Despite the ravages of 2020, on businesses and professionals globally, one cannot negate that there have been constant learnings that have emerged from the pandemic.
And as professionals re-engage post-quarantine into a world that they have grown less familiar with, organizations are leveraging ‘the learnings’ from the last year to reinvent, reshape, and reimagine how they operate.
The speed of the pandemic surprised everyone. So, too, did the fast reflexes of some companies: even their own leaders were shocked at how quickly colleagues stepped up, made dramatic changes, and began performing at new levels. Fear for corporate survival surely played a part, but stronger motivations were a clear sense of corporate identity and a desire to simply be there for customers and for one another.
Leaders, particularly, have seen that their companies have operated at an unimaginable pace and with much resilience and creativity.
Now they’re asking, ‘How do we hardwire these behaviours into the organization so that we are stronger in the next decade?’
Company and culture
Organizational culture may seem invisible during prosperous times, but in moments of crisis, its presence can be seen clearly in the collective behaviours that either help a company pull together and get things done or lead to inertia, confusion, and even mistrust.
Every successful, high-performing culture has its unique behavioural recipe for how it runs the place. Still, there are observable patterns, combinations of practices, that companies can replicate, if such patterns aren’t already in place, to accelerate performance.
As an example, one particularly important management practice is striking the appropriate balance between supportive and challenging leadership, as this encourages people to step up and lead in new ways.
Another is personal ownership, which takes root when conversations within organizations shift from “I’ll give you the task; you manage the internal processes to get it done, and I’ll challenge you to do better” to “you own the outcome; you do what it takes to make a real difference, and I’ll support you in taking calibrated risks.”
82% of employees report that it’s important for their organization to have a purpose, but only 42% say their company’s purpose statement had much effect.”
Contributing to society and creating meaningful work are the top two priorities of employees, yet they are the focus of just 21% and 11% of purpose statements, respectively.
There’s a disconnect.
But the companies that are bridging this gap are the ones reimagining their organizations amid COVID-19, by addressing three core questions:
Who are we? Do we have a compelling, standout identity that attracts and inspires employees, investors, clients, and partners? Do we convey why we exist through a resonant purpose, a strong value agenda, and our unique culture?
How do we operate? Do we have a nimble, flat operating model in place that fosters teamwork and rapid decision making, and that values and develops talent throughout the organization—not just at the top?
How do we grow? Do we have a robust ecosystem that values internal and external partners, leverages data-rich tech platforms, and is committed to doing whatever it takes to create and maintain a continuous learning atmosphere?
The companies that are doing it right—the ones that are going to thrive in the Next-Normal—have fast and flexible operating models underpinned by an unshakeable sense of purpose. Instead of control and hierarchy, they cultivate collaboration and teamwork.
85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 have yet to be created.”
Amid the fear and uncertainty, people are energized as companies make good on purpose statements, eliminate bureaucracy, empower previously untested leaders with big responsibilities, and accelerate decision making.
Inertia, being the prime risk, companies are mobilizing to address immediate threats in ways they may have struggled to, when taking on more abstract challenges, such as digital technology, automation, and artificial intelligence previously. Bold experiments and new ways of working are now everyone’s business.
Will the new mindsets become behaviours that stick? We don’t know yet.
Still, as one leader we spoke with puts it, “How can we ever tell ourselves again that we can’t be faster? We have proved that we can. We’re not going back.”
Whether or not we are going back, one thing is for certain: we have, through adversity, as leaders accelerated our companies’ journeys toward becoming not only faster but also better for customers, employees, and society at large. We have proved that there are faster, more efficient ways of working, hence the only way now is forward.
Leading with a corporate purpose
Do CEOs even have time to consider corporate purpose these days?
For some, the answer is a quiet no; the urgency of the moment makes it easy to overlook pre-crisis commitments to things beyond making money.
However, paying little attention to a corporate culture really does go a long way. Employees, customers, suppliers, and communities are watching—and if the pandemic is teaching us anything, it’s that people and organizations are interconnected and responsible to one another and to society in ways beyond short-term earnings.
It is said that the worst of times brings out the best in people; as it happens, this is true of organizations as well. All over the world, companies are being challenged by the COVID-19 crisis to find new ways to serve their customers and communities. Many are rising to the occasion.
Reimagine value creation
Inside the video conferences that pass for C-suites these days, the economic effects of the pandemic are revealing the extent to which leadership teams knew precisely why, where, and how their organizations created value all along and many don’t like what they’re learning.
Choosing strategic responses and priorities is hard enough right now, and it is significantly harder for companies that lack crystallized value agendas that would help them get beyond the overall numbers to zero in on precise actions and opportunities to shift resources effectively. By contrast, companies that have such a view are more likely to be able to pivot operations and reallocate resources swiftly—attributes that will only become more important as a new competitive landscape emerges from the seismic economic shockwaves we’re experiencing now.
Reallocation means shifting human capital, not just money.
As an example, one company had already been keenly aware of the potential for value disruption in its cinema business, given the rise of streaming services. When the demand for movies flatlined because of COVID-19-related lockdowns, the company moved fast. In two days, it reskilled and redeployed more than 1,000 employees from its cinema and shopping-mall units to the grocery-retailing business, in which demand was soaring. The company’s clear sense of how it could preserve value for itself and create it for customers helped it quickly take decisive action, consistent with its purpose.
Imagine a world in which companies are defined by their ability to inspire, foster collaboration, and create experiences for employees and customers that are simple, meaningful, and enjoyable. However far fetched these ideas may seem, they are possible in fact, they are the need of a post-pandemic corporate world.
Talk to any business leader anywhere in the world, and one thing becomes abundantly clear: no one would have chosen this pandemic as a catalytic event. Amid the fear and uncertainty, people are energized as companies empower previously untested leaders with big responsibilities, and accelerate decision making.
Now, more than ever before, leaders want to understand how they can hardwire these behaviour changes into the organization so that they remain stronger in the years ahead. A lifelong approach to learning will be an important factor to success: For example, technology skills are becoming obsolete faster because of the pace of digitization, so in order for organizations—and their talent—to thrive, it’s important to remain curious, have a learning mindset, and have an ability to reskill, renew, and innovate in an ongoing way.
About Dewan Consultants
At Dewan Consultants, our unique blend of understating needs, talent acquisition and management and commercial understanding of your needs offers a complete people-management and hiring service consultancy. We provide flexibility and access to top-calibre professional HR Advice.
Over the years, we have been recruiting the best talent from across the globe from countries including India, Pakistan, Nepal, Burma, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Ukraine, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Lithuania, Romania and the United Kingdom to name a few.
For end-to-end recruitment, we have perfected the art of getting the right fit to the destination country seamlessly.
Presently, we are one of the world’s foremost Human Resource providers. With our in-depth knowledge, insight and expertise in human resources, we are on the path to becoming a name to reckon with.