Never let a good crisis go to waste. First uttered by Winston Churchill, this sentiment was invoked by Zulfa Ashida Zulkifli, Chief People Officer of UEM Sunrise in our recent webinar on reestablishing priorities as we move through this pandemic into recovery.

Churchill’s words have travelled through the decades to speak to us profoundly today. Indeed, businesses have learnt lessons during the pandemic that have the potential to change the way we work and do business into the future.

But perhaps the key aspect of Churchill’s maxim is the warning against waste: if organisations don’t take the lessons of the pandemic and act on them, they risk crippling their recovery. And in today’s market conditions, inaction could be fatal.

As the health and economic impacts of the pandemic continue to reverberate, we’re not yet at the stage of looking too far into the future; timeframes are still defined by days, rather than years. Now is the time to think about reestablishing priorities for the next 100 days to build momentum for the years to come. 

As the economic impact of the pandemic continues to reverberate, we are not yet at the stage of looking too far into the future; timeframes are still defined by days. Click To Tweet

Doing things differently

The pandemic has turned much of what we thought we knew upside down. But one thing we can rely on is that our way of doing business has been changed for good.

In a recent Korn Ferry survey, we asked APAC companies what they plan to do differently after the crisis:

Click image to enlarge

This tells us that across APAC the vast majority of organisations expect significant changes to workforce management practices going forward. Prioritising changes for the short term will be crucial to recovery but must be carefully calibrated to the circumstances faced by individual countries as well as industry sectors.

Three priorities for the next 100 days

Now is the time to think about re-establishing priorities for the next 100 days to build momentum for the years to come. Click To Tweet

Shorter time horizons that focus on survival as a path to revival mean that leaders must adopt a different mindset: what does your business have to do to survive the next months? The answer to this question must be informed by what we have learned so far; these lessons are the foundation for what comes next.

We see three key areas for businesses to focus on in the next 100 days:

  • Prioritise initiatives that yield immediate and tangible impact

Business leaders need to exercise discipline in identifying a limited number of goals to be pursued via shorter, adaptive planning cycles. The key to successful execution is creating space for the most agile talent to act on these initiatives. Focus on changemakers with the mental agility to generate and then select ideas for action, the ability to build new relationships and who thrive on experimenting in ambiguous conditions.

  • Re-align performance targets and KPIs

Performance targets and measures need to be recalibrated to the organisation’s new goals and timeframes – this is the primary catalyst for refocusing your people on the things that matter most. And as workplaces remain remote, managers will need to spend more time and energy than ever before on more frequent and substantive performance coaching conversations with their teams.

  • Optimise reward spend

Refining and clarifying your reward strategy will be critical to ensuring your reward spend is generating the maximum buy-in and investment from your people. Collective reflection on the organisation’s purpose combined with a deeper understanding of the needs and preference profiles of employee groups should guide the development of a differentiated reward offering that will engage people via the rewards they value most.

Learn more about optimising your reward spend post-COVID, join our experts in the webinar: Reward Optimisation for a changing world.


In case you missed: Re-Establish Priorities, webinar with guests Zulfa Ashida Zulkifli, Chief People Officer, UEM Sunrise and Anjali Menon, Head of Talent Center of Competence APAC, Nestlé.

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About The Contributors

Siva helps clients revitalize existing businesses and align leaders on critical agenda. He has deep expertise in assessing, developing, and coaching CEOs, executives, top teams and high potential leaders, to bring out their best today and prepare themselves for future aspirations.



Prashant has extensive multi industry experience in managing large scale HR / Business advisory projects; and complex national and regional people linked business transformation initiatives.

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