Employers will expand their involvement in the lives of their employees by increasing mental health support, expanding health care coverage, and providing financial health support during and after the pandemic.

A recent Gartner survey revealed that 32% of organizations are replacing full-time employees with contingent workers as a cost-saving measure. Utilizing more gig workers provides employers with greater workforce management flexibility. However, HR will also need to consider how performance management systems apply to contingent workers as well as questions around whether contingent workers will be eligible for the same benefits as their full-time peers.

Leaders are redefining what critical means to include: employees in critical strategic roles, employees with critical skills and employees in critical workflow roles.

“Separating critical skills from critical roles shifts the focus to coaching employees to develop skills that potentially open multiple avenues for them, rather than focusing on preparing for a specific next role,” said Emily Rose McRae, director in the Gartner HR practice.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, some employees have formed more connected relationships, while others have moved into roles that are increasingly task-oriented.

Understanding how to engage task workers in the team culture and creating a culture of inclusiveness is now even more important.

To deliver on employee experience, HR will need to facilitate partnerships across the organization while working with managers to help employees navigate the different norms and expectations associated with these shifts.

Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, 55% of organizational redesigns were focused on streamlining roles, supply chains, and workflows to increase efficiency. Unfortunately, this path has created fragile systems, prompting organizations to prioritize resilience as equally important as efficiency.

According to the World Economic Forum’s “The Future of Jobs Report: 2018,” “By 2022, no less than 54% of all employees will require significant re- and upskilling.” With the rapid rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, automation has already impacted numerous organizations across industries, and it’s predicted to impact more in the future.

As employees fear their job security is dwindling and organizations fear their employees don’t have the skills needed to sustain the business, it is imperative that more organizations take an active role in their employees’ professional development by upskilling employees for the future of work.

According to human resources writer Suzanne Lucas, the cost of replacing an employee can be as high as 150% of that person’s annual salary, hence training current employees is a cost-efficient alternative. Josh Squires, Director of Enterprise Solutions at Docebo, says agility is one such skill that can help employees better navigate the future of work. “Things are changing so quickly, so rapidly that you really have to adapt quickly, and so having that agility as a part of our DNA and a part of your framework, from my perspective, is important,” he shares. “You have to be willing to pivot quickly.” L&D professionals can help set employees up for success by integrating learning agility tactics into the onboarding process.

Providing more varied, adaptive and flexible careers and learning plans for employees will help them gain the cross-functional knowledge and training necessary for more flexible organizations.

Written By: Foster Awintiti Akugri the Founder & President of the Hacklab Foundation. He is currently the Incubator Manager for the Stanbic Bank Incubator Ghana (SBIncubator Ghana), an initiative of Stanbic Bank Ghana Limited, a member of the Standard Bank Group.

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