In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the idea that this unprecedented situation could be anything other than temporary was almost inconceivable. Employees talked about “when things get back to normal,” and managers planned for short-term disruption, rather than long-term change.
When experts speculated back in January what the biggest HR trends would be this year, few could have predicted how radically the face of work would change just a few months later. The coronavirus has altered the course of HR radically and, perhaps, permanently. There are few silver linings to the pandemic, but some of these changes may be for the better. Many employers are re-examining their relationships with employees through an increasingly empathetic lens. And many HR leaders are embracing the idea of building greater agility and flexibility into their policies and plans. As you start to think about what the future looks like for your HR team, here are a few HR trends that have been upended by COVID-19—and a few that have been accelerated.
Over the past few months, as the job market has evolved and we’ve adapted to new ways of working, the importance of a growth mindset—the belief that one’s talents can be consistently developed and expanded—has come into even clearer focus. While this mindset is critical during periods of fluctuation, it will remain a major strategic advantage once things get back to normal. But in order to cultivate it in your workforce, HR has to lead the way.
By now, you’ve probably seen the statistics about the link between diversity and business performance. One 2018 study found that companies with above-average diversity on their management teams report innovation revenue that is 19 percentage points higher than that of companies with below-average leadership diversity. And 2017 research shows that decisions made and executed by diverse teams deliver 60% better results.
As many businesses settle into a new normal, leaders’ focus is starting to shift away from immediate crisis control and toward putting sustainable processes in place for working through this period. Though leaders cannot (and should not) pretend that everything is normal, they still need to take steps to ensure their workforce remains productive and engaged. While there’s no playbook for this situation, it’s important to do what you can to keep employee morale high, maintain continuity for your customers, and, ultimately, protect your company’s future. Here are a few steps you can take to gently promote productivity and engagement right now.
In the age of coronavirus, many business leaders and HR professionals are left wondering: How can I best support employees in a rapidly shifting work environment? What can I do to inspire clarity amidst uncertainty? How much information should I share to keep my workforce informed—without creating unnecessary anxiety?
We have a very social team. Everyone loves to spend time with each other inside and outside of the office; we often joke that “FOMO” must be one of our core values. When our New York City-based team was advised to work from home, the first thing we did was try to coordinate a date when we’d all be able to come in together during the following week or two. Of course, this was before we knew how quickly the COVID-19 virus would spread in the New York metro area and how seriously we should heed the “stay at home” warnings. As we’ve learned, things change quickly.