by Eric Magbaleta
Companies are slowly re-opening and as we begin to ease back into some level of normalcy, we must keep in mind it is not business as usual. People are acting like the pandemic has come and gone, but it really hasn’t gone away. A second surge will occur, and this is not an if, but when. When it does occur, it will likely look different. Business continuity, emergency operations plans, and policies should have already been updated by now, but is HR really prepared to support the business if a relapse or another new work disruption were to materialize?
Most may see this as a restructuring but think of it more around organization agility. An organization should have responded to the changes in the working environment quickly and responded in a positive manner; redefining not just essential but mission-critical roles. Now that organizations have had time to assess their new working norms, readjust staffing models to not only current but future realities with the required critical skill sets at the forefront. Refrain from the top-down method, but rather from the bottom-up and design deliberately. This will allow for input from those close to the work and eventually gain buy-in when looking to strategize for long-term impacts.
Company culture is a vital part of an organization as it contributes to business results. Businesses must be persistent to re-instill its core values as it enhances the employee experience which in-turn affects the customer experience. If employees are engaged, they are more productive. Refresh the recognition program and emphasize the importance of mental health and wellness. Appoint culture champions to help make a personal connection with employees as they may feel burned-out by the first wave and dreading the arrival of the next disruption. Be consistent and timelier with communications. It is very easy for a culture to decline but very difficult to build back up.
Roles and responsibilities continue to evolve, and leadership positions are no exception. We learned that business can be conducted virtually instead of always being in-person. Leaders should possess all-around people skills who are comfortable with a VUCA environment. Perform a gap analysis to set your baseline. Invest in various learning methodologies to upskill current levels at an accelerated pace. If the gap is too wide, hire people that are comfortable within a VUCA environment, who have a growth mindset, and are good at connecting with people. Continue to hold leaders accountable for their own development. They will thank you for it. Get it right and the ROI will pay dividends.
Don’t underestimate the magnitude of what may lie ahead. This latest disruption should be viewed as an opportunity to redefine the future of work. Be proactive and continue to assess and reassess organizational needs. This is essential to not only survive but to remain competitive in the long run.