The post-COVID recovery of workplaces has been far from our minds in the midst of chaos and uncertainty.

united-nations-covid-19-response-a5occ9e7J7Y-unsplash-1Everyone’s energy has been put towards ensuring they remain employed; workers retain their jobs, revenue continues to be generated and businesses (and the people who run them) are going to be here in a post-COVID world. In short, the name of the game for the last 12 months has been survival. But with vaccines rolling out and the end finally in sight, we need to look beyond survival mode and begin planning for the future. 

Currently, people are simply happy to be employed at a time when hundreds of thousands of people are out of work as a result of the pandemic. But what happens when things go back to ‘normal’ or at least become ‘next to normal’? What happens when people are once again feeling secure and want to change jobs or switch roles?

While workers are generally happy with their companies’ coronavirus communication, there is a definite need to begin addressing how work has changed as a result of the pandemic. We need to be preparing for post-COVID working and considering the future of work, what’s next for HR, how the hiring process will change post-COVID and how to retain your best talent.

A transition is imminent, and we need to be ready for it. Here’s how to prepare:

Workforce Strategies for Post-Pandemic Recovery

The pandemic has certainly triggered a transformation in our lives. We’ve been forced to drastically change the way we work, travel, seek care, spend our free time and interact with friends and loved ones. 

The business world was already in a digital transformation, but COVID has rapidly accelerated this process. Now companies are shifting to automated solutions at an astonishing speed across different sectors. As we prepare for a post-COVID world, we will doubtless continue to seek answers in the digital sphere. 

In a post-pandemic world, the future of work – and of course, HR – will be shaped by the drastic shifts in consumer demand and buyer behavior patterns.

How to Respond, Recover and Thrive Post-COVID

maxime-OMZ9K6YjFaY-unsplashThe economic fallout from the pandemic cannot be underestimated. For businesses to get back on their feet, revenue recovery will be of paramount importance. While this may seem like an obvious statement, what isn’t so clear to many is that slow and steady will not win this particular race.

Rapid recovery will be the name of the game. As you consider how to prepare your business for a post-COVID recovery, you can forget about a gradual recovery. Instead, it’s time to completely rethink your revenue streams and shift direction to effectively outshine the competition, working from a strong position that can ensure long-term success.

Adaptability Is Key

Look at your people, consider how they are working, how they are thinking, how they feel, and react now, at this point in time. You may find the shift to remote working is better for them and something they want to continue. You might discover that a system you put in place as an emergency stopgap to survive the pandemic works better than what you used before.

In recent months you’ve been forced to adapt, and the one thing you’ve learned from that is that you are adaptable.

Companies that come out of the COVID crisis stronger than ever will be the ones that didn’t stop – the ones that saw the need to accelerate the shift to digital and continued to run with it. 

Take advantage of all the newly available data, now that entire workforces are working entirely in the digital sphere and companies that previously had zero virtual presence are operating online. Digest and analyze all that information and leverage it to align your business with the shifted needs of the marketing and your employees following the pandemic.

Prepare for Retention, Retention Strategies

atoms-C3rI_Fy84Wc-unsplashAs we move beyond the lockdowns and begin to emerge into a post-COVID world, people are rethinking the positions they were extremely grateful to have at the height of the pandemic. Many have been content to languish in roles they found unfulfilling, which paid them too little, expected too much and left them feeling undervalued. That complacency isn’t going to last.

Many have found their careers stall or make a significant U-turn in the last 12 months. And while employment under these circumstances – even in a job that’s less than ideal – was a cause for gratitude, that won’t be the case for very long.

Employee retention is even more important right now than it has ever been. Quality employees are at a premium. While it was effortless to keep them on board during the height of the crisis, they’re beginning to realize they have options.

Never forget that you’re not automatically going to be the best.

HR and People Priorities

Make your employee retention schemes a top priority. This is going to require a lot more than the obligatory foosball table in the break room. You need a powerful investment in ensuring the talent you spent so much time and resources recruiting stays with you.

Consider the incentives you have in place. A long-term plan to ensure employee loyalty through bonuses, pay raises and other perks and allowances should now be happening in conjunction with your post-pandemic revenue recovery plans. All that effort will be wasted if you don’t have the right people in place to carry out your recovery plans. 

Bear in mind the paradigm shift that all your employees have been forced to endure over the last year. Spending so much time at home can be a blessing and a curse (for your employees and your business). But love it or loathe it; people have grown accustomed to it. Their families have gotten used to it. And you may find they want to continue to work remotely.

Having something in place that allows them to do so – at least some of the time – is now absolutely essential.  

Final Thoughts

The world has changed. Businesses are never going to run in quite the same way again. And the future of work, not to mention the future of HR, hinges on adopting an evolution and change attitude.

Now is not the time to try to go back to ‘business as usual.’ Whatever that used to look like for you, it no longer has a place in the world. That is not to say you shouldn’t strive to return to a time of success and stability. Instead, you should shed those things that didn’t serve you during the pandemic and emerge into a post-COVID world fully embracing the things that ensured your survival.

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