Post COVID-19: Supporting The Future of Work with Effective Leadership

How will the future of work evolve, post COVID-19? Trends just beginning before the virus changed our lives are becoming the new normal way of doing things. Some employees have returned to the workplace following more than a year of remote work. Many others will continue to work from home offices, at least on a more frequent basis than before 2020.

The current labor shortage may require adjustments to the way companies do business and the way employees are treated. Successfully implementing new operational procedures in any workplace requires effective leadership. But leaders may face difficulty in adapting to adjustments themselves. They may be uncertain how to reassure and support those under their guidance as workplaces continue to experience unpredicted transformation throughout the near future.

Leaders need to be ahead of the game as trends alter the way business is conducted. Leadership Coaching can help prepare leaders for the inevitable workplace procedural and cultural shifts that follow major events like the pandemic. Let’s prepare ourselves for the future of work by taking a look at insights gained regarding several changes anticipated by experts – sourced from the information published in Gartner’s Future of Work Trends Post COVID-19.

Remote Work Will Remain a Popular Option

Many sources predict a large percentage of the workforce (some estimates approach 50%) will continue to work from home, post-pandemic, at least a portion of the time. What will long-term remote work require from employees, leaders and management?

Workers will need specialized training to hone new skills that make remote work more efficient – like digital dexterity. Additionally, strategies must be developed for keeping remote workers engaged and on course to complete projects. Communication channels must be optimized. 

Required action by leadership: Goals and employee evaluations may need to change to support effective communication and satisfactory productivity in remote work setups. Human Resources (HR) can offer managers guidance in helping workers function more effectively under remote working conditions and other changes taking place in the way work is accomplished

Worker Rights: Empathy Versus Productivity

Some workers, especially those in fields suffering from labor shortages, may see an increase in base pay and benefit changes that will make them feel more valued. Others may suffer dehumanizing requirements due to the need to work harder to meet expected productivity levels.

Taking proactive measures voluntarily to support worker rights and benefits will likely become the focus of many companies. HR policies must seek a balance between empathy and productivity. 

Benefits may need to become more employee specific, rather than following a-one-size-fits-all scenario, to facilitate greater impact without wasted cost. Health and safety issues, child care, health benefits, hazard pay may offer solutions, as these perks would be greatly appreciated by many of today’s workers.  

Leaders will need to develop emotional intelligence and to apply soft skills to help employees meet performance expectations, without making them feel like companies are asking too much of them. Cultivating a culture of team inclusiveness will become a requirement that will benefit productivity and seamless functioning of operations. The confidence to act as mediator between workers and administration regarding employment issues can be achieved through leadership coaching sessions. 

Focus on Critical Skills not Critical Roles

Skill gaps will be addressed with training programs that fulfill strategic goals of the organization. Rather than being role specific, many employees will learn skills important to the organization, skills needed for their next potential company role, not just those necessary for fulfilling requirements of their current position. This supports success for both the organization and the individual.  

The advantages of focusing on critical skills rather than critical people for company resilience and success was addressed in a post by The Business Journal back in 2017. The changing conditions during the pandemic made the wisdom of the concept of shared skills across a number of employees, enabling them to  step into new roles when needed, perfectly clear. The practice of training workers in skills essential to varied roles will likely be widely adopted.

Leaders must continually evaluate what roles in the company need to be a part of succession plans. Promotion from within may become more common as employees learn the skills for success in varied company positions. Coaching can help leaders guide and  manage employees as their roles within the company evolve. 

Differentiating Your Company

Success in today’s quickly changing business landscape depends upon remaining informed about the latest trends and how they will affect your organization. Strategic alterations to business practices and to HR procedures demand that managers develop superior leadership skills.

It is up to executives and managers to take their company confidently into the 21st century. To ensure their employees learn appropriate skills and meet productivity standards, while remaining engaged and content in their roles, whether working on site or remotely.

Wise talent decisions today are essential for the future of work overall and for each company’s success story. Managers and department leaders must help CEOs and board members understand the impact of their decisions on the workforce and how wise decisions regarding HR issues contribute to company success.

Leadership development will be crucial to lasting change post-pandemic. Coaching can help instill the leadership traits necessary for middle level managers to speak with confidence to those above them on the chain of command. To step up and play an active role in important company decisions. 

Remaining confident in a leadership position, able to organize and inspire others isn’t easy. Coaching sessions are a valuable tool for preparing leaders to respond courageously to any situation, inspiring those serving under their guidance. 

Sounding Board’s coaches can help business leaders optimize their roles through personalized coaching solutions, tailored to meet their individual needs, preparing them to respond with confidence to the challenging task of leading the workforce of the future. Request a demo to learn more

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Tommy holds a BS in Health Sciences from Texas A&M University, and an MBA from Universidad del CEMA.

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Lori Mazan is the Co-Founder and Chief Coaching Officer of Sounding Board, the preeminent global leadership development enterprise platform changing the face of leadership development through innovative technology for leaders at all levels of an organization. Lori is a seasoned executive coach who has guided hundreds of corporate executives through 1:1 coaching focused on business outcomes and developing critical leadership skills. Client companies advanced by Lori’s expertise include Fortune titans such as Chevron and Sprint as well as high growth and public companies like Intellikine, and Tapjoy, plus 10XGenomics, which became a public company in 2019 while top executives worked with Lori and the Sounding Board team.
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Christine Tao is the co-founder & CEO at Sounding Board, a Silicon Valley startup redefining how organizations are developing their leaders. Her extraordinarily rapid career growth to executive management in the media, mobile and tech sectors of Silicon Valley became her inspiration for founding Sounding Board. As she began to manage larger teams and be responsible for growing revenues, it became clear that she needed a “sounding board” to coach her on the development of her leadership skills. That’s where her Sounding Board co-founder, Lori Mazan came on the scene. A seasoned executive coach focused on leadership development, Lori coached Christine on real-world leadership skills that had a direct impact on business outcomes. Based on her positive and impactful experience with leadership development, Christine was driven to make leadership development coaching accessible to people at all levels of the organization.
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