In the case of Federations, such as Australia, Germany, and the UAE, the coordination and collaboration between State and Federal Governments has been key to managing the COVID-19 pandemic. The speed with which the government and public sector agencies have been able to respond has increased trust in government and public sector leadership. Trust in government is at an all-time high, up 11 points to 65% (2020 Edelman Trust Barometer).
The community has responded proactively, collectively and collaboratively with government. The result currently is that the risk has been contained and we are navigating our way out.
The way out is much harder than the way in. Loosening the lock down, even in conditions of relative success, is fraught with difficulties.
Phased Workforce Challenges and Opportunities – The challenge to sustaining these:
First phase when the crisis broke. Much recruiting stopped cold. Activities such as assessments, promotions, internal transfers, coaching and development etc. almost all ground to a halt. Organisational focus has been about the safety of employees own and family safety and ensuring companies have enough cash to survive.
In May clients began to re-engage and Continue existing searches where the client and candidate had met in person pre-lockdown. Initially challenging, all parties have adapted quickly to varying degrees. The transition to the continuation phase began as organisations realised their back up plans worked, that the global technology infrastructure (Internet, Zoom, Cyber Security, etc.) supported a fully distributed work force and the culture shift associated with not being physically together took hold.
It is too early to tell which trends will emerge as organisations and individuals are starting to learn what works and what doesn’t. What is clear is the crisis has shone a spotlight on whatever were the strengths and weaknesses going into this mess.
This is the current phase. Arbiter and NGS Global are working with clients around the world that have initiated and completed new Executive Search and Leadership Development programs in the Covid era. All phases of these programs are planned for a remote process (kick-off meeting through to on-boarding). This adaptation phase is also reflected inside the organisation as the traditional rhythms of Human Resource management re-emerge (Internal transfers, promotions, performance reviews, etc.)
This is the most exciting and unknowable. The big debate about the future of work. How dense will workplaces be when this is over? Which job functions can be done either from less expensive corporate real estate or from peoples homes. What are the cyber security implications if more people have sensitive work content or access secure systems from home? How will Assessment,Training and Development be transformed?
It is too early to tell which trends will emerge as organisations and individuals are starting to learn what works and what doesn’t.
What is clear is the crisis has shone a spotlight on whatever were the strengths and weaknesses going into this mess. Those organisations that had strong culture (high trust, communication, common values) were able to perform better. Longer term results will be driven by the Management’s ability to get to the innovation phase quicker.
There has been, in our experience, a significant increase in Positive Patriotism, an elevated appreciation of Public Sector and front-line staff and the importance of technology. The ongoing challenge for leaders will be to ensure that this is reinforced and the value these add continues to be reconfirmed and appropriately rewarded.
Continuing to listen to the voice of the community and the workforce will be key to on going trust in Leaders.
“If you are doing it for me, without me, you are doing it to me.”