The office hasn’t been the same since the COVID-19 pandemic struck the world with a vengeance in early winter. For many people, the office hasn’t even been in use since February or March. The term “work” has taken on a brand new meaning as people adjust to new formats, and HR leaders all over the world are rethinking workforce and employee planning strategies day by day.
The fact is the COVID-19 virus will have a lasting impact on the economy for an uncertain amount of time. Because of this, HR leaders must evaluate their organization’s operations and strategic goals to identify which require immediate action and determine what needs to change.
As the pandemic continues and life as we once knew it shifts to a new standard, business leaders and HR professionals are quickly recognizing the large-scale changes that are happening and strategizing how to respond effectively to ensure that their organizations stand out from competitors.
Business and HR experts have identified several work trends that will take effect in a post-pandemic society. Some represent amplifications of existing shifts, and in some cases, COVID-19 has forced the pendulum of a long-recognized pattern to one extreme. Let’s look at the new, post-COVID working trends.
The Humanization of Employees
Some organizations have recognized the humanitarian crisis of the pandemic and have rightfully prioritized the well-being of employees as individuals over employees as workers. Many other organizations have pushed employees to work in high-risk conditions with very little support — treating them as workers instead of people.
Be mindful of how you treat employees during this time as the effects of this pandemic will be long-lasting. Engage with your team and ask what their experience has been like, and how it could potentially change. Your goal should be to create an inclusive environment with compassion for all employees.
An Increase in Working Remotely
By now, you’ve probably had more Zoom meetings than you ever thought possible. Many experts say that about 48% of employees will work remotely, at least part of the time, for the foreseeable future.
So, as businesses shift to a more remote-friendly working environment, you’ll be exploring the critical ways in which employees will need to collaborate digitally. You’ll also devise strategies to adapt to the new employee experience. For example, how will performance goals and employee evaluations shift to an at-home, remote context versus one set exclusively in the office?
The hiring process is going to be much different than ever before as HR professionals are now relying mostly on virtual interviews instead of meeting with candidates face-to-face. In fact, many organizations are working with professional recruitment agencies to ensure they’re hiring the best people to join their team.
Going forward, you’ll want expert hiring advice as these new challenges implement themselves into your HR strategies. To get help with your executive search find an experienced agency that focuses on finding smart candidates. They’ll help find the most qualified candidates for your organization while you adapt to new working procedures.
Identifying Critical Skills and Roles
Before the pandemic, critical roles were seen as roles with essential skills, or the capabilities an organization needed to meet its goals. Now, employers realize that there’s another category of critical roles — roles that are crucial to the success of essential workflows. Building the right post-pandemic workforce focuses less on roles and more on the skills that are required to drive the organization’s competitive advantage and create the necessary workflows to fuel success.
Knowing this, you should encourage employees to develop critical skills that could open up multiple opportunities for their professional development, rather than concentrating on a specific, upcoming role. Offer as much career development assistance as you can to support employees in critical positions who perhaps lack necessary critical skills.
Businesses are rapidly adapting to the changes posed by COVID-19, and while this is a time of deep uncertainty, by paying attention to these work trends and planning for the future, your organization will be prepared and ready for what’s ahead.