We have now made it through January of 2021, and we all feel the need to look ahead. The future isn’t exactly clear, but as leaders, we cannot sit by on the side-lines anymore. Now is the time to really look at what has sustained you in the last 11 months and think about where you want to go next. A big part of that decision is to evaluate and support the people who will get you to the next level.
Business leaders, regardless of industry, must realize that there is a real need for change coming. If their business hasn’t already made long-term plans for adaptation in the last year, it’s something that must be considered if you don’t want to be left behind. However, it’s incredibly hard to plan when the next few months remain so unpredictable.
We’d be very naïve to think that we ever can go back to business exactly as it was before, and all of our employees can go back to working in the same positions with the same responsibilities.
For one thing, we’re all much more reliant on technology, and online resources, so many businesses have had to speed up the already complex digitization process, leading to an urgent need for tech talent. With a rise in automation taking over the world of work, many roles are becoming obsolete. Machines and computers can often do the same job accurately, quickly, and efficiently at a lower cost. In a similar sense, the pandemic is making some industries reconsider operations. Take retail as an example; when we can all shop online, is there as much need for face to face customer service as there once was? Mass layoffs and job losses in customer-facing roles are raising questions about the future of work. We’ve seen more and more candidates choosing to re-skill and change career paths to embrace what is currently in demand.
Then there’s an issue of lifestyle changes affecting the workforce. Women are leaving the workforce to manage kids at home, seasoned Gen Xers are gaining skills and certificates to fit these roles, but often they are passed over for being” too experienced.” Women are returning to work with a skills gap because of their new responsibilities at home. With that said, we need to educate our hiring managers to be more flexible with what the definition of a perfect candidate is today in 2021.
We cannot rely solely on algorithms but instead must actually source and screen talent to find out what they can bring to your organization, not assume they are too expensive or experienced. It’s more important than ever that we take the time to talk to candidates and find out their motivations, and experiences. If someone has left an industry to reskill in something else, chances are they’re determined to give a new career path a try and won’t quit. Similarly, if women have families to raise, they’re willing to fix their skills gaps and improve.
This is something that can be mirrored within your workforce. As candidates have to adapt their skills to meet demands, businesses must change their job descriptions, approach to hiring, and responsibilities. Leaders must accept that the company’s current roles, despite the fact they could have been the same for many years, may have to adapt to the times we live in, embracing both technology and flexibility. It could be critical for scaling your business or even keeping it afloat.
Redefining roles doesn’t mean letting go of your existing talent; in fact, it’s the opposite.
Look at the job roles you already have, their responsibilities, and skills, then consider how they can adapt and align with your new vision for the company. Remember, this is not about individuals or a chance to clean up your workforce but create roles that will work in the long-term and be agile enough to survive in a new work era.
Through talent mapping and market research, you can assess which skills will help your organization to thrive. Analyze whether you already have these abilities within the organization. Do you need to hire, or is there an opportunity to upskill your current workers to adapt to this need? This issue, I believe, goes beyond loyalty. Redefining the roles your business needs to survive makes business sense right now; there’s never been a better time.
In redefining roles, you can hold onto talented people you would have otherwise had to let go of. Of course, in some instances, you will need to hire top talent. Still, in restructuring and helping to reskill and redefine your current team, you can keep hold of a loyal workforce, keep your reputation in line and make a strategic effort to save recruitment costs.