Mansij is a seasoned professional who has worked across a wide spectrum of HR roles in different industries. He currently heads the human resources function at UNext Learning Pvt Ltd, a company that is focussed on transforming the higher education ecosystem. He has served as a senior HR leader for the APAC region at Conduent Business Services responsible for end-to-end conceptualization, rollout and implementation of strategic people projects. In the past he has worked at Ola as HR leader for their operations across India and has had stints at Wipro and Ashok Leyland.
On paper, it has been two years since the pandemic began and we don’t talk much about it like we used to. However, the spillover impact of the pandemic continues to linger, especially in the workplace.
As you read this, companies have started to work from office, and employees have been asked to plan their return to work. With normalcy gradually returning we have newer challenges in place to tackle.
Workplace and talent demands have undergone a paradigm shift in the last two years. So, if you’ve been grappling with these changes and struggling to keep up with them, here are some tips.
Virtual Interviews Are Still Inevitable
Recruiters and candidates alike, across industries, have realized the benefit of virtual interviews. Not only does it save time during screening and the first few rounds of interview, but also it saves the candidate having to take the day off, travel across the city, and maybe between cities, only to hear that dreaded phrase, “We will get back to you”. Virtual interviews are still inevitable for both candidates and hiring managers alike. Companies are now investing in training, and hiring managers are investing on virtual interviewing skills and how to ensure that red flags are spotted early. As employees and companies transition back to working from office, I would expect that at least the final couple of discussions may be done physically but rest assured that the initial rounds will continue to be virtual.
Transforming the way we work
As organizations move from responding to the pandemic to thriving despite the pandemic, there will be a need and opportunity to examine how the work is structured, how teams are organized, and how do they collaborate. Organizations now need to answer what are those capabilities that are most valued as work priorities and outcomes evolve in response to the pandemic. What impact have those changes had on the capabilities we require, what are those areas that we can automate, or enhance to enrich the job that is being done by human workers. And most importantly, what does that mean for our clients, how have the client expectations evolved?
The workspace design will need to evolve to ensure heightened safety, and the right balance between virtual and non-virtual interactions. Companies may want to start using analytics to better understand and optimize workspace usage. Are employees using physical office space or opting to work from home? Does the real estate strategy or workspace configuration need to be re looked at? How do we balance between the need to be seen in office, while having the flexibility of working from home? Companies will need to find answers to these questions.
Org structures and HR processes will need to be rethought and rebuilt around the realities of a hybrid workforce, and a workforce which will demand equal or more time to be given to their families and themselves, to achieve desired business outcomes as well as inclusive employee experiences.
The workforce today can be based anywhere, and they will work to a schedule. Gone are the days when the intern couldn’t leave the office, because the big boss was still in. Now work life balance will become mandatory. Toxic work practices are not only frowned upon but named and shamed in the social media. It is important that organizations walk the talk on their culture and not bury it under a deluge of pseudo perks like bean bags and TT tables.
Challenges are aplenty while adapting to a whole new style of working and running a business. But guess what! There is plenty to learn as well. While these are good starting points to get the discussions going with your stakeholders on how your organization could loosen up a little to attract the right talent, a lot of approaches and revisits can be accommodated on the go.
What do you think?