2021 offers the opportunity to rethink and re-energise people practices to build stronger and more resilient teams by actively embracing and exploring alternatives. This was one of the key takeouts from the panel discussion during a Talenttalks webinar hosted on 4 February 2021. Read a summary of the discussion and watch a recording of the webinar.
In the wake of the change brought about by a global pandemic, 2021 offers leaders and HR practitioners the opportunity to rethink and reengergise people practices to build stronger and more resilient businesses by actively embracing and exploring alternatives. This was one of the key takeouts from the panel discussion during the first Talenttalks webinar hosted on 4 February 2021.
In recent years, before the emergence of COVID-19, many companies grappled with the concept of remote working despite a growing demand for more flexible working arrangements from employees. 2020 fast-tracked the shift to remote and hybrid working models and introduced many alternatives to traditional human resource models and practices.
Kirk Kruger, reward and executive remuneration consultant, highlighted that the radical shift towards working-from-anywhere has opened up new opportunities for both employers and talent. Previously employers were constrained by geography in their talent search, but where talented individuals reside is no longer a factor. “Some of the best talents are choosing to live where they want, around the world, and with the shift to remote working, they can now be in play in talent programmes where geography was previously a constraint. It opens up a tremendous opportunity, although we do need to think about the implication of time zones.”
Kruger also highlighted the importance of providing employees with the right tools to support remote working and lifestyle programmes that support their wellbeing as important levers in retention programmes. “Employees want to see their employers taking remote working seriously. Some people may well choose to stay or leave a company depending on how well they’ve embraced remote working.”
The economic impact of measures to address the pandemic has forced many employers to relook cost structures. Kruger emphasised the importance of looking for creative solutions to protect jobs and keep people employed. “There are good examples of work rotation and job sharing in Europe. These are alternatives that could help protect earnings for more people.”
With the rate, pace and scale of change increasing exponentially, agility has become a critical skill for the future. Change leadership and learning consultant Sarah Babb stressed we must include a focus on cultivating mental agility, cognitive ability and dispositional agility when we think about future-fit skills.
Babb highlighted the importance of future orientation in supporting teams to be better prepared for a future that will remain uncertain and fast-changing. “Using scenarios to help people explore future alternatives is a powerful tool. It can help them develop the capacity to live with change successfully. Secondly, we need to have generative learning that allows us to bank what we learn as our environment and the world around us shifts.”
One of the effects of the radical shift to remote working has been the emergence of the self-directed and devolved networked team with more decision-making powers. Babb explains that the efficacy stemming from this shift is core to nurturing a future orientation that underpins hope. “Being able to see a future and have the decision-making power to do something that will make a difference helps to connect people in teams and sustain their energy throughout the change.”
While many organisations are moving fast to bring about change, Babb raised concern that working in parallel universes can negatively impact people. “When people are spending one minute in an agile team working in the future and the next in the old reporting lines dealing with the pressure of business-as-usual, it causes cognitive overload and depletion. We need to help people transition more quickly into a new way of working. We also need to start designing work with the wellbeing of people in mind.”
As work shifted from the office to home in 2020, so too did learning and development (L&D). Learning and development consultant Linda van der Loo explained that the radical digital pivot following the shift to remote work presented an incredible opportunity for learning and development teams to deliver learning at the speed of business.
But to successfully deliver on the opportunity Van Der Loo argues that L&D practitioners need to invest in developing their skills in content curation, data analytics and learning how to effectively and engagingly facilitate learning virtually. “Digital transformation in organisations will require L&D teams to build a new set of skills, outside of the traditional skills, like instructional design, facilitation and training administration. New skills for L&D professionals are emerging all the time. The transformative CLO must be a change maestro.”
As leaders and HR practitioners consider the alternatives in building more resilient teams for the future, Vanessa Crawford, HR Executive, highlighted the importance of learning from employees and adopting practices that work. “People have a tremendous capacity to take the lead and to make shifts in the flow of business.”
If you are interested in setting up solutions to empower your remote workers and enable your business and processes to function from anywhere efficiently, do get hold of JEC Technologies Group, who very generously sponsored this event, https://www.jectech.co.za/tta-webinar-4-feb-2021