This is the third blog in a series of five addressing the four elements of the Change Management journey.
Eighteen months have gone by since most of us began feeling the workplace effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was mid-March when we left our offices, anxious for a work-from-home stint that was only supposed to last two weeks. Over the weeks and months that followed, we learned to adapt to new home environments, new technologies, and new ways of working, all the while feeling concerned about what the following days, weeks, and months would look like. We were unknowingly forced to embark on individual change journeys to deal with the overwhelming uncertainty we faced in all facets of life, and we are still moving through the phases of that journey today.
The workplace uncertainty we’ve been dealing with started with the fear of layoffs for many of us. We saw hardworking colleagues and friends let go from their companies as job losses in the U.S. rose to levels not seen since the Great Depression. Once layoffs began to slow and we regained stability in our jobs, we felt the exhaustion from having worked longer hours than ever before while dealing with the personal impacts of the pandemic. This series of events led to the first element of the change journey, awareness. We were collectively experiencing new situations and issues at work and home that would have unique and lasting impacts. Now, with 18 months of hindsight on our side, we’re in a period of understanding the changes we have endured and what it is that we want out of our workplace environments.
While the element of awareness has broad implications for how we interact with one another in the workplace, understanding forces us into a much more profound stage of self-reflection that highlights our individual needs and desires. Some of us discovered that working from home is a requirement, as it provides flexibility to tend to kids, pets, or family members in need. Others live alone and feel stifled by working and living in the same space all day, requiring an office environment that promotes creativity and collaboration. Some prefer the solitude of a private corporate office to keep work and home separate. Whatever it may be, there is one constant thread — we are all analyzing our needs and weighing our options. It’s no secret that this is leading to a mass exodus of employees in search of better-suited opportunities. The number of people who have voluntarily left their jobs is the highest in five years, despite a steadily recovering unemployment rate.
Where does this leave employers? With more and more employees eyeing an increasing number of job opportunities across the market, those who choose to stay with their current employers find that rapid change is still unavoidable. Team members are leaving their roles faster and are replaced with new employees, adding to uncertainty and ambiguity with current ways of working that are already changing rapidly. This displacement leaves employees seeking security with no clear path to stability, and they are now looking to their employers to provide a working environment that supports this rapid change. Employers must listen to their employees and design policies and programs with the flexibility to meet a variety of needs. Employers who are unsuccessful at understanding the needs and desires of their team members will be left with a disgruntled workforce and face challenges attracting, recruiting, and retaining high-quality talent.
If you are considering beginning the journey for your company and leveraging change management principles to effectively establish a new organizational culture and retain your talent, NTT DATA Services’ Workforce Readiness Consulting practice helps organizations with a structured approach to Change Management.
Be on the lookout over the next couple of weeks as our team of Workforce Readiness consultants addresses the final two elements of the Change Management journey – Collaborate and Commit / Advocate – from their unique perspectives. What does the future of your workforce look like?
Read more in this series:
- The Future of the Workforce Is Here, Are You Ready? — Kim Curley, Business Readiness Practice Leader
- Four Elements of The Change Management Journey — Nikki Milgate, Workforce Readiness Consulting
- The First Element of the Change Management Journey: Awareness — Yolanda Hemphill, Principal Consultant, Workforce Readiness
Post Date: 10/5/2021