Most company leaders are now working through scenario planning about how to approach a return to operations. Considerations include compliance, safety, customer impacts, facility and labor costs, operational considerations, supply chain factors and more. The best of them are also layering the tough business decisions they have to make, through the lens of their organizational values and leveraging that in how they communicate these difficult decisions.
This is a perfect time for companies to lean into the shifts that have been accelerated due to the magnitude of changes as businesses adapted to the new world with COVID-19. Many are reviewing their business model and scrutinizing fixed costs such as real estate, office space, and labor. Others are scenario planning to reduce dependencies in supply chain and ensure IP protection. Some are questioning fundamentals about how to rebuild and if they can survive.
We’re helping leaders integrate the positive shifts into their business models and consider the multitude of options of how both the economy and workforce might respond to our go forward future. Here are five areas of consideration that leadership teams should have robust discussions about as it relates to their strategic scenario planning.
1. Leadership Capabilities
In many ways, this situation was a leadership moment of unprecedented importance. If you are leader, you likely felt (and feel) the pressure to lead your teams and organization, make decisions, communicate properly…all while dealing with the personal impact, worries and stress that the COVID-19 situation has brought to us all. Leadership is needed more than ever.
There have been lots of resources around managing remote teams, building resiliency, and managing wellness. These are certainly important now and going forward. What we see across clients and industries is a broader need for building basic management skills that develop confidence in our ranks of management for effectively managing performance, creating desirable work environments that engage and retain top talent and changing internal systems to adapt to the way work and the workforce have changed. This leadership is critical for ongoing business success.
This is an area that employers should build into their investment roadmap. While it might not be something everyone can do immediately, it will become critical as businesses stand back up and settle into ongoing operation.
2. Talent Sources
Now is an opportunity for companies to build or rebuild their workforces including both employees and less traditional forms of talent providing for specific skills and greater flexibility. Gig talent, or the flex workforce, provides companies with new options that allow for them to invest in the critical skills needed to implement their business strategies without the long-term commitment or added fully burdened costs of employee benefits, 401ks, etc. With the way the gig economy has expanded, expert level talent can be accessed directly to deliver on critical projects or accelerate key strategies. Talented people have chosen to become independent workers and are working in their areas of expertise. While there are compliance and vendor management considerations, there are many methods to access this talent.
Our company for example, Gig Talent (www.gogigtalent.com) , specializes in vetted, certified human resources consultants and leadership coaches who not only help companies build their talent strategies, employee policies, and develop leadership capabilities, but can be tapped for projects and interim assignments to augment internal teams during times of need. This flexibility is critical for employers who need to be thoughtful in their fixed overhead costs and still need to invest in critical projects and functions that are needed at this time. The Gig Talent Certified Consultant certification provides employers with confidence that reduces complexity and compliance concerns.
Employers should be considering their mix of talent and expand from the traditional ideas of having a 100% employee driven workforce. Think about how we design the work and break it down from a job to specific tasks and projects that are the most critical and who can deliver that work in the most efficient, cost effective ways.
3. Employee Preferences & Engagement
There are many aspects of employee preferences that have been changing in recent years. The increase in of people choosing to work in the gig economy, the increase in desired remote work and flexible work schedules, a new expectation of work/life integration, and an increased value of corporate responsibility and sustainability are not new. However, these trends are now being codified into the expectations of the workforce today.
Many leaders found themselves surprised by the way their organizations were able to adapt to working remotely. While some industries were not able to adjust, many who had resisted this change were pleasantly surprised with the productivity that employees were able to deliver.
Leadership teams may then be reassessing physical footprints and expenses related to facilities and travel. While also investing in collaboration tools and other technologies to enhance effectiveness across the organization. Global teams are sharing feedback that they enjoyed a more inclusive environment on global calls with everyone at their own computer rather than “us in a conference room” and “everyone else” from their own place around the globe. People were more able to participate and ask questions than in the more traditional model.
Companies are dependent on their employees to bring their full engagement to work to ensure delivery of strategic priorities and deliverables. As we begin to go back to work during this time of recovery, employees will likely have integrated some of this experience into their personal preferences. Through the lens of retention, engagement and productivity, considering broader flexibility of work arrangements will be important for companies to consider. Agreeing on the strategy and drafting associated policies and communications need to be part of the preparation organizations are prioritizing now.
It might seem overwhelming to do all of this while maintaining a sustainable business, quality of work, customer engagement and ensure compliance in an increasingly complex landscape, but we are going to do it. Leadership teams and Boards of Directors are making difficult decisions and leading their organizations through today’s turbulence. It is not a one size fits all solution in regards to organizational strategy, but if you assess these three areas and build a plan that fits your business, you will find yourself better positioned to excel as we move forward.