Rewiring Employee Experience: Focus on Talent & Managing Expectation
Ability to deal with events & circumstances which are once in lifetime occurrence is not common. Recurring experiences provide references and validations for better & more effective responses. Novel disruptions, challenge and stretch imaginations in dealing with problems of the day, as also provide for near-term solutions that may emerge. Circumstances and challenges caused by COVID are some of those rare events which do not have comparable simile.
The impact is vast and across almost all walks of life for extraordinary proportion of global population. In the world of business, a simplistic & optimistic view can be to expect return of pre-event norms and variables.
However, longevity of the event has already changed ways & methods of working & solutioning to significant extent. While several variables & equations may return to original framework, many new paradigms and frameworks which are product of this disruption may alter overall work & workplace arrangements permanently.
Organizations have choices to adapt and make the most of new normal that would emerge and incorporate some of these as part of their regular practice. While full impact and causal relationships are yet to be analyzed, a limited crystal ball gazing can help see a few prominent emerging trends and patterns which will influence future workplace arrangements.
Primacy of Workforce Health & Wellness as Part of EVP
Progressive & caring organizations have been addressing health-related needs of workforce for quite long. Provision of mediclaim, OPD, family coverage, annual health check up etc. have remained prevalent across various types of organizations & institutions. Most of these practices are product of historical development and emanating as a values case. Effectively managing health & wellness of workforce has gained added dimension of being a prominent business case from continuity and productivity perspectives.
It is beyond physical health, encompassing total wellness. New dimensions are emotional & psychological wellness. In terms of magnitude and impact regarding after-effects of mega event, nearest reference comparison are 1918 pandemic and 2 World Wars. Though accuracy of data is suspect for these events, a few common large scale patterns are known and acknowledged across. Detailed chronicles are available narrating massive changes in population behaviour, adverse impacts on mental and psychological wellness during years subsequent to these events.
In a complex world of business where white-collar workforce is expected to address issues, priorities, and imperatives every day, using ingenuity and strive, mental fitness and agility is of utmost importance. An individual, who has experienced or witnessed large scale devastation & loss of life around, will continue to remain pre-occupied and behaviour patterns will get altered.
Hence, organizations need to focus on total & comprehensive well-being of workforce as an important business agenda in near term and also come up with programs to ameliorate after-effects among employees and family members. Scope of influence must include family members in these circumstances as any disruption at home will certainly impact concerned employee.
Addressing Uncertainties & Ambiguities
Changes & complexities have already become permanent features of work & modern workplaces for professionals. Coping strategies and workforce competency development to deal with these (and other allied phenomena) are part of talent agenda across organizations. Economic impact of COVID caused disruptions are being experienced and reported regularly.
Full-blown adverse impact related to GDP, growth, employment & financial results at aggregate level are likely to continue in near term. Among several other effects, it causes deep sense of uncertainties and apprehensions at individual level. While majority of workforce members may not overtly display such outwardly behaviour and express themselves for social reasons, to acknowledge prevalence of these underlying trends may be appropriate as a preventive and response strategy.
A well thought out organization wide program consisting of clarity of expectations, outcomes, visibility of way forward to the extent possible may be extremely helpful in bringing assurances. An anxious & apprehensive mind doesn’t cause excellence. Competitive pressures need workforce members to strive & contribute their best for success of organization. There is a strong cause for action in best interests of organization and its members together.
Access to Talent, Delimited
Compulsory Proliferation of remote and dispersed working since Q1 of FY21 has opened new vistas for access of talent to organizations without restrictions of geographical boundaries. Organizations that were earlier not wired to dispersed working by teams, have moved up several notches in managing work through learning & practice.
Careful identification of roles and positions which do not necessarily need physical presence all the time and incorporating these as location agnostic as part of staffing plan permanently makes immense sense. It provides an opportunity to significantly enhance quality of talent mix due to larger talent pool to access and recruit from. There is a need to build competency of managers to remain effective in managing their team & work in mixed workforce model. It is not a difficult task but an important agenda to pursue and adapt as a permanent feature.
Challenges seem to be continuing with changes of form and features similar to new strains being discovered. Collective application of mind to envision near future, prepare cohesive strategy and action items may be best possible response to the circumstances around everyone.