What is the future of the workforce after COVID-19? How do we keep employees engaged when things will look uncertain for the foreseeable future? How do we motivate them to keep on performing when our own resources are limited, and we can’t give them the same lavish perks that they were used to? In short, how do we optimize the workforce during and after this crisis is over?
These are the questions that keep business owners and managers awake at night. According to Industry Week, their top concerns revolve around employee productivity, morale, safety, and health. They are anticipating how the workplace will change, and want to plan for the most effective appropriate responses.
No industry will be left unscathed by this coronavirus-induced transformation. For example, according to Global Workplace Analytics, 56% of the American workforce are already holding remote-compatible jobs. It estimates that by the end of 2021, 25-30% of them will be working in remote jobs several times a week. With that, it’s important to start thinking of workforce strategies post-covid today. Here are a few guidelines:.
This is a must especially if you are managing an increasing number of remote teams. The difference in work locations can weaken the team’s bond. Zoom meetings cannot really compensate for the empathic conversations exchanged during lunch breaks or over the watercooler.
Remember that synergy in the workforce is the key to an organization’s success. Encourage weekly meetings which emphasize professionalism while making allowances for the weird disruptions that the crisis sometimes unleashes on us.
For example, set deadlines, iron out issues, and make sure that deliverables are met. But if a cat’s meow intrudes into the conversation, just chuckle about it. Once your team sees that you do understand their situation, morale can lift.
It is one thing to observe the behavior of your team in each virtual call, but the screens do not exactly allow you to catch the nuances shown by each individual. Pre-pandemic, managers can spot the body language that warns of disengagement. Individual conversations over the phone or the net will let you see how your employee is actually faring. They might be worried about a sick spouse or unmet bills that are piling high. Without an ear to listen to them or a solution that they can consider, their morale and their performance will go down. Compassionate communication can turn things around.
Another advantage that these more personal convos can bring is the employee’s self-awareness. He will understand his strengths and weaknesses, and improve on them. He will also find in himself the most powerful motivations that can overcome tough challenges.
Now that your team members’ connections have been strengthened with empowering communication, the next thing to do is upgrade your people’s skills. Their current skills have already been identified during your meetings and one-on-one convos. They have to level up—regularly. This can be on part of your ongoing workforce planning after COVID.
Training does not have to be expensive. There are many free online courses to choose from. The more senior members of your team can do a mentoring program. What’s important is that all that upskilling will make your team more creative and innovative in finding solutions—for your organization and for your clients. The more challenges solved, the more value your company will produce and have, the greater chances of its survival.
This is where your leadership will shine. Leverage your team’s unity and their newfound confidence in themselves by creating a culture that will collaborate toward success. Build a workplace environment where team members support each other as they reach towards their goals. Given the situation today, instill a winning spirit will see each challenge as an opportunity, not as a stumbling block.
The workforce after COVID-19 will need to be resilient, competitive, and tough-minded. As you keep bonding them as a group, always set their sights on what they can accomplish together.
The technology of today can enhance your human capital performance to a significant degree. Some platforms offer psychometric tests that can hone in on the individual gifts, motivations, and skills of each staff. They support that with tools that foster collaboration and ultimately increase their engagement.
Other tech like HRIS software can also help manage your people management processes. They keep track of employee performance, productivity, leave time, and rewards earned. The documentation and monitoring that this tech does actually free you from the nitty-gritty to focus on your leadership responsibilities.
Adversity can produce champions, and winners can emerge out of crises. The more motivated, skilled, and unified your teams are, the more powerful you will become, long after COVID-19 has finally died down.