we are open for business in COVID

Recession and global disruption were not at the top of any HR Management list heading into 2020, yet here we are – with HRDs and teams stepping up to the enormous evolving challenge. It goes to show just how agile, resourceful and innovative people can be given the chance.  

we are open for business in COVID

There’s no dressing up the very real challenges business face but the opportunities to tap into are also as plain as day. 

I recently sat in on a Gartner webinar discussing business impacts from Coronavirus, cost optimisation, and the top priorities for Human Resources. As you can imagine, the financial, fiscal and economic outlook was sobering but the suggested response to it was filled with opportunity and achievable. 

Out of the Nine Trends for HR Leaders That Will Impact the Future of Work After the Coronavirus Pandemic, there are three opportunities I see returning the greatest success that is all based around the employee experience.

  1. Separation of Critical Skills and Critical Roles 
  2. Increase in Remote work and Contingent Worker Expansion
  3. Shift from designing for efficiency to designing for resilience

1) Separation of Critical Skills and Critical Roles 

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“Separating critical skills from critical roles shifts the focus to coaching employees to develop skills that potentially open multiple avenues for them, rather than focusing on preparing for a specific next role,” said Emily Rose McRae, director in the Gartner HR practice. 

Why do I see this returning the great success? Successfully developing outside the normal scope makes way for creativity, innovation and growth mindsets. Developing such a culture where you are exploring people’s potential to benefit everyone in the organisation, just like working on values and team alignment. 

2) Increase in remote work and Contingent Worker Expansion

This is, of course, is something many employers are already looking at as a more permanent business model – not only for the obvious cost-saving measures but because it does work! 

Why do I see this returning the great success? Here is how your organisation can expand on a budget, how you can invite highly skilled professionals into your team without investment in desk space. It broadens the talent scope to include people you may not have considered before such as those in rural areas, people who need shorter or flexible hours, or workers with a disability. 

We now all know how efficient we can be as individuals using technology to work and meet. With the right application, organisations can also work more effectively as networks and in teams.

The key to success here will be in creating a culture of inclusion (which Gartner listed Humanization (Or Dehumanization) Of Workers) and having strong team alignment measures in place. 

Importantly, as this McKinsey article points out, we must not: ‘overlook the risks faced by self-employed professionals, informal workers, and small businesses. These groups are often not receiving sufficient support. But their role in the economy is vital, and they may be noticed only later when it is too late’. 

Creating a culture of inclusivity for company alignment however, doesn’t only mean great team meetings, it means looking after your people with Social Safety Nets, another identified work trend by Gartner.

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3) Shift from designing for efficiency to designing for resilience 

This point is possibly the most exciting and like an HR manager in a pandemic will move the company forward faster. 

For too long we have been almost blind-sighted by a focus on efficiency that some of us worked ourselves efficiently into a corner. But as we’ve seen in the past few months, it’s the ones who adapted and adopted early, learned on the run and moved with the times that have kept their heads above water. 

The most important thing to know here is:

Your people are your greatest asset. Develop them and you will have the innovative, agile workforce needed for sustainable success.

And the key is in adopting a growth mindset to be open to:

  • Providing more varied, adaptive and flexible careers for employees. (source: Gartner)
  • Smarter ways of delivering work (gig economy, contingent workforce, remote workplaces).
  • Exploring and adopting technology for greater team alignment (meetings, coaching, professional development).
  • Discovering and developing the leadership hiding in your teams.
  • Listening and drawing out the needs and ideas of your employees.
  • Developing your greatest asset – your people. 

Final word

2020 has made us rethink everything. We’ve been forced to reflect, evaluate and get innovative to survive and we’ve had to connect with what really matters. This not such a bad thing.

Please reach out to me if you or your people need coaching to adapt, grow and align to the new normal of work. We have great success with our flexible, 1:1 virtual coaching platform.

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