By | Prof. Richard R. Smith | www.peoplematters.in
As vaccines roll out, business leaders are starting to emerge from their pandemic hideaways and prepare to go back to the office. This may require some people to re-learn how to wear a necktie or heels as we re-engage in corporate office life. As businesses across sectors start to ramp up initiatives and growth activities, new waves of hiring and quests for talent are already in full gear. In many countries, we see pent-up demand for career changes or job shifts that were put on hold during the pandemic. Thus, it appears that we are on the verge of a post-pandemic talent race!
How do we prepare for this talent race and what must we do to retain and attract the talent we need for our organisation? First, we consider the new work patterns that may be offered as part of the employee value proposition. Second, we evaluate how we manage a hybrid workforce to ensure future success.
Identifying new work patterns
Rather than rushing back to the same work patterns and practices, many might suggest that firm leaders have an opportunity to rethink the assumptions for how, where, and when is done. There are several considerations when evaluating new work patterns.
- Not available to Everyone – While this may be true in some cases, many work environments such as manufacturing and consumer services require a physical presence. In other cases, the capital expense of real estate, equipment, or access to resources would naturally limit the portability or flexibility of work.
- Alternative Locations – However, some firms will have the luxury to rethink work practices. In these cases, likely knowledge work and back-office processing work, firms do have the opportunity to reimagine work in some ways. This might include moving to more distributed locations such as satellite clusters in suburbs or more flexibility to live in alternative locations with occasional travel to the office or client sites.
- Fewer Travel Requirements – Many businesses will have the opportunity to rethink business travel. For professional services firms and many multinational organisations, the cost savings of business travel has been a hidden help during the pandemic. While video meetings may not entirely replace in-person gatherings, reducing travel costs and time can provide significant business benefits.