Effects of the pandemic have led organizations to make amendments to the way they function. At this time of continued uncertainty, it becomes important to lay out the roadmap for future scope and put strategies into place. Implementation of policies like DEI, focus on overall employee experience and well-being could help employees both personally and at work during this period of flux.
An effective DEI strategy improves motivation, boosts the ability to innovate and increases employee satisfaction and loyalty. These strategies include programs to attract and support the career progression of women and candidates from under-represented groups, offering DEI training and incentives for leaders, and establishing clear channels to report discrimination.
Maintaining a participative and inclusive work culture plays an integral role in retaining as well as attracting new talent. And all these have a direct impact on achievement of organization objectives and success.
From KellyOCG’s Global Workforce Agility Report, post pandemic, over half (59%) of executives say their businesses will adopt a hybrid working model, giving employees the flexibility to work either in the office or at home; yet one in four believe their leaders lack the skills to manage the workforce they want to build. 27% are unsure of what their employees want in terms of a post-COVID working environment. Understanding employees’ preferences in this area is particularly critical, given that a quarter of US workers plan on looking for a new job when the threat of the pandemic decreases.
Coupled with less than half of executives (49%) say they have a clear view of the optimal mix of talent required across all business areas; and 25% say that their current workforce has skills gaps they don’t know how to fill. Leaders have a challenging time ahead to engage and retain the talent they need to quickly jump-start the business as we move out of the pandemic.
Key Factors to Focus on in a Post-COVID Workplace Culture
Essential Workforce Optimisation Priorities
- Planning and projecting labour demand: With today's fluctuating economic situations, organisations have to plan for constantly fluctuating labour demands
- Optimizing labour schedule: Once the plan is set, you cannot just forget about it. It's important to have the flexibility and agility to react to unforeseen events
- Hire for Resiliency: Moving forward, resiliency and adaptability will rank high on the list of desirable employee attributes since resilient employees are generally able to adjust to culture shifts and environments that are in flux
- Work-life balance: Work from home has enabled working within the comforts of one’s home but has also taken away the option to have a clear separation of work and home life. Thus, organisations should put in place guidelines and tools to help employees to “shut-off” from work daily in a timely fashion is important.
Resetting of Major Work Trends and the Way Forward for HR Specialists
- Encourage and map out concrete plans and action to create an inclusive environment that places employees’ physical and mental wellbeing at core
- Embrace Working Remotely: The WFH or hybrid system needs to be embraced and a shift to digitalization is essential to ensure work collaboration, productivity and motivation.
- Managing and rewarding performance is crucial in order to keep the employees’ confidence and morale boosted and help them work consistently
A Playbook for What Culture, Teamwork and Leadership
- Strive for a balance of autonomy and belongingness: Working remotely has affected us all in many different ways. Teams should work towards a state in which both the experience of autonomy and belongingness can be realized concurrently.
- A mindset of employee experience first, is core. Through the design of work, organizational policies and the reinforcement of new management capabilities; organisations need to understand the many employees’ touchpoints are opportunities to engage, interact and motivate for greater engagement and retention.
- Lead with intention: the mere existence of collaboration tools does not guarantee success.
- Leading a team of remote workers requires forethought about communication and collaboration.
- Make a strategic human resources shift: moving from manager-employee relationships to team networks will require a change in strategic human resources.
Lessons from the Vanguards
KellyOCG’s global research uncovered a group of leaders – respondents who report that employee wellbeing and productivity have significantly improved within their organizations over the past 12 months. The data shows that these “Vanguards” have taken a more strategic and long-term approach to improving the resilience, agility, and wellbeing of their workforces compared with the “Laggards” (respondents that report a decline in employee wellbeing over the past 12 months). The Vanguards are also far more likely to report revenue growth over the past three years, which indicates their approach is having a positive impact on overall business performance.
The Vanguards are far more likely than the Laggards to report that remote work has increased their employees’ ability to innovate (91% vs 52%), made them more open to using new technologies (87% vs. 53%), and improved employees’ ability to collaborate (85% vs. 49%) and to be productive (90% vs 48%) in this fluid work environment.
Return to Work Post-COVID in India
Indian employers must implement strategies to improve on DEI and focus on employee experience as it can be linked to higher employee motivation. About 46% respondents said that their organization is reviewing and/or resetting personal objectives to ensure they are achievable given the changes brought about by the pandemic. 57% respondents said that their organization conducts regular employee surveys to help track and measure the employee experience. Around 51% have fully implemented programs to support the career progression and development of talent from underrepresented groups but 33% have begun to implement. Thus, more haste and actions need to be taken now to reap the benefits of DEI ahead.
In addition, the adoption of technology is just as critical to achieve workforce agility and resilience. Talent management platforms that enable effective management of both permanent and contingent talent, improving visibility of workforce utilisation and productivity are important in the new world of work. 57% respondents said that their organization is using leading-edge technology for monitoring productivity and efficiency and progress on DEI goals. 76% believe that adopting leading-edge technologies is critical to boosting collaboration between all employees and around 75% believe that it is critical for long-term business success as well.
With changes happening across all industries during this period of pandemic, modifications have to be made. To provide an enhanced experience to employees, workforce planning and talent management is very crucial. The focus on technology and AI powered software to make work more collaborative and productive for employees, thus promoting mental wellbeing and positive employee experience will work the advantage of organisations. Although the post-pandemic world of work is still uncertain and evolving, it is key for organisations to understand the key dynamics at play and to be able to craft and implement adequate policies and guidelines, coupled with a swift digital transformation, to accelerate their business recovery.