Leadership, Adaptation and Returning to Work

Our last post talked about disruption and diversity as continuing trends that can help your company develop a strategic roadmap to succeed in a post-Covid work environment.

Continuing along that theme, today, we want to examine a few other trends, including adaptation, leadership, and returning to work.

Returning to Work – Many businesses closed their doors while others cut back during the coronavirus pandemic. As the nation reopens, businesses play a pivotal role in supporting a safe return to work for their employees.

“Worker health, safety, and well-being are of the utmost importance to all employers,” says business executive Richard Wahlquist, “and all of this is even more top-of-mind as the nation continues to navigate the Covid-19 pandemic and businesses begin to resume traditional work and operations.”

A recent survey found that more than 75% of employees are satisfied with their employers’ return-to-work plans, post-pandemic. Even more of those surveyed (80%) said they approved of office cleanliness protocols and paid leave and sick leave benefits.

Most businesses have already developed sound policies regarding social distancing and workplace hygiene. That includes temperature screening, the continued use of masks, and supporting access to Covid-19 testing if appropriate.

Dealing with the return to work allows business owners and CEOs the opportunity to demonstrate leadership. But what does it mean to be an effective leader in these post-pandemic times?

Leadership starts with authenticity, says Carla Harris, from Morgan Stanley. “Authenticity is important because it’s the way that you can get people to trust you. In the staffing industry, clients are engaging you and paying you for the resources,” Harris adds. “They need to trust that you are listening to them, that you have their best interest at heart, that you are trying to send them the best talent.”

Effective leadership begins with a deliberate effort to bring one’s best self to the table. “It doesn’t just happen,” Harris concludes. “You have to be intentional around these things.”

Leadership also means demonstrating adaptation. That isthe ability to consistently adapt to change to compete in our ever changing world.

Managing employees is a moving target: As the economy rebounds, workers’ situations and motivations to work change. Consequently, business owners must adapt to the changing workplace.  A recent employment survey found four in ten workers returning to the workplace need higher education and improved skills to compete. This is especially true in fields like engineering, information technology, and health care. But that number is also a moving target. For example, the recent surge in housing starts in some regions is sparking demand for construction workers and trade labor. The reopening of restaurants and hotels is driving demand for hospitality workers.

Adaptation and leadership are vital for the business owner or CEO in the return-to-work trend we see as the Covid pandemic wanes. After a tumultuous 2020, most businesses are returning to normal operations. Others are gradually easing mask and other restrictions to lure customers back. The rest of 2021 will see this return to normalcy persist. Businesses must continue adapting to a post-Covid world and its effects on both employees and customers.