As society faces both the pandemic and the forthcoming recession, challenges in how companies manage their employees have risen and it is transforming the workplace. HR executives are expected to adapt fast, especially when employee productivity is at stake.
However, the hit that the economy has taken recently does not mean that everything is at a downturn. In a 2009 whitepaper published by The Boston Consulting Group, they stated that new opportunities are bound to arise in the face of a recession. Specifically, they highlighted the importance of creating people advantage in a time when employees are treated as dispensable.
Focus on developing people’s strengths
In the same BCG report, they found that companies who cut back on recruiting rather than firing staff were able to inspire more employee commitment in a time of an economic crisis. BGC pointed out that employees are bound to remember how a company valued their contributions rather than pushing them to unemployment as a cost-cutting strategy.
However, BGC also stated that completely eliminating recruitment can also mean that skill shortages are possible. This circles back to another conclusion in BCG’s whitepaper—why training should not be a primary budget cut during an economic crisis.
This is where strengths-based development comes in. According to a research conducted by Gallup, Americans become more energized when they feel that their strengths are being recognized by their organization, which ultimately leads to 12.5% greater employee productivity. Maximizing these strengths will then pave a path towards the company’s future, whether it is post-pandemic or not.
Be open to having specialized employees
If executives plan to adapt and transform immediately in a post-pandemic world, they should be open to onboarding experts and developing current employees into specialized talents. This is because these people will have the experience and the knowledge that will help the company transition and move at a faster pace.
Harvard Business Review, in particular, states that specialists are more likely to make sense of new developments and opportunities in a short amount of time than generalists due to extensive experience and years in the industry. With this in mind, well-targeted and efficient solutions are crucial in a time when finances should be wisely-spent and recession is a looming threat.
Prioritize employee empathy
In terms of recruitment and people management, LinkedIn Talents recently found that four trends will start to affect the way HR hire and retain talent—employee experience, people analytics, internal recruiting, and multigenerational workforce.
Surprisingly, employee experience tops the list as 94% of global talent respondents agreed that active collaboration between company and employee increases retention. The study goes as far as stating that the company will now be working for their staff and not the other way around as employers are now putting themselves in the shoes of their employees.
All of these ultimately boils down to empathy. The more employers prioritize human experience and go the extra mile to understand an employee, the more the company will attract new talent and inspire loyalty among their current people.
Use tools to integrate work
During a time when in-person interaction can be considered a threat to one’s health, remote work is proving to be an effective solution to keeping a company afloat.
World-leading research and advisory company Gartner states that one of the eye-opening facts revealed by the pandemic is that talent is no longer geographically limited. Gartner also found that 48% of employees plan to continue working remotely after the pandemic.
In spite of this, an article by the Harvard Business Review reports that not all countries are ready to work remotely. Countries such as Singapore, the US, South Korea and New Zealand were able to take advantage of a robust digital platform and can rely on the resilience of internet infrastructures while nations such as India, Indonesia, and Thailand have yet to reach the same level of efficiency.
With business models changing and company structures shifting, this is the perfect time for HR executives to consider implementing the competitive advantage of working from home. This includes setting a project management system and investing in online training for both the well-being and development of the employee.
As this pandemic urges businesses to restructure, organizations should not just consider what happens today but how it affects tomorrow and beyond. Since employees help push businesses forward, creating people advantage by investing in remote work, highlighting staff strengths, and practicing employee empathy is the best way to ensure that a company will remain competitive in the long term.
Adapting to the new normal doesn’t have to be challenging. To give back to the small business community, we have developed the Business Catalyst Program to help you retrench, move your company forward, and bridge the gap from where you are today to where you want to go.
We still have a few spots left for the catalyst program. Register through this link, then once we review your application, we’ll let you know if your business qualifies for it.