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The workforce is fractured. This is how leaders need to bring people together

Compassion and humanity will be key at all levels to knitting back together a psychologically fractured workforce


For most businesses, the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic were a sprint. Digital transformation that would have taken years was completed in days, as vast swathes of the workforce began to work from home. Retailers and hospitality outlets switched to delivery-only models. In the U.K., HR professionals and business owners grappled with the complexities of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, enabling them to furlough staff rather than let them go, with the government paying 80% of the wage bill. In the U.S., Paycheck Protection Program loans meant to enable small businesses to keep workers on the payroll were challenging to navigate, if they were able to get the funds at all.

Several months later, it has become painfully, exhaustingly clear that what we thought was a sprint is, in fact, a marathon. The additional adrenaline rush of new ways of working is wearing off. We are fatigued. We are fed up. And it is starting to show.

In my role as senior stakeholder lead at the CIPD, the U.K.-headquartered professional body for HR and people development, I speak with HR leaders in major organizations on a regular basis. This has only increased during the pandemic as people directors look for external support and peer connection.

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