The phrase "Never let a
good crisis go to waste" has widely been attributed to Winston Churchill
(with later credit attributed to Rahm Emmanuel). While the quote might seem
insensitive and opportunistic in a pandemic world, it's a good reminder that
our profession is fluid and evolving. The best HR pros will evolve their skills
and focus as a result of COVID-19.
And yeah, there will be some winners and losers in the world of HR based on the times we're in. Like anything that's evolving, the changes will at times look minor, but add them up across time and they matter for your career in HR.
What reinventions can we expect from agile HR pros in a post-COVID world? Consider the following six points.
1. Work related to your organization's culture
Your work will shift to a higher mix of communications and brand work over physical places and events. As location continues to matter less, the best HR teams will modify their investments related to culture. Hello digital tools, goodbye picnic-planning.
2. Proactive organizational design efforts
Your organizational design should seek to meet individual desires for remote work with a focus on high-potential employees. Post-COVID, some employees will want to come back to the office full time, some will never want to return to the cube. True HR leaders will ensure their organization is agile enough to meet the diverse set of needs, accommodating and prioritizing high performers. Treating everyone equally will continue to decrease in importance, at least for high-performing organizations attuned to talent.
3. Additional training focused on managers engaging distributed teams
Commission additional training for your leaders. Managers who were great coaches before the pandemic may see their effectiveness drop in the "new normal." Great HR will monitor those gaps and provide the tools necessary to help managers maximize the post-COVID performance of their teams. The critical conversations will remain the same, but the use of digital tools and building trust across remote teams will rise in importance.
4. Recruiting strategy will evolve
Your talent acquisition approach will shift to focus more on onboarding the best candidate regardless of location. The great COVID lockdown proved we can tolerate more remote work. It makes sense that the strongest HR leaders will help organizations understand the opportunity to recruit everywhere as a result. You'll know you're a part of the change if you're researching underappreciated and underutilized markets for the key job families that make your business run.
5. Risk analysis related to the retention of current employees will increase
Talent management teams will need to prioritize risk analysis as more companies hunt the best talent regardless of location (putting your existing employee base at further risk). Whether you decide to recruit the best talent by adding more remote workers or not, be prepared – competitors (direct and otherwise) are coming for your talent.
If you're not delivering on your brand promise, your best people will
have an increased ability to find another opportunity in another city – without
having to move. Smart companies will plan retention touchpoints in a
6. Optimize existing solutions (or acquire new ones) to help deliver services to a distributed workforce
Smart HR functions will optimize or adopt new learning and development, goal setting, coaching and performance tools for their distributed workforce. If your digital talent tools aren't effective for the post-COVID world, now is the time to shop. Save your company some money on rent due to increased remote work, but invest a bit of the savings back to increase your outcomes related to talent.
There's a new normal coming for all of us in 2021 and beyond, HR pros who recognize these trends and focus development and effort accordingly will win in the post-COVID world. There's never been a better time to have an impact on the business in the world of HR.
Stay agile, my HR friends.