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Are you ready to reinstate your employees?

reinstate employees

The post-pandemic world of work

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted and reinvented the world of work as we knew it, increasing the need for seamless communication, trust and empathy between companies and employees.

For many of us, working from home became a new reality, while others had no choice but to immediately embrace digital transformation and develop new processes to keep the business afloat.

All these recent changes have happened too quickly, and companies have had too little time to respond and cope with the economic impact without neglecting the wellbeing of their employees.
However, as we move into this new normal, new questions also arise: what will the return to work look like and what will be the biggest challenges for businesses?
While many companies around the world have already implemented successful on-boarding and exit programmes, even remotely, we have reached a point where all companies should focus their efforts on designing re-entry processes, which will be useful now and in the future. However, companies will not be able to readapt to the new future of the world of work and stay afloat if they do not address the shortcomings that the pandemic has exposed.

Learning the lessons of the recent past

According to Deloitte' s Global Human Capital Trends 2020 report and a recent article by Josh Bersin on HR priorities, these are the key lessons that companies should pay particular attention to:

  1. The goal is to better understand employees in order to strengthen their sense of belonging and boost their performance. Ultimately, people expect work to give meaning to their lives, so they want to contribute to the company and have a positive impact on society.
  2. Promote the development of responsive teams and employee well-being by fostering positivity despite feelings of uncertainty and change. Adopting a culture of open communication and dialogue practices within the company is a first step in ensuring and developing employee well-being, collaboration and effective teamwork. This will involve redesigning the work model towards results rather than activities.
  3. By analysingdata , companies can identify the strengths, needs and characteristics of employees to customise on-boarding processes, as well as undertake internal policies to optimise performance and ensure the health of employees. In addition, companies can also anticipate which jobs are going to disappear so that they can start training the people who fill them to take on new positions quickly and effectively. However, the data is as surprising as it is stark: only 10% of companies say they are prepared to undertake internal retraining in the next 12 to 18 months, while 38% report that identifying employee development needs and priorities is their main barrier to employee development; and 53% say they will need to retrain between half and all of their workforce in the next 3 years.
  4. Integrate technology into human processes - how? By leveraging technology and training employees on an ongoing basis. Technology will not replace people. However, companies need people and technology to work together to deliver value to the company and to the employees themselves.
  5. Fostering knowledge - how? Knowledge is the foundation of all progress: AI is beneficial when it comes to building a company culture based on creating and sharing knowledge to strengthen relationships within the company and people's resilience in the face of similar challenges. Seventy-five per cent of all companies surveyed said that creating and preserving knowledge in evolving workforces is essential for success over the next 12 to 18 months. However, only 9% said they were ready to address this issue.
  6. Educate, train and empower employees by creating specific programmes that enable employees to grow both professionally and personally and to adapt to new challenges that may arise in the future, based not only on their skills and knowledge, but also on their potential.
  7. In addition to creatingreward strategies, if the company provides transparency, purpose, fairness, collaboration and growth, it can improve employee performance and motivation.
  8. Using real-time data - how? The future of work is organisationally driven through technology, and real-time data is a powerful source of insight. How? By enabling businesses to identify problems as they occur, or simply to be more informed about the progress, skills and physical and mental well-being of their employees, they can address real problems, ask the right questions at the optimal time and use the results to drive business growth. Currently, only 11% of organisations produce real-time information, while 43% either produce it ad hoc or not at all.
  9. Recognising ethical dilemmas - how? Ethical dilemmas are here to stay. As business decisions can have a significant impact on employees' lives, companies need to anticipate the potential ethical impacts that may arise from them. For example, in the case of companies that use a different type of workforce such as the gig economy.
  10. Giving management authority to HR professionals - how? By encouraging HR employees to lead the business alongside management. While the 2008-2009 financial crisis ended up emphasising roles such as CFO and finance professionals, the COVID-19 crisis is moving CHRO and HR departments to the front line: from recruiting and hiring to onboarding. HR departments to the frontline: from recruiting and hiring to onboarding and integrating new employees into the company; monitoring employee sentiment and engagement; developing strong relationships between managers and senior managers, employees and departments; ensuring the well-being of all; reinventing work (e.g. how, where and what tasks employees should perform), etc.

Welcome to a new era of human resources

Many challenges have been faced in recent times, and there is only one thing we can be sure of: from now on, human resources departments will play an essential role in all business activities and will lead the change to help companies and workforces adapt to all that has come, as well as to the changes that are yet to come.

Yet, in order to thrive, companies need to start asking themselves whether the HR department has the knowledge to influence all the business areas that need it and help their company thrive in the short term. In other words, good intentions will not be enough, but these new times demand significant change where purpose, potential and direct impact have become values that are hard to avoid.
In the world of work, there is only one possible future: one that has a more humane, kinder, more collaborative and more sustainable version of the world we used to live in. And companies that fail to adapt to this rapid paradigm shift and miss the opportunity to retrain employees in this new scenario shaped by the current work/social revolution will be left behind.
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