At the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, organisations were forced to quickly transform to survive and adapt to the new normal. Now as companies emerge from the disruption two years later, they find themselves at the crossroads with the rapidly changing HR landscape. The seismic shifts are pushing more changes and business leaders need to take note of how these changes will impact them in the future. The following are some of the changes organisations need to be prepared for:
1. The great resignation
Many companies are now facing a wave of employee turnover for a variety of reasons. Stress and burnout from working throughout the pandemic has made employees to re-evaluate their career choices. Others have quit their jobs to pursue self-fulfilling jobs. Then there those who seek a better fit, better work culture or better pay elsewhere. Whatever the reason, businesses must not get caught off-guard when this trend materialises within their organisation and have strategies to deal with such predicament.
2. Market volatility The ongoing Russia-Ukraine war has led to market volatility that is being felt the world over. As a major crude oil producer, economic sanctions against Russia has only resulted in higher natural gas prices, which in turn, is feeding inflation. Additionally, the war has led to shortages in raw materials exported by both Russia and Ukraine, as well as shipping delays and higher prices.
3. Millennials in the workforce Unlike generations before them who stayed on with their employers for decades due to a multitude of reasons such as job security and loyalty, this new generation of millennials place work-life balance above else. Many who find their jobs stressful make the bold move to leave their jobs. As a young and restless workforce, the gig economy also comes across as an attractive option, with the promise of flexible work hours.
Strategies to stay afloat
Legacy models may not work anymore for organisational performance post COVID-19. Companies need to develop strategies that can help them remain resilient and competitive. Employees must be motivated to think beyond their job roles to stay adaptable in changing times. Here are some strategies that companies must adopt to survive:
1. Focus on the core
At times like this, having a big workforce can be both a distraction and a huge overhead. With a more unstable and fluid workforce, onboarding and offboarding of employees is going to be a very regular affair. In managing this, the focus can shift from the core objective as they become busy onboarding and training employees. Thus, it pays to focus on retaining a core set of employees who provide the most value to the business. Provide an attractive remuneration package to these vital employees to prevent external poaching, increase retention as well as boost morale and motivation.
2. Outsource non-core functions
Anything that can be outsourced should be outsourced. It’s advisable to move non-essential functions to external agents or third parties. For example, hiring marketing or programming specialists from Gig marketplaces like Upwork or outsourcing the whole HR function to external consultants Furthermore, it’s easier to onboard an external agent than hiring an employee and similarly, it’s also easier to replace an external agent when the job is not up to standard.
3. Remote working forever (if possible)
If anything, this pandemic has proven that remote working is possible and highly effective. After two full years of the pandemic, employees and companies are now more ready and structured than ever to support remote working. Instead of getting all employees back to the office, it makes sense to offer the WFH option for employees. If there’s a need for physical office, embrace the co-working and hotdesking set-up. Offices set-ups are expensive to upkeep and maintain, and the money saved on could be spent on employee benefits and salaries. Provide value to the people who generate the most value to the business.
4. Leverage on cloud systems
By now, companies have no excuse NOT to totally embrace cloud systems. Firstly, it supports remote working and it also allows you to work more seamlessly with the outsourced agencies or third parties as mentioned earlier. Organisations should particularly invest in analytical tools, which are rapidly becoming mainstream. These tools will ensure optimisation of workforce costs. For example, JustLogin HR Cloud platform allows
companies to access all the key functions of HR services, like payroll, leave and attendance services via the cloud through their mobile devices. Employee costs will continue to pose a challenge for organisations battling a slowdown in global and domestic demand, raw material availability, and logistical challenges.
Organisations are sure to face an inconsistent, unpredictable, and erratic recovery path as COVID-19 disruptions continue to negatively impact the global economy. We believe that businesses will need to deploy zero-based workforce planning based on digital job evaluation and other strategic workforce planning tools to ensure their organisation structures are re-aligned to the new business realities in the post-COVID-19 world.
5. Train and retrain
With a smaller and leaner team, focus on upskilling and training. Now you have to do more with less. Companies should consider critical skills as those that will be useful no matter how an employee’s role may evolve. Digital skills, higher cognitive, social and emotional skills, as well as adaptability and resilience, are skills that can keep an employee effective as job roles change. The near future is also seeing work trends changing from roles linked to titles to roles within projects according to their abilities and skills.
The constantly evolving HR management landscape presents opportunities for companies to relook at their existing policies and structures and take a proactive approach to futureproofing for the decades to come. While embracing these upheavals in the workplace might seem daunting at first, organisations are well-placed to adapt and thrive with the right strategies in place.