN OPPORTUNITY FOR SELF-EVALUATION AND INNOVATION

How Leadership in a Sector Long Considering Transformation Can Take Hold and Guide.


 


AN OPEN CONVERSATION AROUND ATTITUDE, WELL-BEING, AND LEADERSHIP IN WORKING THROUGH A CRISIS

On the latest edition of The Ultimate Hire podcast, Ken Lubin sits with fellow ZRG Managing Director, Summer Anderson, discuss navigating through stressful times with clear vision and calming focus.



HOW TO ONBOARD NEW LEADERS IN A CRISIS

In our webinar, How to Onboard Leaders in a Crisis, John Lawler, CEO of PrimeGenesis, explains the impact a crisis has on the onboarding process and the adjustments an organization should be making in response.


 

THE EUROPEAN MARKET IN RESPONSE TO THE PANDEMIC

As a guest on Ken Lubin’s The Ultimate Hire Podcast, our Peter Gremillion provides a vantage point on the European market and how it is adapting and showing some positive signs in response to COVID-19.



CRYPTO, COVID-19, MACRO UNCERTAINTY, AND WHERE WE'RE HEADED

ZRG Managing Directors Ken Lubin and Michael Castine sit with Ari Paul, CIO of BLockTower Capital and Matthew Goetz, Managing Partner and CEO of BlockTower Capital.


 

INSIGHTS ON THE RETAIL MARKET PRE/POST COVID-19

Our Fred Lamster shares his points of view on the retail market before, during, and after the pandemic as a guest on Ken Lubin’s The Ultimate Hire Podcast.


 




WE WILL NETWORK AGAIN

Time to get in networking shape.


 



CRISIS DOES NOT BUILD CHARACTER

Tom Fuller, Managing Director and Global Consumer Sector Leader, shares insights on how to lead in times of crisis.



THE COVID-19 IMPACT ON THE FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY

With his fair share of experience working through a recession, our Global Financial Services Practice Group Leader, Rahul Kapur, shares insights on the impact COVID-19 is having currently on the market and what it will look like during the rebound.


 

LEADERSHIP DURING A CRISIS

A Conversation with Dr. David B. Nash, Founding Dean Emeritus of the Jefferson College of Population Health





Will COVID-19 Change Recruitment Forever?

We are still in early days of the COVID-19 crisis, and social distancing is likely to be the norm for at least the near term. Many of my clients are still open to some degree, but disrupted supply chains are causing ripples up and down the manufacturing process


 

Keeping Connected: Inspiration from ZRG's Brazil Virtual Happy 

Maintaining team cohesiveness during this period of widespread social distancing is a challenge facing organizations world-wide. ZRG’s Brazil team recently gave their video-conferencing software a workout, hosting a virtual happy hour that provided a "positive and super cool" opportunity to share personal experiences and simply have a good time together.



From the blog of ZRG's Ken Lubin

ZRG's Ken Lubin has been offering up some quick read advice and inspiring words through his personal blog, the Ultimate Hire. We've shared a few relatable posts in this section.


 

Top Reads:

Navigating a Downturn

The spread of COVID-19 and the uncertainty it has bred globally threaten to usher the world economy into a pronounced downturn. While this challenge is undoubtedly unique, we can learn from the way businesses responded to the recessions of 1980, 1990-1991, and 2000 as well as the Great Recession of 2008-2009. Below, we highlight some of the best commentary from the past decade regarding how to navigate a downturn and gain speed quickly when conditions become more favorable.
 

How to Survive A Recession and Thrive Afterward

May/June 2019

Key Points: An analysis of the recessions of 1980, 1990, and 2000 shows that 9% of US-based public companies managed to emerge better positioned than ever, outcompeting their direct competitors by >10% in terms of sales and profits growth in the three-year period following the recession. Four factors unified this group: they reduced leverage before the downturn; focused on (local) decision-making; looked beyond layoffs to operational efficiencies; and invested in technology to improve analytics and reduce costs.




 

Roaring Out of Recession 

March 2010

Key Points: Workforce reduction as a primary cost-cutting strategy dramatically decreases the odds of a firm achieving exceptional performance vis-à-vis peers following the downturn. While “progressive” companies that will become the next period’s winners do lay off employees, they tend to do so far less often (23% of the time compared with 56% of the time for companies focused on minimizing downside risks) while parting with “far fewer people” when they do so.





Stronger for Longer: How Top Performers Thrive Through Downturns

December 2019

Key Points: Resilient firms focus on operational and financial flexibility in tandem. Leaders at these companies realize that “cash is king” and shore up the balance sheet through divestitures and other steps to position for acceleration out of the downturn. Management also needs to focus on aligning the top team on objectives, sharpening digital programs, and engaging in “through-cycle interventions” that can improve revenue performance and wring out operational costs. Throughout all of this, flexibility is the watchword.



 



Beyond the Downturn: Recession Strategies to Take the Lead

May 2019

Key Points: The losers of the downturn in 2008-2009 share several strategic missteps. They engaged in extreme cost-cutting, which included reducing R&D investments, pulling back on sales and marketing, and failing to retain top talent. Further, the laggards typically shied away from M&A, but when they did so, they reached outside their core businesses into hot sectors. The winners, in contrast, pursued early cost restructuring, focused on improving the strength of their balance sheets, and aggressively pursued growth. They then used these three efforts to support “proactive” M&A strategies to help them achieve or extend industry leadership positions during the recovery.