Coronavirus - A crisis not to be wasted?
In light of the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis, it will be interesting to see how the managements of large publicly-traded companies will behave. Specifically, how will they treat the workforce, which is frequently described as their most important asset?
The epidemic, and inter-related global conditions, will almost assuredly continue to cause financial impact on many companies, as it will on individuals. It will also continue to impact individuals on a personal level, as family members and friends succumb to the virus.
In full disclosure, I own shares in large publicly-traded companies. I have seen, and will likely continue to see, the value of my investments decline. So be it.
A business writer once wrote that profit is like air; a company needs it to survive. But, that is not the purpose behind the existence of a company. It is doubtful that COVID-19 is an existential threat to most of these companies. It will cause financial pain for a time, but it will eventually work out. Will management of these companies seize the crisis as an excuse to reduce the workforce, some of whom will be victims of COVID-19, in order to personally gain in the short term? Or will they persevere and endure some financial pain for a time as they hold the course?
As a shareholder, I have no desire to benefit financially from the suffering of others. The appropriate action would be for these companies to hold the course, and let management carry some of the financial burden. That is leadership.
If management says that employees are the most important resource, as the saying goes; let them put their money where their mouth is.