Beware of the swinging pendulum
The new reality of the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all sectors on a massive scale, and yet this impact continues to be felt differently across industries and UK businesses. While many organisations have faced unprecedented challenges leading to downscaling and redundancy mitigations, others have had the unique opportunity for significant growth.
In both cases, companies that have historically invested in their staff are better placed to either retreat to a competent core and rebuild or to adapt to new business models and organisational structures. Those that are successfully making the transition have a workforce equipped with the right skills and attitudes. Organisations that invest in their people have an established foundation of competence that enables change to be better absorbed. Furthermore, newly hired personal can assimilate quickly when the composition of the enterprise is founded on a nucleus of capable people, supported by values and its own culture. The investment in people has provided the substance that allows for a more cohesive and successful integration into new ways of working.
Those organisations that focus on the short term can often make the mistake of treating staff development as a variable cost, rather than an essential investment. As such, they put their organisation at a clear disadvantage. The operation may not be agile enough to adjust to meet the demands (or scale) of the current situation or even fit enough to compete longer-term within competitive markets. Put plainly, although a great deal will be different post-COVID-19, the principles of what makes a company not only survive but thrive, have remained unchanged.
Each organisation needs people that are both competent and confident, able to engage with customers, execute its business plan, meet operational needs, and secure future growth. The skills that empower the organisation must be maintained and developed if it is to emerge stronger. Learning technology, when embraced, can improve productivity, and create a more competitive business model at an affordable cost. Business leadership must have the tools to exert ownership. It must also be alerted to emerging threats so that they can make knowledge-based decisions and control the quality and safety of the operation to ensure the well-being of colleagues and customers.
The thirst for real-time data must be quenched with relevant management information which is served error-free. The turbulence currently being experienced today will be uncomfortable. Still, turbulence is a business reality that comes in many forms. With the right people and systems in place can be predicted, allowing for appropriate measures and actions to be taken. A key element is the ability to understand the talent profile of the organisation, current and future so that gifted and talented team members are retained, and new skills are attracted to help the organisation to navigate safely to a better lot.