Who thought that a single virus could change the lifestyle of every person on this planet? Literally no one! But unfortunately, the COVID-19 has done its job, took the lives of lakhs of people, left many others jobless and homeless, and is now continuing to transform their lives. Right from large scale industries to small scale industries and businesses to corporations, this dreary virus has reformed workforce management.
Although some changes are enforced due to COVID-19, they are serving as a catalyst for reinventing the future of working professionals in making things better. New technologies are introducing new roles which push the employees to upgrade their skills. Plus, employees are also taught a new mindset, values, and behavior to adapt to the changing workforce quickly.
Empathically, the world is responding rapidly to these changes by making WFH a new normal and following many other guidelines. Additionally, several things have changed in workforce management due to COVID-19, which we will look closely at in this post.
Workforce Transformation - A Necessity To Cope-Up During Covid-19:
From digitizing the relationships between sellers and buyers to employers and employees, everything has taken a new turn in the span of just one year. As a result, trends like automation, digitalization, and innovation are now becoming fast-track methods to handle the mess created by COVID-19.
As this pandemic is resetting the major work trends, HR management leaders have started to rethink the workforce, employee management, performance management, and experience strategies. They have been put at a crossroad where companies that take up post-covid opportunities positively will find themselves in a better position to retain their expertise. Plus, they will also attract new resources and projects when the situation normalizes. Contrarily, companies that fail to adapt will be left behind, putting their employees' financial conditions at risk with layoffs and closures.
If you are wondering what changes the workforce management is taking post-COVID-19, then here they are.
A survey by Gartner revealed that 48% of the employees would prefer remote work at least part-time after COVID-19 versus 30% before the pandemic. Thus, it has become necessary for companies to explore critical competencies and think about their employees' experience strategies as most of them prefer remote work after COVID-19. They also have to consider the strategies for performance goal-setting and employee career evaluation while they continue to work remotely.
Rapidly up-skilling employees:
Lack of face-to-face interaction has made employees feel demotivated and discouraged while working from home during COVID-19. They desperately seek an energetic environment and inspiring events to keep going in these challenging times. Hence, companies are teaching employees to learn a new mindset and are preparing them to deal with this abruptly changing environment.
This workforce change is also combined with the quick adoption of new technologies. It eventually serves as a catalyst for accelerating the creation of new roles and opportunities for the employees. Sometimes, these frequent changes in workforce management during COVID-19 have created an imbalance in resource allocation. But reskilling and upgrading them have helped the companies to push their business from one place to another.
Increased data collection:
Another workforce change that’s happening during COVID-19 is that companies have increased their employee data collection. With the use of new technologies, they are able to monitor their employees with methods like tracking computer work usage, virtual clocking in and out, monitoring employee emails, and other internal communication. These methods are helping companies to track the productivity, engagement, and well-being of their employees to understand their work experience while they work remotely.
Increased value for trust and transparency:
One thing that COVID-19 has taught all of us is to support and understand each other because everything is uncertain. It has let employers and employees control their work-life balance by allowing them to trust each other with enough transparency at ongoing tasks. Eventually, this has helped employees to work with kindness and contribute an equal share towards their home chores.
They are learning what works at home and what doesn’t. Plus, they are learning to manage their surroundings while holding virtual meetings, which never got so long before. Apart from this, employees are getting closer by being in constant contact with each other in the name of remote work. Regardless of the situation, they are connecting as a community with a purpose that is surely changing the workforce like ever before.
Transformation in leadership competencies:
Leadership and management resources have to take up new challenges to cope up with the changes enforced because of COVID-19. Right from handling large teams virtually to delivering exceptional results, they have been time-tested and proved worthy enough to keep the business going. Along with honing everyone’s digital skills, leadership and management resources need to focus on empathy as disruptions and modifications become a new normal in employees' careers.
Preference to agile work model:
Handling a large number of people working remotely, all at once, was surprisingly unpredictable. But with the unfolding events, companies have shown how fast they can adapt to the workforce changes and proved that they could move faster with approaches like agile work models.
It’s a way of working in which companies empower employees to work with maximum flexibility and minimum constraints to improve productivity and performance. Thus, with the interruptions of COVID-19 impacts, businesses realized what is possible and what is impossible outside their traditional work process. All in all, this process has helped companies to adjust the pace and scale of workforce management during COVID-19 and operate their work in a simpler yet faster way.
New rules in the physical workplace:
Once people start returning to work, their physical workplace won’t remain the same as it did before COVID-19. Implementation of temperature checks, sanitation protocols, and social distancing rules will likely be of high priority for the well-being of employees. As people will seek social interaction and engagement after a long time, there will be a shift towards a collaborative workplace.
Before COVID-19, employees preferred working independently in offices. But after a transformation in the workforce, they will now use their physical workspace to meet colleagues, have social gatherings, and brainstorm new ideas. Through this change, they will aspire to create a work environment that promotes creativity, collaboration, and innovation.
Giving attention to team’s connection and engagement:
A team’s engagement highly determines the success of an organization. To maintain this engagement, companies paid more attention to their employees' way of the connection while they worked from home. Although there are many positive sides of WFH, its negative effects are more detrimental, like loneliness and social isolation. And hence, the managers had the extra task of keeping their teams motivated and productive all the time during this pandemic.
The managers are continuing to organize virtual team building activities to drive team productivity and engagement. These activities could be as simple as hobby-based workshops, celebrating birthdays, or sharing achievements through video conferencing. Some companies even included virtual games to keep their employees engaged in the activities. This workforce change due to COVID-19 has ultimately helped boost teams morale and encouraged them to work better amidst the disruptions.
COVID-19 has already transformed the lookout of workforce management around the world. Yet, even with these changes, the companies and employees thrive well to keep the economy running. The only factor that needs to stay consistent is the flexibility that builds a suitable workplace and aligns with the new normal.