The New Transformation Agenda: How We Think About People at Work

The 2020 pandemic hasn’t just disrupted the way we think about people at work, it’s truly accelerated the need to elevate the work experience through agile arrangements, digitizing where appropriate, and creating new rhythms for personal interaction. That used to sound transformational, yet the stunning new reality of virtual work has led many to become sick of zoom meetings as they struggle with back aches due to ill-fitting task chairs, and crave the in-person banter and camaraderie of their colleagues.

For the many whose work requires them to be in the physical workplace, they will continue to be challenged to get work done in a new physical and emotional environment. Many are sitting and standing farther away from their co-workers and customers, figuring out how to cover the tasks and projects that need to get done, often with fewer hands to do them.

How do we move forward then in thinking about people at work? People leaders and HR professionals are at the heart of facilitating the foundational changes to the work experience. They are confronted with challenges and issues never imagined: how to manage in-person and remote communities simultaneously, create cultural connection, and maintain learning and drive innovation. Employee wellness is now top of mind: creating space for this when the size of the organization may have shrunk and there’s still much work to be done. Never before have KPI’s and psychological wellness been discussed in the same sentence.

As the workforce has had no choice to pivot to new ways of working, many people practices currently in place are being found inadequate to address the changes required of us today and in the coming months and years.

Many organizations have invested heavily in technology and technology solutions as the heart of their innovation, and some HR practices have likewise benefitted from these investments. They have standardized processes and shifted productivity, yet the approach to work has remained relatively stagnant.

Now is the perfect time to rethink a new normal – a total workplace ecosystem where the workplace is no longer a building. It’s no longer a single destination, but a network of virtual and physical places that provides flexible and on-demand places to support convenience, functionality and well-being. Within that, the office itself will have renewed purpose – to provide inspiring destinations that strengthen culture connection, learning, bonding with customers and colleagues, and foster creativity and innovation.

In this context, we must resist any desire to over-work and over-design new policies and work processes, and create space for managers and team leaders to focus on the practices that help employees create extraordinary performance. From talent acquisition (the employee can now be the virtual office address) through onboarding and performance mastery, there are numerous innovation opportunities across the talent lifecycle. It’s truly time to move from basic to brilliant and consider, even incrementally, how employees can get the focus they need to be productive, collaborate better than ever, and remain energized throughout the day. Leaders need to focus on how to re-recruit their people within the evolving organizational mindset, demonstrate weekly attention to every team member, and create opportunities for everyone to be “all in” to drive improved people, place, and business performance.

Learn how to embrace the journey from basic to brilliant to shape your new workplace ecosystem. Visit www.basictobrilliant.ca; read the book, attend the on-demand webinars, and/or give us a call to talk through your issues.

To learn more about your organization’s readiness to take on the challenges ahead, try our Talent Innovation Diagnostic to get the pulse on your people practices.