As lockdown restrictions ease and companies seek to navigate the post-pandemic recovery, countless new challenges will emerge. According to a recent Deloitte opinion piece in Forbes, “The biggest challenge organizations will likely face next is the tension between getting back to work and embracing a new reality. How leaders and organizations handle the recovery may define their brands for years to come and ultimately define whether they are truly operating as a social enterprise.”
The authors offer some essential steps for doing this right, including:
- Reflect. As the article put it, “Reflection may be the most important step in the recovery process. Leaders need to dedicate time to reflect on what has worked and what has been missed in the crisis response.” It’s also important to include perspectives from all levels of the organization—after all, an entry-level employee likely has a different viewpoint than a middle manager, and the latter’s experiences again may differ from that of senior leadership. Soliciting feedback from these and other groups and reflecting on the path forward is critical in order to establish a baseline for recovery.
- Recommit. Chances are employee well-being and support were important considerations in the pre-COVID period, but these areas have changed drastically in light of recent events. It’s important that companies reinforce their commitment to these principles, and also take other steps to ensure that employees’ physical, psychological, and financial concerns are addressed. Workers may need greater flexibility or various accommodations to feel safe when coming back into the office. Making it clear that these and other requirements will be supported is critical to helping employees navigate the post-COVID workplace as comfortably as possible.
- Re-engage employees & rethink work. As the Forbes piece puts it, “The recovery process creates opportunities for organizations to redeploy their workforces.” Some people may return onsite, while others may work remotely on a permanent basis or embrace a hybrid model. Whatever the case, emerging from lockdown presents companies with a chance to re-engage their employees by providing flexibility and opportunities to work on their own terms. According to Deloitte, “A critical goal of recovery should be to pivot toward a more resilient workforce, shifting away from rigid routine and structure.” As part of this, companies must also rethink how they approach workforce composition, compensation, and performance management, and make plans for the short-term while also managing expectations for the future.
- Reboot. Given the variables outlined above, it’s evident that HR will play a central role in a successful post-COVID recovery. As the Forbes piece puts it, “For many, this requires a pivot toward an HR designed for speed, new ways of working, digital-first teams, adaptable organizational strategies, and changing business requirements.” If done correctly, not only can this HR reboot help companies successfully navigate our new normal, but it can also enable organizations to embrace a more people-centric and competitive stance in the future.
While we certainly find ourselves in unprecedented times, the post-COVID period also offers companies a chance to reprioritize and focus on the most critical elements for future success. You can read more about what your company can do to best position yourself for a prosperous outlook here.