It's that time of year when reflection and planning meet to flip the calendar. This year, it seems more important than ever to put the past away. At this time last year I predicted that 2020 could be the best year ever. I had also written a blog preparing for work-from-home workforce transitions predicting a 12-week office shut down.
Boy, Was I Wrong!
There has been so much wrong with 2020, how can we make it right again?
Many of us spent the better part of the year in our pajamas. Zoom calls were interrupted by pets and little humans. The roads were always open, airplanes were grounded and restaurants/hotels attempted to operate at a fraction of capacity. No long commutes, business travel, after-work events, or long days in the office... how ever would the workforce function? Turns out, pretty well!
As we enter 2021 there is much to be learned from the transition to informal work. Wardrobe aside, isolation actually lent itself to more-intimate workplace relationships. Without a manager looking over one's shoulder, trust became a necessity. Customer relationships were deepened through long days in the zoom room. Where employee mental health met hurdles, organizational leaders were called upon to infuse empathy into workforce strategy.
Whether we return to in-person work in one month or one year, exercising trust and empathy will be a way forward in the continued quest for maximized employee engagement.
Learning as a Currency
Some might think 2021 may be the best year ever in contrast to the woes of 2020. Let's hope so. There is, however, a lot to rebuild. Many HR Technologies we transitioned to during the pandemic will remain the cornerstone for workforce productivity. Other technologies will be phased out for failing to meet the immediacy of the virtual work transition. Bonuses may not be available and companies may have to tighten budgets to maintain. The thing we have direct access to are learning opportunities. Many have spent the downtime of 2020 loading up their learning management systems with content. Other organizations have made the necessary pivot to taking instructor-led training virtual. In an attempt to dissuade technical over-kill, MasterClass opportunities have created a reprieve to online cooking classes instead of team meetings.
People may have been alerted of their lack of credentials in this time of global workforce transition. Organizations may have found their technology stack under-resourced. We have an immediate opportunity to meet our employees' goals for development with the now-necessary skill enhancement to serve as a win/win for career advancement.
For some organizations, 2020 was a very productive year. Those supplying the appropriate HR technology were available to help their customers save the day. The celebration of employee achievement also transitioned. There were many creative ways in which organizations found to celebrate the results of their top talent. But, without rewards banquets and the in-person fanfare of co-workers, the pageantry of success felt a lot different.
Employees were called upon to truly evaluate the purpose of their profession in 2020. No one feels comfortable celebrating while others suffer, so rewarding oneself in private became a process of self-reflection.
We've made it through the year that was (or was not). Can we escalate ourselves into the future wiser, more focused and more willing to accept what the world presents us?
I'd like to think that 2021 could be the best year ever. I hope I'm right this time around!
Happy New Year! Let's Change the World!
Originally published on Dave's Weekly Thought blog.