Edgar Rosas Lopez
Expert Contributor

Talent in a Post-COVID World

By Edgar Rosas Lopez | Wed, 09/14/2022 - 15:00

One of the great challenges faced by human resources departments with the re-incorporation of staff to offices is, without a doubt, not losing talent in the attempt.

During the pandemic we learned that we can work remotely and be much more productive than in the office. Confidence became a key factor in achieving this and the ability to work toward objectives was the basis for the success of the model.

Today, our associates reasonably wonder what added value the return to the office will provide to the organization. We must recognize that the quality of life improved a great deal and that the time lost in traveling from home to the office was now well used on other activities, thus generating the work-life balance so long dreamed of and sought after.

It is clear that we cannot completely isolate ourselves and that collaborative work also requires the physical presence of the team, so it is advisable to work in a hybrid 70-30 or 80-20 scheme. If we become obsessed with bringing everyone back, surely many will resign and migrate to companies that have perfectly adopted this work model.

All extremes are bad, so we must seek to find the middle point in which associates and the company operate harmoniously, since this ultimately generates positive financial results. Flexibility is vital and looking for different ways of doing things and adapting to the new environment has become a matter of survival.

Certainly the role of personnel administrators has become strategic as it is a talent management issue where everything counts in a world where people are increasingly aware of their value and importance.

The concept of "human age" acquires special relevance in this so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution in which artificial intelligence is also beginning to play a relevant role. What are we doing to face these new challenges? That is a question that, due to the inertia of everyday life, we often do not ask ourselves. If there we can thank the pandemic for anything, it is that it forced us to face this new reality and to act accordingly.  Why move backward?

When we started this process at a Mexican pharmaceutical company, we faced many challenges, since it was clear that not all positions could work from home and it became very important to take care of all operational staff working on site.

The great advantages we had were that we had portable equipment in most cases, a well-established performance evaluation system, a robust balance scorecard and ​​people in strategic roles who were up to the challenge; however, with all these advantages, we had to face new situations that ranged from not abusing the schedules of associates and avoiding becoming tyrants from a distance. We also needed to facilitate working conditions in the homes of our staff. Then were the situations in which you encountered abusive personnel and discovered those positions that had been in the organization for years without doing anything and nobody noticed until you needed to check their indicators.

The learning curve was enormous and the companies that managed to survive this contingency learned a lot in the process. The important factor will be to capitalize on these lessons and be ready to provide continuity in innovation and be open to new work models.

The new generations (millennials and centennials) are no longer willing to submit to the "Big Boss," since they work to live and do not live to work. Thus, presented with this situation, they will decide not to return to the office and to look for a true organizational leader regarding flexible work schemes.

In 2027, more than 60 percent of the workforce of most companies will be made up of millennials; the logical thing to do is to change our mentality and build a flexible organization.

We must train leaders, and that is the greatest challenge. Today, we have bosses who were promoted for doing their job well. This does not qualify them to be organizational leaders. Just as we discovered during the pandemic the many extraordinary behaviors of our associates, we were also able to witness those monsters sick for control and abuse.

The pandemic left us with great lessons and allowed us to advance in the areas of management and human development in ways we had not imagined before. It is our duty not to throw away all these lessons and continue to evolve. Being more human and flexible is the key in this new era of talentism.

On one occasion talking with a French friend, the conversation took an interesting turn. I asked him how a developed country could afford to have so many vacation days and he answered that it was very simple since each person dedicated himself to doing his job carefully and punctually according to his schedule and that the objectives and design of the job were adequate to ensure high productivity. He told me that we spend many hours at work but are inefficient and waste a lot of time. I did not like his observation much but from that moment on, I began to observe our behavior at work and was amazed by the amount of time we spend in eternal meetings, drinking coffee, chatting after lunch, going to the bathroom, chatting with our partner; in short, we are experts in socializing at work and wasting a lot of time. Home office gave us the opportunity to be more effective and productive in every way.  Why abandon it?

Photo by:   Edgar Rosas Lopez