Today’s post comes to us from Workforce Institute board member David Creelman. Here he talks about 5 things you should know about your employees post pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic experience will have been a shock to many of your employees. Not all will have had the same experience and not all will react the same way. Nevertheless, here are 5 things to watch for that may be different in some parts of your employee population.
Risk aversion – The pandemic has taught us that everything we thought solid can melt into air. This might lead to heightened risk aversion. Employees might want more guarantees of security and leaders who ought to be risk-takers might shy away from appropriate risks. HR should consider if its employment value proposition is aligned with a new concern for security. CEOs will have to be alert for undue risk aversion in their leadership team.
Office aversion – Staying at home for a couple of months will have taught some employees just how much they hate the office. Unless you can find a way to let these people stay at home then they will be miserable. In addition, anyone pressured to meet a budget will be wondering if the company needs to be spending so much on office space given how many people proved they can work from home. Twitter is perhaps the first high-profile company to announce that employees who want to work from home can – “forever” if they want. Look for more announcements like this one.
New respect for leaders (or not) – The pandemic has been a real test for leadership. Leaders who treated their employees well will have earned a new level of respect. Others will have proven they can’t be relied upon. When employees lose faith in their leaders it eventually shows up in company performance at which point the leader’s days may be numbered.
Gratitude – Employees will be grateful that the pandemic is passing, and the perks of daily life are returning. We should all bask in this moment when people are in a good mood.
Perspective – Some people will have gone through a transformation in perspective. They may appreciate family in a new way; they may have come to value spiritual well-being over material well-being; they may have different priorities in life. Organizations will need to get to know their employees again and make sure that their practices and benefits align with the new world we all live in.
As the pandemic slowly is brought under control, keep an eye out for individuals in your organization who have changed in some subtle but important ways. This change will probably continue to evolve over time as it settles into their personality. Observing these changes will deepen your understanding of your workforce – and humanity at large.