2020 and 2021 have proved to be chaotic for many businesses across all industries. Stores shut down, masks and social distancing became the norm, and many workers were forced to work remotely.
Remote work is now commonplace across various industries, including IT, technology, HR, and finance. With more people getting vaccinated, many questions arise regarding life in a post-pandemic world. This also goes for businesses. What will it take for companies to stay alive and thrive again in a competitive environment?
Donald McGannon, famed broadcasting executive, once said, “leadership is action, not a position.” Leaders across the globe will have to adapt to the ever-changing business landscape and take actionable steps to provide solid leadership within their organizations.
Let’s explore some of the changes leaders will face in 2021 and beyond.
Changing Responsibilities for Company Leaders
Company leaders will have to adjust their management style as we enter a post-pandemic business environment. Employees rely on their managers to guide them and help with various tasks, so leaders must step up to the challenge and take on new responsibilities.
Below are some of the changes that will likely occur as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s what leaders can expect to take on in their roles as businesses open their doors again.
1. Foster effective communication.
As a leader, you have a group of employees looking up to you for guidance. Lead by example and communicate well with your employees. Keep employees up to date and informed about the ongoing situation with the pandemic and any other timely news or business ventures. Progress can only be made by ensuring employees are clear on the role they serve in an organization.
There are rarely any downsides to over communicating. Analyze your current internal communication strategies, whether they’re digital or analog, and work on the areas that need improvement. Keep open lines of communication and encourage employees to speak candidly in times where it’s appropriate.
2. Have empathy.
Because the COVID-19 pandemic is yet to be a thing of the past, people are experiencing more intense emotions. Tensions are high, and most people are still on edge. HR leaders must acknowledge others’ feelings and be empathetic toward their circumstances.
Employees may be experiencing child care issues, health concerns, and various other activities, which can be overwhelming at times. Adopt an open-door policy and lend an ear to employees who need it.
3. Adapt and be flexible.
Based on the last two years, you’ve probably got some experience under your belt when it comes to being adaptable. This may have looked like adjusting to new work-from-home environments or contacting clients virtually. Regardless, being agile in your industry will prove beneficial for you, your employees, and the organization you lead.
Do your best to exercise patience in times of stress. Be open to new ideas and changing plans last-minute. It’s easier said than done, but it could help drive your business forward and remain competitive.
4. Adopt new technologies.
Digitization and automation may seem like buzzwords, but there’s evidence to suggest adopting advanced technology was necessary during the height of the pandemic. Avoid lagging behind your competitors and be willing to adopt new systems for your business, whether it’s a learning management system or new ergonomic furniture.
Train employees on new technologies so everyone is on the same page. Using new tech will give you a competitive edge and help drive business success.
5. Adjust to an ever-changing talent landscape.
Companies are constantly searching for the best candidates, and the talent pool is changing as people exit and enter the workforce. In order to stay competitive, company leaders will need to stress the importance of hiring quality candidates to their HR departments while staying on top of trends within the HR industry.
It’ll be necessary to hire skilled workers and focus on individual career development. Teaching additional skills to valued employees helps improve job performance and leads to more employees feeling engaged in their positions. Preparing a workforce for the future will be key in the post-pandemic business environment.
6. Prioritize employee well-being.
Both mental and physical well-being play a role in employee engagement and employee satisfaction. With more employees working from home, questions arise over how many hours they should be putting in during a workday.
The level of accessibility has changed in business culture, but employees must strike a work-life balance. Encourage employees to prioritize their well-being, and you should follow suit. When employees focus on wellness, everyone at the organization benefits.
As we reenter our places of work, it’s crucial to consider these factors. As a HR leader, it’s your job to create a strong company culture — so use these tips to help drive business growth and reach success.
Adapting to Change Is Necessary
While some embrace change, others resist it. However, in an ever-changing world, being adaptable to change is an essential characteristic of a leader. Remember what Donald McGannon said: “leadership is action, not a position.”
Guest blog submission:
Devin Partida is an HR and talent development writer. Her work has been featured on industry websites like Talent Culture, Entrepreneur and HR Cloud. Devin also oversees a team of editors and writers for ReHack.com.