Most organizations have managed to appropriately respond to the post-lockdown measures by championing their workforce’s health and safety needs. Leaders have managed to resume operations with solid continuity plans and technologies such as intelligent automation. However, given the lasting changes that this crisis has brought to enterprises and their people, leaders must continue to demonstrate their commitment to the needs of their workforce. Today, employees need more than a focus on their physical health and safety– understanding these needs is the key to building resilience, which will help enterprises thrive in the post-recovery bounce-back.
Work, the workplace, and the workforce– Understanding the flux
Amid this global pandemic-induced crisis, businesses have been thrown to a vortex of forces that have caused massive shifts in the nature and future of work, and consequently, the workplace. Naturally, the workforce is caught in this whirlwind of change too. Enterprises are enabling remote operations, and looking toward novel technologies such as intelligent automation to bring cost-competitiveness to their business operations. As a result, the tasks and responsibilities of established roles in the organization are undergoing years’ worth of changes over weeks.
At the same time, the workplace is becoming more fluid, and seeping into employees’ homes and personal lives. Consequently, the employee experience has taken a massive turn. Leaders must first invest in understanding the results of this shift and respond appropriately to foster resilience at the individual and also at the team level, before expecting a resilient organization.
The need of the hour
So what can be done to foster resilience in the organization? Leaders must contrive to bring about the following in the workforce dynamic:
- Rethinking communication: The pandemic led organizations to adopt new digital channels of communication. Most employees comfortably eased in working with these digital channels. However, understanding and making it clear as to what needs to be communicated to whom through which digital channels, and communicating the underlying rationale for these directives (such as bandwidth considerations or productivity implications) remains a key consideration for managers and team leaders.
- Adaptability, transparency, and trust: In the past year, leaders have played a critical role in creating comfort with the dizzying pace of change within their teams. Leaders can alleviate the distrust and speculation that can disintegrate teams and their purpose. They need to stay transparent about evolving protocols, be credible and reliable in communicating organizational changes, and relate with employees regarding work-life issues (keeping the right balance in mind). Here lies the key to fostering adaptability towards the evolving dynamic, well beyond changing skill requirements.
- Inclusive engagement: Remote operations has triggered continuity and recovery plans into action. But sustaining this shift also calls for rethinking inclusivity while remaining respectful of employees’ individualities and their need to feel connected with the larger community.
- United through purpose: Leaders must effectively communicate the why behind key organizational decisions. They must translate these high-level decisions into actionable steps for their teams to feel connected to the organization’s values, and where they are headed in times of uncertainty and constant change. Moreover, leaders must not refrain from infusing narratives from and about their own lives as they connect with their teams. Ultimately, this helps individuals closely identify with high-level directives, and feel understood on a personal level.
The future of employee experience
These mechanisms will not only help employees overcome the underlying decision and isolation fatigue but also help instill confidence in individuals’ abilities to introduce improvements and changes to the organization with the agency