#NewNormal: Ensuing Companies' Agility To Address New Demands Of Employees

For organizations, the area of focus was channelling work from home effectively during the initial period. The focus, however, has now been on creating a reliable and convivial return environment for employees


It has been more than 15 months since the Covid-19 pandemic barged into our lives and toppled the dynamics of the business world. Millions of people across the globe unexpectedly switched to virtual working, learning digital proficiency in a matter of days to ensure business continuity during turbulent times. However, as we now stand at the crossroads of a storm that seems to have settled and the hope of returning to the office post-lockdown, it is hard but not to notice how much our working style has changed since the pre-covid period.

For organizations, the area of focus was channelling work from home effectively during the initial period, which later shifted to maintaining effective relationships while working virtually. The focus, however, has now been on creating a reliable and convivial return environment for employees who have stayed away from the office and their team members for far too long.

While planning the next era of organizational strategy, it is imperative for employers to understand what their employees expect from them, and how much it has been accomplished by the organizations. Companies all over the world have been reconsidering their policies and developing working arrangements that remain cognizant of the evolving needs of the workforce.

Various surveys reveal that people are putting a greater emphasis on flexibility in work, fair compensation, and emotional well-being. The flexibility of working from anywhere tops the list. A McKinsey & Company report highlights that more than 50% of the surveyed employees said that being able to work from home for at least three days a week is a top expectation for them. Understanding the shift, hybrid working models are here to stay post-pandemic. Different from a traditional work arrangement, the hybrid office model allows the people to come to office and connect and collaborate with their co-workers for few days in a week, and then work from home the rest of the week. For many, there would not be a dedicated office, but shared working spaces and desks known as “hot desking.”

Alternate job models include “talent sharing” and “80 per cent pay for 80 per cen” work. About 32 per cen of the organizations are replacing full-time employees with contingent workers to cut costs and improve productivity, as per a Gartner report. An increasing thrust on “gig workers” creates room for a better workforce management.

The Covid crisis has reshuffled the norms of employee experience too. Organizations are focusing more on personal growth factors to motivate their employees. As more than a third of employees have indicated continuous learning opportunities to be a key engagement factor in an IBM report, employers now aim to play an expanded role in their employees’ career aspirations.

Financial, physical, and mental well-being have become major prerequisites for employees. More than half of the respondents in the McKinsey survey, reported an increase in the use of available company resources for mental wellbeing. Understanding the need, many companies have extended support services like increased sick leaves, financial assistance for treatments, flexible hours of operation and childcare provisions.

Transparency has emerged as a top priority for both employees and organizations. Agile companies are communicating more openly and frequently to display their solidarity with employees, despite following cost-saving methods.

These emerging developments have brought the spotlight on the CHRO and the HR department, just like it did on the CFO and finance departments during the 2008–2009 recession. Companies are expanding the capabilities of their HR departments, owing to the length and breadth of the work that HR has performed during remote working, and is expected to perform in the coming era. Monitoring workforce reporting, training new virtual joiners, developing a smooth flow of communication between management and workers, and addressing the needs of employees’ physical and emotional well-being, HR is assuming a leading role in the changing landscape of organizations.

In the post-Covid world, companies must remember that human concerns are not separate from business concerns. Motivated and well-treated employees are more likely to align their work efforts to the greater vision and mission of their organization. The crisis presents a unique opportunity for us to build sustainable working models and nurture deeper connections with our peers, making use of technology and business innovations in the weeks, months, and years to come.

(The given article is attributed to Ruchi Kulhari, Senior VP – Human Resources, Coforge and has been solely created for BW People) 


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