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Considerations For Leaders Navigating The Pandemic Work Environment


CEO at NorthPoint Search Group, specializing in placing top-tier talent

At this stage of the pandemic, some big questions are likely top of mind for many professionals: Will my people need to go back to the office full time? And how can I set my employees up for success today?

At a recent peer-advisory meeting, for example, I heard stories from fellow CEOs regarding their concerns surrounding letting people work from home full-time. But I also heard many stories of CEOs and companies that are adapting to the changing workforce, which I believe hold valuable lessons other leaders can apply as their own businesses prepare for the post-pandemic work environment.

How are businesses adapting?

I learned from a partner at a CPA firm that her company had to have a remote-work policy to remain competitive in the marketplace and keep its talent. So, she said she uses key performance indicators to track the productivity and profitability of her team. In my own company, I’m seeing a lot of our clients changing with the times and offering hybrid roles in order to be competitive. Some companies work around employees’ schedules, while others establish a set schedule that requires employees to come to the office on specific days.

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I’ve even seen organizations offering to have team members continue to work from home as long as they reach monthly revenue targets. So far, so good, as this is motivating employees to drive continued sales while enjoying the freedom of not having to be in the office.

Beyond remote work, I’ve seen some companies are creating training programs to either navigate staffing challenges or help develop leaders of the future. For example, a few of my company’s industrial services clients are booming but can’t find CDL drivers. This has prompted them to create their own training programs to help job seekers get their CDL licenses. Similarly, my company is working with a development center on a grant-funded training initiative to provide skilled trades training for high-demand jobs to local residents. The funds we receive by no means convert to profit. Instead, they offset the costs of our training department. In the end, we get to select candidates from our training program for our follow-on in-house apprenticeship program.

As you can see, companies are getting creative. They realize they must change with the times to give back, help and accommodate the changing workforce — all while being able to move the revenue needle for the company. From my perspective, the companies that are encouraging human flourishing by creating programs that foster the training and education of tomorrow’s workforce are setting themselves up to thrive in our post-pandemic world.

How can you help your own business adapt?

You can help your company adapt to the pandemic and prepare for the future by reading articles, watching and listening to podcasts and design thinking.

At the same time, ensure you stick to your company’s core values — and hire according to those values. I also recommend compressing your hiring cycle. Times have changed, and the luxury of taking your time in the hiring process has, too. Whether you’re conducting an initial interview via video chat or holding a panel interview in person, it’s important to streamline your hiring process to win the war for talent. Things you can do to compress the interview process include starting the reference process earlier or using a predictive index or personality profile to screen talent (as this can help ensure they have the right skills and attitude for the open position). You can also do skills testing such as word, spelling, typing and grammar.

Once you hire your team members, stay close to them. Break bread with them once a month if possible. Find out what motivates them. What’s their “why?” Everyone is motivated differently, and everyone wants to win the race. Design a race your team can win — and everyone wins.


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