Shifting the lens with which we look at talent, the Pandemic forced companies to reconsider what traditionally has been the “way it’s done” and re-engineer their talent toolkit dramatically.
In the early days of 2020, dealing with layoffs and hiring freezes to aligning priorities with the ever-shifting business world, recruiters and candidates alike displayed agility and resilience like never before.
Even as the world catapults back to a new normal, there is an element of uncertainty which will remain a certainty.
Here are some of the top workplace trends to look out for in 2021-
Remote working is here to stay
The hybrid workplace model is no longer “under deliberation”. It is here to stay and possibly causing a seismic shift in how organisations are viewing talent. “The world is our oyster” has become the new mantra to look at talent and even though this view is yet to set the talent acquisition heads’ desk ablaze with global CVs, the phenomena is slowly but firmly taking root in the service sector and will find itself meandering slowly into the brick and mortar sectors. In my view, however, the greatest impact of this emerging talent kaleidoscope will be greater diversity and inclusion in this new digital workplace. Sections of society that were earlier restricted by time and space are now available to the remote workplace. Women who often dropped off the talent radar unable to commute due to familial restrictions, differently-abled professionals, and the post-retired workforce, among many others are now integrating into the talent tapestry of the brave new world.
This, of course, would also require the HR function to further metamorph to manage and engage semi-virtual organisations. Industries like information and communication technology, e-commerce, and IT-enabled services who are already ahead of the curve on this journey would be leading the way in the hybrid work model.
Leading with purpose is a necessity
The Pandemic has been an impactful test of leadership that no case study can simulate. The manifold disruptions in the personal and professional lives of the everyday workforce and the blurring of all lines personal & professional across levels in organisations had ripple effects on how employers handled communication and talent management. Placing empathy and engagement at the centre of their strategy has become the calling card of post-pandemic “great” companies.
With the digital workplace now becoming ‘de rigueur’, the culture of the organisation can no longer be reinforced within the four walls of an office, rather it extends to what happens behind the screen. It is no longer an assumption but now becoming a reality that healthy work-life balance would take precedence over the traditional parameters of a company’s size and market value in driving the Employer brand.
Purpose, not profit, would determine how successfully an organisation would be able to acquire and retain critical talent.
While the idea of flexibility and collaboration is getting redefined, companies have to re-evaluate their entire playbook for compensation and move beyond the standard check-list. Better technology for WFH set-ups, investment in training and re-skilling, and redefining compensation are the top agenda items on the talent manager’s to-do list.
Expertise and Not experience accelerating the gig economy
The loss of permanent jobs in the pandemic has fuelled the growth of the burgeoning gig economy. This push to move from the conventional workforce to a short-term or assignment-based one has also been regulated by the Government of India which has recently shown its support by extending social security benefits to gig workers.
This innovative work model has allowed people the freedom to work on multiple projects at a time and the company to hire subject matter experts instead of a person who ticks off the long list of “essential” requirements. The flexibility offered by WFH already led to a shift towards goal-based working which when combined with the growing gig economy, places flexibility, expertise & passion as the most essential skills to consider when hiring.
Personal brand is important
“You are what Google says you are” has never been truer.
With our lives’ becoming increasingly “on display” on social media, some may believe that it has become easier to access jobs but I beg to differ. It has become increasingly more difficult to get noticed. Technology has allowed organisations to utilise data-driven processes which have now become central to background and reference checks when hiring.
Taking charge of your narrative and digital footprint is henceforth, even more critical.
For employers, your data is a tool to know you, via X-ray vision, to read between the lines of your resume. For employees, it is an incredible opportunity to showcase their potential, to build their personal brand based on “who they are” and not who they work for. This gradual shift is a monumental paradigm shift for aspiring leaders who are now able to land their dream jobs or make the long-overdue career changes, accelerated through their reputation and expertise communicated through social media platforms.
Creating purpose-centric organisations, living and working in a virtual world and dealing with economic uncertainty has presented both opportunities and challenges for the recruiters However, amidst all this chaos, the war for talent and finding the right match continues unabated.