COVID-19 is the first global pandemic to occur in more than 100 years. This means that every CEO, business owner, and human resources professional is facing a situation the likes of which they have never seen before. Among other things, the pandemic forced leaders to reconsider how they support existing workers and recruit new hires.
At first, the focus was on keeping everyone safe at a time when the disease wasn’t very well understood. Then, the focus shifted to adapting processes so staff could be hired and deployed with some degree of normalcy. Virtual assessments and interviews quickly took over.
Things are by no means the way they were pre-pandemic, but many organizations are welcoming people back into the office and looking at talent in a completely new way. In some cases, companies aren’t hiring, but they’re working on boosting the skills of existing employees and redeploying them where appropriate. Others are recruiting but focusing on different skills in new hires.
In a post-pandemic era, HR managers will need to be more responsive and flexible. Bureaucracy and uniformity, which were once commonplace, are unlikely to be effective going forward. One article published by McKinsey suggested that the new model should revolve around automation, connection, shifting demographics, and reduced transaction costs.
The authors, Asmus Komm, Florian Pollner, Bill Schaninger, and Surbhi Sikka, suggested that businesses “become more human” and focus on creating meaningful and enjoyable experiences for workers through inspiration and collaboration. Instead of talking about labor, they suggest an emphasis on talent. Instead of hierarchies, they support networks of teams, and instead of competitors, they want ecosystem collaborators.
The article points out that organizations which redeploy talent to match their strategic goals were more likely to do better than others in their industry. They recommended that companies place people in the most appropriate roles by examining where the organization creates value and how the best workers contribute to this.
The authors pointed out that creating the best possible employee experience would improve the business’ bottom line. That’s because the most successful companies are those that work with their people to create authentic, purpose-driven experiences that strengthen the performance of the individual, team, and organization.
Research shows that effective talent management increases organizational performance and boosts competitiveness. The role of HR departments is, therefore, crucial since a lot of work has to be done during and after the pandemic to improve morale. If HR personnel are not currently in charge of designing the employee experience, they should be. The HR role is no longer just about hiring and firing. In the current environment, reskilling talent is extremely important.
Reskilling can take two forms. Upskilling refers to improving workers’ existing skills, while retraining refers to providing workers with new skills that would allow them to change roles. Research by McKinsey shows that the majority of employers in the United Kingdom would see positive financial returns if they invested in reskilling their workers.
A November 2020 report found that 90% of the U.K.’s workers would need to be retrained in the next ten years to reap the full benefits of retooling. However, only 62% of employees received workplace training in 2017, and some of that was related to induction and health and safety.
The U.K. has seen a widening skills gap in the last few years due first to digitization and then the pandemic. However, it can be closed. Companies need to identify the extent of their skills gap, provide more and better training opportunities and promote a culture of lifelong learning.
Reskilling current workers offers several advantages over hiring new employees. For example, it allows organizations to avoid the costs associated with onboarding and gives them more control over salary expenses. Reskilling also helps companies to retain mature workers who have both institutional knowledge and the maturity that’s needed to navigate these uncertain times. This can add a new dimension to diversity efforts.
Another benefit of reskilling is that it boosts morale and makes employees feel valued. Workers are more motivated when their employers invest in them and encourage them to learn more. In fact, employees are more likely to stay when their employers contribute to their career development. This further highlights the need for HR departments to look at talent in a different way.
There’s a lot to be gained by seeing talent in a new way. One key aspect of the modern workplace is the inclusion of 50-plus employees. If you’re unsure about how to retain or attract mature workers, WiseForce Advisors is here to help. Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a consultation.