It is both amazing and exciting to me that after 3 years of living in a COVID world, the only thing we as leaders can know for sure is that change happened. Leadership knows but oftentimes struggles with what change will mean for their employees and their business. If an organization wants to remain current and relevant, they needed to embrace change. Leaders needed to accept that there were better ways to accomplishing tasks, achieving better sales, building a more advanced workforce.

Today’s VUCA 2.0 (Vision, Understanding, Courage, Adaptability) world taught us a few things: Change is inevitable; growth is optional. Transformation/informal restructuring leads to growth – both personally and professionally. Organizations can successfully grow/change – working from home, releasing real estate, adapting policies, processes, procedures. Leaders have learned that employees are working harder, better, differently as their productivity increased, working hours changed, and they are meeting and exceeding their performance goals. Change works and can be so rewarding. There are other changes that have taken place:

1. BioMetrics – Two years ago organizations started taking temperatures of their employees, visitors, clients when they arrived at the workplace. In some instances, this still continues. Hand sanitizers are now a staple in organizations, malls, stores, theatres.

2. Organizations are more aware of what Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria and the impact decisions will have on society, communities, and social bubbles. ESG is a set of standards for a company’s behavior used by socially conscious investors to screen potential investments.

3. Social injustice, diversity, inclusion became top of mind. Organizations have implemented DEI policies and processes to ensure the fair and equitable treatment of all employees, visitors, tradespeople, etc. In my opinion, a long time coming and well deserved.

4. Masks, other PPE – Who knew these would become so important to wellness, health, and safety. Even though PPE is now optional, employees are choosing to be safe and healthy in their own ways. I for one continue to wear a mask in public for my safety.

5. Organizations have adopted a staggered workforce. In some instances, whole departments are not in the office on the same days as their peers and colleagues. Returning to the office is experiencing resistance. Some offices have gone hybrid in work, hours and in office. Because of this we will remain in many instances a Teams and Zoom workplace. Either way, the definition of a workday is changing. The way we work will continue to change as we move closer to an inevitable 4-day work week.

6. Hours of work have changed as employees who work from home have greater familial obligations. Staggered workhours are common today.

7. Definitions (policies) have changed – work hours; employees (Contract, agile, part-time), vacation, expenses, sick time – to name a few.

8. Employee expectations from their managers have changed – the need for open, honest, transparent communication; real forthright discussions on performance with their managers; being recognized for a job well done and compensation that is commensurate with their skills, learning and development.

9. Employers are struggling in finding talent. There is a shortage of talent as employees may not want to return to an office; may not want to work hybrid. The list goes on and on.

The last 3 years has provided a great opportunity to move forward to a new way of work. One thing is certain, change is not something to be afraid of – hang on tight as you ride the waves of change. The end result will be worth it. Your employees will applaud your insightfulness, your ability to see the bigger picture, being able to communicate transparently and your ability to react positively to what will lead to success. As long as you know the benefit, results and solutions the change will bring, you are further ahead. Adapt, see the bigger picture. Change is inevitable; Growth is optional. Choose change which will lead to growth. You won’t be sorry.

For more information contact Anne Bloom, CPHR, SHRM – SCP, Principal Consultant with The Osborne Group.