One thing that has been a constant throughout the pandemic has been change. And just when we figure out how to deal with the change from one situation, the world and/or the government throws at us another change. So how do we deal with a world that as written in David Bowie’s song “Changes” is ch-ch-changing?
That’s a question I’ve been addressing over the past few months in pretty much every presentation or consult I’ve done. So in this blog, I thought I’d share how I answer this question:
1) There’s been a desire, a need for connection and community
First, there’s been a desire, a need, for connection and community. With so much uncertainty and fear in the world, we’ve needed to be connected more than ever and relied on our community as well. The creative and great work that companies have done in this space has served as a lifeline to our employees, helping them through the chaos and uncertainty, helping them feel connected and have hope.
2) We’ve been celebrating the good in the world
Second, we’ve been celebrating the good in the world, recognising the good in others. It’s been lovely to see how people are doing this, whether it’s with claps for the NHS, companies creating new pandemic-related recognition eCard (see example below from Reward Gateway) or, in the case of the village where I live, recognition from the cake fairy (here’s a blog I wrote about her).
3) There’s been a strong focus on inclusion and being human
Next, there’s been a strong focus on inclusion and being human. These topics are separate but related, and talk about inclusion and belonging to make everyone in our workforce feel accepted, feel appreciated, and be able to be their true selves, so to be human.
4) There’s a new found belief that flexible working works
I can’t talk about change without mentioning flexible working, which, drumroll please . . . . companies are finding actually works. It’s a shame that it’s taken a crisis to prove this, but the good news is that it’s happening and hopefully more companies will continue to offer it in some way post pandemic.
A survey conducted by Willis Towers Watson found that employees have managed to remain productive in most organisations despite the challenges posed by COVID-19. In fact, only 15% of companies surveyed saying that remote working had had a material negative impact on their business.
5) Wellbeing is high on everyone’s agenda
Another change which will be no surprise to anyone is wellbeing, which I’m sure is high on everyone’s agenda. Whether it’s physical, mental, financial or social, everyone is dealing with the challenges in these areas in one way or another due to the pandemic.
One area that has certainly jumped to the top of everyone’s agenda is mental wellbeing, and with data saying that that one in two people in the UK feeling down, depressed or hopeless about the future due to the COVID-19 crisis, putting 41% of the nation’s mental health at risk, you can certainly understand why. The good news is that companies have really risen to the challenge, doing things to support their workforce’s wellbeing. Here’s an example of what Twinkl Educational Publishing with their “It’s OK” wellbeing campaign:
6) There’s a need for a quicker and more agile approach
The next change has to do with speed and flexibility, which I’m sure that each and every one of you has felt. With things changing so quickly, it’s put demands on all of us to be able to quickly come up with and implement programmes. I know that it’s been challenging, but let me stop for a moment to say a huge well done!!
Let me also say that this will continue, hopefully not as manic, but we will continue to be asked to move quicker and be more flexible, so it’s important for us to make sure that we can do this, looking at how we can streamline our processes, removing things that get in our way and slow us down.
7) We’ve shown we can do more with less
And it’s not just less time, we’ve also had less money, being asked to deliver more with less of it. But again, many have risen to the occasion, and have made every penny and pound count to connect and support your employees throughout the pandemic. And as much as I’d like to say that once the pandemic is over we’ll all be given tons of money, unfortunately this will not happen, so we need to continue to find ways to strategically use the money we have to meet the changing needs and continue to drive engagement.
8) There’s a desire and need to leverage technology
And the final one which I look at as an enabler, is technology. For many companies, technology has been invaluable throughout the pandemic, helping them not only reach a dispersed workforce, but do so in an effective and engaging way. We have seen the power of technology, so watch this space on how it continues to change to help meet our changing needs.
Let me end by asking you a question – How are you going to ch-ch-change what you are doing now and what you do in the future to address them? I look forward to exploring and addressing this with you as the months pass and as we get to the other side of much of this change. Until then, all the best and stay safe!
About the author:
Debra Corey is a highly experienced and award-winning HR leader, world-class speaker, three-time author, consultant, and was named one of the top 101 global employee engagement influencers. She’s had a varied career, working for global companies such as Gap Inc., Merlin Entertainments and Reward Gateway, where she’s developed and delivered HR strategies in a rebellious way, pushing the boundaries and challenging the status quo to truly drive employee engagement.
In 2019 Debra founded her own company, DebCo HR, where as Chief Pay It Forward Solutions Officer she’s inspiring and helping others to bring out their inner rebel and drive business change.