Is your people management strategy viable in the long term? – Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Malta: Is your people management strategy viable in the long term?

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This article originally appeared in the October 2021 issue of “The Accountant”.

It is understandable that at the start of the pandemic many organizations focused primarily on “riding the wave” and survival. It was an unprecedented situation where even sectors not directly affected were preparing for the worst. However, the measures adopted to survive often run counter to the strategies one would employ to develop and maintain an adaptable workforce that can focus on the long-term sustainability of the business.

In 2020, many companies chose to restructure and relinquish roles that were not directly involved in the revenue-generating elements of their business. Others cut training budgets, stalled salary growth, or discontinued other perks and perks that made staff feel recognized and motivated. But a year and a half after the start of the pandemic, some companies seem reluctant to abandon this philosophy of survival and return to a growth mindset.

The reality is that in the short term, people are usually ready to step in and understand that their business may be in dire straits. People can accept that their roles are extended to also supervise or perform functions that would previously have been the responsibility of someone else. However, problems begin to arise when this remains the modus operandi of the business long after the business is no longer in jeopardy. From a sense of obligation and loyalty to helping their business succeed, employees begin to resent and reap their benefits. Aside from these negative feelings shared within the workforce that can impact employer branding, the real demands of extended roles, high expectations and lack of investment in resources are starting to take their toll. .

When employees are overwhelmed and tired, they don’t have the energy or the free space to innovate or think proactively. They remain focused on ‘survivability’ mode and focus on day-to-day needs, addressing the most pressing concerns and making sure nothing goes wrong. This goes completely against a growth mindset that ensures that what is important is on the agenda before it becomes critical and the company is at the top of its game, in ahead of industry trends and exceeding customer expectations.

A business philosophy focused on holistic growth, which identifies the skills, attitudes and values ​​it needs to achieve its goals, and then establishes a plan to attract those people to the market. It ensures that its workforce remains sharp and technically competent in the face of a complex socio-economic climate and invests in its people and the resources they need to do their best, rather than seeing such an investment as biting into its results. It ensures that performance expectations are clearly defined and implements a support mechanism to help people achieve their goals and remove people who are not on the same line as the team quickly and effectively. He listens to what his employees are looking for to be more productive, then sets an action plan on achievable results that could mean better retention of key talent. And while most employees can see past the frills of free health insurance, extra days off, or fruit in the office kitchen, these perks contribute to the sense of appreciation employees feel, in particular. when their performance is stable, goals are met and competition for top talent is still fierce.

Perhaps one of the most discussed changes brought about by the pandemic has been the change for many organizations to adapt to remote working when it was not a normal aspect of their corporate culture. Employees around the world have taken to social media to demand that such measures remain in place, as for many flexibility and trust are even more essential than other perks. This represents a unique opportunity for many companies to think long term and think win-win. What could have been a quick fix brought on by sudden events could be a shift in the workplace – a way to retain top talent while reducing the costs attributed to having employees on site.

Needless to say, for a business that comes out of survival mode, being efficient is essential. Adding people to a team or suddenly creating new roles doesn’t necessarily equate to increasing productivity or increasing profits. Careful consideration needs to be given to what kind of resources the team needs and how these are likely to change based on customer trends and the dynamic nature of the environment in which the business operates. However, while being efficient and lean is absolutely essential, in some companies the pursuit of efficiency leads leaders to lose sight of the big picture and rather than lean, they run companies that are metaphorically undernourished and running the risk of being exhausted.

Organizations that aim to thrive in the years to come should think about their long-term human strategy and ensure that it is as sustainable as their corporate strategy and business plan. The COVID-19 pandemic will not suddenly disappear and neither will the other socio-political challenges at the local and international level. Developing a sustainable human resources management strategy must be aware of the long-term needs of the organization and consider the reasons that draw new blood and keep employees engaged and performing. Such organizations need to build teams that are resilient, flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances, agile enough to change course quickly, and with enough leeway to think strategically and innovate when old ways no longer serve the business well. business.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.

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