COVID-19 has played the role of a catalyst in reshaping the way managers use to work. It has resulted in a great transformation at the workplace. Work from home has become the common practice in the new normal post COVID-19, also the relationship between customers and business as well as between employer and employees have gone digitized.
Industries are moving forward with adaptation of new technologies such as automation, digitization and innovation. Employees are also being motivated to adapt new mindsets, behaviours and values in rapidly changing scenario. Companies that managed work as well as people in efficient manner during COVID times, will find themselves at a superior position in retaining the people and attracting new people in post COVID era. But the companies that failed to manage workforce during pandemic & exposed their employees to increased risks of financial distress will face employee turnovers and closures.
Some changes that are required for workforce management post COVID-19 are mentioned below-
1. Up-skilling and Re-skilling
Businesses need to help employees in developing a learning approach in their behaviours. This learning mindset will prepare the workforce for dealing with the changing environment specifically the abrupt challenges as posed by COVID-19.
Workforce should re-skill itself to adopt modern & updated technology. Businesses experienced many problems of imbalance in resource allocation during the pandemic. In future, re-skilling and up-skilling may help in coping with such situations easily.
Also, the pandemic hit the economic growth of the country in a negative way. There is a direct effect on the employment opportunities as many people lost their jobs. In such a situation of structural unemployment, companies can help the old employees as well as new hirers in retrain and re-skill themselves so that they may prepare themselves for future work conditions.
2. Changes in culture & leadership
Industries got a sudden shock due to COVID-19 in terms of financial performance but the most severe challenge for businesses was to manage the fear and uncertainty that employees experienced. Employees had to adopt a new routine of working from home without no face-to-face interaction with leaders. It was a great challenge for the business leaders to manage the workforce. It is, therefore, required to change the corporate culture and leadership style. In the new normal post COVID, when many transformation & disruptions are there, leaders can adopt more responsive & empathetic approach towards the employees who are trying to adapt digitization & work from home culture.
3. Provide trustworthy, transparent and open environment
During COVID, everyone in the workforce was required to be supportive of each other as all were facing uncertainty. Trust on the workforce is very important during such disruption. Although in new normal, people follow social distancing but actually they are getting closer in terms of being more adaptive and open to each other. Even while working from home, teams are consistently in touch with each other. As a community also, everyone tried to get connected in the tough times of pandemic.
Managers should help people to learn how to do work with new technologies while showing trust in them. Employees may feel a bit threatened at the moment, but if leader can make it clear to people that all are together in this then people will feel more confident to deal with the situation. They should be open about the business situation, what is happening to the business, how it is being impacted and be transparent about the information that is being used to make important strategic decisions. But with the situation changing rapidly - some managers may find it difficult to communicate plans they may need to change because they fear the very act of doing so will undermine their leadership.
Dr. Upasana Gupta, Asstt. Professor, Invertis University, Bareilly (U.P.)