Several years have passed since the world saw the last black swan event, which not only impacted public health across the globe but also jolted world’s most thriving economies. We are witnessing the most unprecedented and unexpected pandemic, without much clarity on how long it will continue. It is then not surprising to see many businesses are shuttering down, while others are surviving on the edge.
The pandemic is also, however, accelerating one of the biggest business transformations in decades. Beneath the noise of panic and reactivity, there is an invitation to radical new possibilities, which were either not envisaged, or were years away. While we strive to ensure business continuity, there is a need to do something unusual to sow the seeds for extraordinary new emergence. The opportunity is to create a new realm with the way we are connecting, communicating & engaging with our most valuable asset – ‘Our People’. They are the ones, who have kept organizations alive and kicking through the most difficult situations, including this pandemic. Maintaining a balance between work and personal responsibilities – employees, have certainly left no stone unturned to keep the business going, while everything else came to a halt.
In supporting them, the talent management mantra is really to: Reset, Relearn and Rejuvenate. This approach is deeply rooted to three tenets of employee engagement focused on - sharing leadership vision and direction transparently – unfiltered & uninhibited, equipping managers in meeting the basic emotional needs of their teams, and facilitating frequent conversations and even just simply touching base – uninterrupted dialoguing through formal & informal channels.
In the current scenario, it is important to press the reboot button on the pre-pandemic ways of working. We need to transition talent into a completely new interface, gearing them up during the crisis, but also preparing for a post-COVID-19 world. Technology was certainly an important addition to our lives and helped us stay together, while at a distance - being more productive and efficient. However, there still stands a heightened need for appreciation of human emotions – in which practicing empathy stands as the nerve center – listening to our people constantly, through official platforms like surveys across functions and levels; regular informal engagements with non-agenda catch ups and ‘check ins’ - bringing in that much required ‘we’re all in this together’ sentiment.
The lockdowns also allowed a lot of time to people to explore beyond work. Many companies have leveraged this opportunity to upskill their people through a plethora of learning avenues and showing them the true commitment to transform the current Work from Home (WFH) scenarios into high engaging Learn from Home (LFH) scenarios. These could include trainings led by cross-functional teams or curated content and case studies from Indian and international platforms for people managers, to help them lead in crisis. It is also vital to keep a variety of byte size trainings covering a wide variety of topics related to personal and professional enhancements.
So, resetting and relearning helps address professional apprehensions, but it is imperative to work on mitigating the personal risk faced by each one of our people. Organizations need to weigh on the needs of the mind, body, and soul to unite, revitalize, and feel at ease during this crisis. When times become challenging, adding a dash of fun can get those smiles back with constant lighthearted engagements. For instance, a social app challenge that connects employees across levels, even while being physically apart. There are hard times for each of us but a little harder for those struggling to make ends meet. In this, organizations need to come together to up their CSR game contributing generously towards the ones who are in need. This will further create a sense of sympathy within the organization, instilling our very own rendition of the ‘PPE’ = Positivity + Passion + Empathy – the proven mantra for the organization during the pandemic.
In conclusion, we can say that it’s important to remain calm in testing situations, while continuously creating an environment of empathy and solicitude for the ones who are working for the organizations, to keep the business alive and hence, thrive. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we need to evolve while we are passing through it, to be able to reach our destination.