When the current stay-at-home orders cease to exist and social distancing begins to relax, reopening business likely will not be as simple as turning the lights on and welcoming employees and customers back into our work or public spaces. In addition to the obvious safety and security questions, business processes, workplace standards and talent practices may need to dramatically change. 

Key questions have to be asked, for example: will the open office concept still be appropriate? Should more people work remotely more often? Are people going to trust others in the workplace? How will you assess productivity with a more remote workforce? How will you identify potential when you do not see people as often as possible? These opportunities and more should be discussed sooner than later. Morgan Lewis highlights that employers should develop social distancing plans or refine and update currently existing plans. There is going to be a new talent contract and the key question will be…is your company and its leaders ready for this change? Are they agile enough to adapt?

Whether recovering from an economic downturn, reopening after a pandemic, or managing through any type of crisis, waiting too long to discuss the future and planning your talent needs will impact the sustainability of the business and retention of valuable contributors. The key question business leaders need to be asking is, do we plan for short-term recovery or for long-term, change resilient sustainability.

Organizations Must Act – Don’t Fall Behind

The workplace and the workforce are both changing. There is a new mix of employees, including Generation Z, rapidly rising millennials, Generation X taking over the C-Suite, career-swappers, gig-workers and people re-entering the workforce. Each is emotionally and intellectually ready for a new way of working and all have different needs or expectations. This new workforce operates under a new employment contract. They no longer want to just “come to work.” They want to be part of something – purpose-based work that is mutually beneficial with their company and that aligns with their personal values. 

Meanwhile, new technology is still actively changing the nature of how employees communicate and collaborate. How we manage work, when we work and where we work is also shifting. This shift was already advancing however the recent pandemic has opened our eyes to greater possibilities and alternative approaches in how we manage people. Just as operational processes and supply chains need to be re-evaluated, so do the people processes and the way we identify, select, develop, assess, reward, compensate and motivate talent. Is how organizations measure the productivity of people resources valid any longer?

The way companies have operated in the past will not drive sustained growth in the future. You will not be able to attract a diverse pipeline of talent if you do not change. This new talent paradigm requires changes to human strategies that need to be addressed immediately.

  • How do you re-shape the organizational structure of your organization? 
  • How will you adapt your workplace to accommodate more people wanting to work remotely? 
  • How do you communicate a need to adapt more remote workers in an environment that may not be open to it?
  • How will you redefine productivity and performance success measures? 
  • How can you shift to an agile approach to identify, select, develop, and reward employees? 
  • What is the new talent proposition that will help you become or remain the employer of choice in the communities that you serve? 
  • How will you keep your succession management process relevant to the changing dynamics of the workplace?
  • What expanded security and safety protocols need to be put in place for onsite and remote staff?
  • How will you address the skill, capabilities, and effectiveness of leaders based on the changes that are leveraging non-traditional training and development practices? 

These are only a few of the human strategies every organization must start to address. In our second part of our Post-Crisis Workplace Renewal series, we will highlight a Talent Renewal Blueprint that can assist you in starting this ever-so-important work.