CoAdvantage- If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught the business world anything, it’s that a resilient workforce is a key factor in long term success, particularly when navigating crises and major disruptions or upheaval.
Even if such a once-in-a-century pandemic does not occur again in our lifetimes, other emergencies, disasters, and crises will happen. The same resilience that helped (or would have helped) employers navigate the pandemic more effectively will help in other emergency situations.
Thankfully, there are many different tactics that companies can use to make the workforce more resilient in the face of future emergencies.
1: Recruit for it.
Try to hire people who are inherently resilient. This is obviously a difficult characteristic to identify, but resilience is really founded on a lot of soft skills, including adaptability, creativity, flexibility, problem-solving, and more. Look for these kinds of skills in new hires, and you’ll almost certainly be hiring more resilient workers.
2: Cultivate a “psychologically safe” work environment.
This is a recommendation from industry analysts at advisory firm Deloitte. They argue that employees will be more resilient if they feel safer and more secure in their positions. This means the employer needs to take steps to provide and advocate for benefit programs and workplace practices that foster personal well-being and job security.
3: Foster a sense of community in the workplace.
Forbes Insights and Capital One conducted a survey in 2020 on how to maintain workforce resilience, and they found that workplace camaraderie is “the connective tissue that creates strong teams [without which even strong teams] quickly fall apart.” This team- and community-building can be particularly tough in virtual, remote working environments, so it requires planning and dedication from the employer.
4: Address any skillset gaps.
Gartner has looked at the question of work-related skills and found that “for the average job, the number of skills required has increased 10% year on year.” Complicating matters further, half of the skills needed for a job today are new. A resilient workforce must possess the appropriate skillsets and capabilities to meet changing needs. This is partly an issue of recruitment (finding employees with the right skills at the right time), but it’s also partly an issue of ongoing training and skills development.
5: Put more effort into workforce planning.
This is a tip from advisory group Accenture. They recommend that organizations “start with current needs and look into the future” in assessing what skills and workforce models will best position the organization for future success. From there, employers need to create a plan for building a workforce that can weather future storms. Workforce flexibility is key; Gartner says “rigidity actually holds us back from responding to change.”
6: Facilitate flexibility.
This is another finding from Gartner: “HR leaders noted that less than 20% of their workforce is actually able to change direction in response to changing client needs and priorities.” Gartner describes this as an issue of “workplace friction.” Organizations need to review how work gets done to ensure that workflows are aligned correctly and sensibly, that teams are not overwhelmed, that resources are available when and where needed, and that processes can be adapted as needed in order to minimize that friction.
CoAdvantage, one of the nation’s largest Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), helps small to mid-sized companies with HR administration, benefits, payroll, and compliance. To learn more about CoAdvantage’s ability to create a strategic HR function in your business that drives business growth potential, contact us today.