Human capital, the key to recovery from Covid-19

| September 21, 2020 | Articles

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On the road to recovery from the worst impact of the covid-19 pandemic, a key point for your company will be to rely on its workers. While many businesses found it very difficult to maintain their workforce, slowly the outlook has begun to shift toward a better picture.

According to a study carried out by the firm Spring Professional, in markets such as Mexico 55% of companies consider keeping their employees, so human capital will be fundamental to lift the business in the coming months.

Taking this into account, in addition to reminding them how important they are for your company, it is key to focus the operation of the business on a safe environment for workers, with direct channels of communication to invite them to be an important part of the business recovery.

The importance of involving workers

According to Spring Professional, the current environment will be like entering a new job for many of your collaborators, with a new dynamic and work schemes. In such a challenging scenery, it will be essential for employees to be part of the process and not just follow orders, as there is a risk that they will not be committed to the transformation the company is undergoing.

The idea is that you update your staff on all the changes that have occurred and that you will implement in the business; make them participants in the new way of working and offer them training for the “new normal” in which they will have to be working.

Failure to do so, can result on employees that are simply complying orders, yes, but without commitment, representing a risk that they will change jobs at the first opportunity, in a scenario where companies need to be integrated to face the long road of coexistence and recovery in the covid-19 era.

The book “Workforce Strategies for Post-Covid-19 Recovery”, by the consulting firm Deloitte, emphasizes that workforce strategies in the recovery phase will be better organized through five critical actions:

  • Reflect
  • Recommit
  • Re-engage
  • Rethink
  • Reboot.

These measures can help organizations connect the emergency response with the new normal by laying the groundwork to prosper after the crisis.

The firm KPMG, in turn, conducted a survey among senior executives of companies, which states that while the recovery process will last at least six months, giving certainty to the labor talent will be one of the main challenges.

The importance of worker involvement

One of the factors that will become more relevant in the recovery of SMEs after the covid-19 pandemic is the level of commitment and involvement of collaborators and employees with their company.

According to Keith Ayers, speaker, consultant and CEO of Integro Leadership Institute, the lack of employee involvement can cost a company between 30% and 50% of its payroll, which automatically becomes an expense rather than an investment.

For Ayers, companies that understand the importance of their employees’ involvement and encourage it, are able to turn 100% of their payroll into an investment.

On the other hand, The Gallup Organization warns that, in the case of the United States workforce, 29% of employees are involved with their company, 55% are not, and worse, 16% are actively uninvolved, representing an alarming 71% of employees who are not paying attention and may even be working against the company’s objectives.

The leader is one of the most important factors to generate an adequate involvement of your collaborators. According to Ayers, leadership affects absolutely everything, so it is important to consider that:

  • The behavior of leaders creates the labor environment in which the employees work.
  • Employees’ attitudes and behavior are significantly affected by their perception of the organizational climate.
  • Talented employees will not remain in a company whose climate is perceived as negative.
  • The talented prospects you have in your sights for possible hiring will not join an organization unless it has a reputation as “a great place to work”.
  • Improving the performance of your workforce is not possible without first attracting and retaining talented employees.

Therefore, enhancing the involvement of your workers and collaborators starts with the leaders of the different areas of your company.

How to be empathetic with your collaborators?

Some key points co consider for a better working environment in the covid-19 era, regardless of whether the company has implemented a working scheme based mainly on the home office are:

  • Put yourself in the shoes of your workers. It is advisable not to leave isolated the employees who have return to the activities. Beyond the labor issue, the current circumstances also impacted them emotionally and physically.
  • Emphasis on safety. Do not neglect this topic, as it will be the basis for your staff to feel in a comfortable environment and with the necessary health measures for the new normal.
  • Open and improve communication channels. A “bombardment” of information to work teams should be avoided. The return and work plan must take place gradually.
  • Implement new tools. Among those, the following stand out:
  • Brief meetings. Use direct, concise and short messages. With a specific objective.
  • If your activity is face-to-face, focus the meetings on the main subject.
  • In the case of remote meetings, organize a short agenda and address the issues in the shortest time possible.
  • Focus on social connection. Companies must rebuild an environment that inspires better relationships between colleagues and departments, and that helps employees develop strong interpersonal spaces.
  • Maintain an “open office” policy. Workers should have the assurance and confidence that they can voice their concerns and input to improve the company’s performance at all times.