When the pandemic Covid-19 first struck the world two years ago, it ushered in a wave of upheaval followed by another and another. From upending countless businesses, jobs and lives, the pandemic has transformed all facets of work once and for all.
There is no going back but to keep finding one new normal after next. HR leaders across the globe were thrust to the frontline and tasked with training employees on remote work, helping them navigate challenges as everyone worked from home, managing company-wide lay-offs and adopting never-before-seen tech.
Even in the crucible of crisis, HR teams steered their organisations through uncertainties, disruptions and cruxes. The practices adopted and the lessons learnt during the pandemic are sure to be carried to the post-pandemic world and enlighten the obscure path ahead.
As the dust settles and we continue to forge new paths in an ever-changing world, here are some key lessons HR teams have learnt over the course of two pandemic-afflicted years.
REMOTE WORK IS POSSIBLE, PROFITABLE
When the global pandemic upended work nearly overnight, organisations quickly transitioned to work from home or remote work to ensure business continuity. The early apprehensions and hesitations gave way to faith and confidence in employees and, eventually, productivity gains.
With nearly 95 per cent of the workforce working remotely, organisations developed policies for employees to work remotely and familiarize themselves with virtual meetings and communication tools. Now, two years later, employees and employers are profiting from remote and flexible working models with elevated productivity, performance and work-life balance. Employees no longer want to be tethered to offices and want to work with autonomy and flexibility.
CONTINUITY, CONTIGENCY PLAN
After having barely braved the pandemic, several organisations are putting in place contingency plans to insulate their business against any future Black Swan events. Millions of businesses across the globe had to shut down operations due to the pandemic.
To prevent any future business closure, organisations are not just focusing on growth strategies but also planning for business continuity and contingency. By investing in risk analysis and management, companies can devise strategies to respond to unexpected crises that may threaten business survival in the future.
Perhaps the biggest lesson learnt from the pandemic is embracing the right technology to cushion against sudden catastrophes. The pandemic accelerated the adoption of technology and digitalisation as businesses realised their transforming effects.
With the right investments in technology, many businesses were able to scale business operations and innovate in a time when others were struggling to survive. AI and automation helped organisations streamline complex business functions and eliminate redundant tasks. And cloud-based tech tools helped employees collaborate, reduce paperwork and improve performance.
Business leaders across the globe learnt how crucial it was to build a leadership pipeline to ensure business continuity and improve organisational resilience. Fostering resilience in employees and preparing them for future roles and responsibilities suddenly became the need of the hour.
Mere leadership training is no longer sufficient by future leaders must be scouted, groomed, prepared and tested over time. By identifying linchpin positions, integrating succession planning with leadership development and measuring progress regularly, organisations can prepare an army of leaders of tomorrow who are ready to take on responsibilities and challenges.
TALENT ACQUISTION STRATEGIES
While in the first year of the pandemic, employees held onto their jobs for dear life lest they might lose them, the second year reversed the roles. With surging demand for tech talent across the globe, employees began to leave existing jobs for better roles in droves.
The ‘Great Resignation’ taught employers how hard retaining employees can be and why they must build robust talent acquisition strategies. To win the war for talent, many organisations have partnered with online hiring platforms to leverage their abundant resources, advanced technologies, fast hiring velocity and vast geographical footprint.
The Covid-19 pandemic has fundamentally altered how we work, hire and live. HR teams across the globe have learnt innumerable lessons no playbook could have taught them. Organisations have hatched innovative and novel strategies no business could have foreseen two years ago. Many of the past strategies have been abandoned and organisations have accepted constant and continuous learning and changing is the only way forward. What the next year brings cannot be ascertained, but the two years of the Covid-19 pandemic have taught every business countless valuable lessons that can help them brave future crises.