Turning Post-Pandemic Talent Challenges into AdvantagesBy Alexis Langagne Fasén | Wed, 10/13/2021 - 09:00
A lot has been written already regarding the transformation of our post-pandemic work environments, and how the way we manage human capital resources has changed. Having said that, as I speak to business leaders on a regular basis, it is clear that only very few organizations have an end-to-end post-pandemic approach to address the related challenges and capitalize on the existing opportunity ahead of us as we truly leave the pandemic behind: to gain a competitive advantage by consistently attracting and retaining the best talent and understanding the new differentiators that employees value most as they decide to join and leave companies.
The dynamics between companies and employees have changed forever due to the pandemic. Remote (virtual) work, safety and cybersecurity are among the new challenges to address. While in some cases there is some resistance — or even lack of acknowledgment — of these changes, it is clear that there is an opportunity for companies to leverage this transformation to improve how they manage human capital today. Here some opportunities to consider:
- The virtual office. The flexibility to work remotely (from home or elsewhere) has brought unimagined effects. In the new paradigm, people want to decide where to work and some have migrated to other cities (e.g., less crowded, less expensive, or closer to their families). Ideally, they are spending more time with families and friends, better organizing their agendas, and even changing their lifestyles. They are doing all of this without compromising their job performance. Could you ever imagine moving to your dream retirement home a decade ahead of the original plan?
- Virtual customer experience channels. Customers have now experienced more efficient interactions with their suppliers and strategic partners (e.g., highly punctual videoconferences, online resources, including self-service intelligent chatbots). Giving customers more options on how and when to interact, results in greater customer loyalty and with that, greater employee loyalty too. Could you ever imagine suggesting to hold an initial meeting with an important prospect in a virtual fashion, without being considered impolite?
- Flat organizations. While all organizations have some degree of hierarchical structure, the digital transformation during the pandemic has proven that a flatter organization is not only possible, but desired. Now you can bring an expert to a meeting by just sending a real-time chat or calendar invitation. This allows organizations to be more open and to act in a more horizontal —and faster — way; therefore, new channels of knowledge and greater diversity of perspectives take place. Could you ever imagine involving the greatest experts — at a low-level in the organization — and the CEO in the same productive meeting?
- Total transparency. Before the pandemic, it was common for leaders of organizations to be cautious regarding the disclosure of sensitive information to employees. Nowadays, there is a clear realization that employees perform better with access to relevant and timely information, whether it is good news or bad news, and especially if it has to do with their well-being. We have experienced a daily flow of news regarding colleagues who have lost their life or are in critical condition. I think we all have become more mature, and we need to put work matters in perspective — not everyone is a heart surgeon. Also, greater transparency can provide a heightened sense of belonging among employees, as well as increasing their respect for their leaders. Could you imagine more ongoing and timely information for employees and less highly confidential/restricted information?
- Employee safety. With employees working remotely, organizations have the challenge of determining their role regarding both physical and cybersecurity for employees – locations, work schedules, home versus office security, telemedicine. Could you imagine companies looking at employee (and family) safety from a holistic perspective?
Of course, not all of these opportunities are easy or inexpensive to leverage, but we should look at all of them — and others that you may identify — that could lead to a company leapfrogging over its competitors, and with that, make it easier to attract and retain the best talent moving forward.