Managing in a post covid world

The demands for managers are changing in 2022. The modern worker demands meaningful work, flexibility, and personal growth. Managers need to acquire new skills in order to attract and retain today's top talents.

The disruption of covid on the workforce is ongoing, and we are yet to understand the full impact. Knowledge workers are increasingly taking on hybrid work, and managers have to navigate a new landscape of demands from their employees.

So how do you manage successfully in 2022?

Here are some of the factors we have uncovered that will shape the workplace post covid.

DEI is more than nice-to-have

The Me Too, Black Lives Matter, and Stop Asian Hate movements are all part of a societal demand for putting diversity, equality, and inclusion on the agenda.

"According to our analysis of S&P 500 earnings calls, the frequency with which CEOs talk about issues of equity, fairness, and inclusion on these calls has increased by 658% since 2018." - Harvard Business Review, 2021

Companies with organizational cultures of suppressing or mistreating people based on their ethnicity, gender, or age are increasingly being called out.

And the impact for organizations is very real. Diversity is not only a means to look good on a CSR report - it brings real economic advantages. Furthermore, in a climate of worker shortage, in the private as well as the public sectors, employees have the upper hand when it comes to recruiting.

Placing DEI at the center of management is going to be vital for organizations if they want to prosper economically, attract top talent, and support ongoing employee well-being and retention. And well-being is a concept that the new generation of employees will not compromise on.

Well-being as a competitive advantage

Working from home during the pandemic has made many people come to a different understanding of their workplace. When the job is stripped of the social interactions with co-workers, an array of meetings, and the mindless commute to and from work, what is left can be revealing.

The great resignation is attributed to many factors, which vary from, for instance, Denmark to the U.S., but one thing they have in common is the search for meaning. People have had the time to stop and consider their careers.

For the modern organization, ensuring their employees' well-being is a competitive advantage when attracting and retaining top talent, and managers are catching on. A Gartner 2020 survey of 52 HR executives found that:

  • 94% of companies made significant investments in their well-being programs
  • 85% increased support for mental health benefits
  • 50% increased support for physical well-being
  • 38% increased support for financial well-being

To support well-being, the manager must facilitate continuous dialogues with their employees. This way, needs can be addressed, concerns can be heard, and the demand for growth and change can be met. But how do you achieve this in a workforce working remotely?

Managing hybrid workers

Despite some managers' concern that remote work is ineffective, it seems that hybrid work, especially for knowledge workers, is here to stay.

In fact, 91% of U.S. workers, with some remote workdays, are hoping their ability to work at home persists after the pandemic (Gallup, 2021).

This presents managers with new opportunities and challenges. For employees who work from home, their manager is the primary connection to the organization, arguably making them even more important than before.

Managers are taking on new technologies to connect with their employees. Zoom check-ins are not enough to manage a team remotely. Instead, technologies such as task and goal management, succession planning and skill mapping, pulse surveys, and continuous feedback are deployed.

Automation of managerial tasks

Another technological advancement is the automation of managerial tasks.

"Our research shows that up to 65% of the tasks that a manager currently does has the potential to be automated by 2025." - Harvard Business Review, 2021

Tasks such as filling out forms, approving workflows, and updating information will likely be automated, freeing up time for the manager. Organizations are left with the choice of hiring fewer managers or expanding the responsibility and function of a manager.

This requires retraining and reshaping the skills and tasks of a manager to better encompass the full experience of an employee. This could, for instance, entail:

  • Supporting employees in achieving their long-term career and growth goals
  • Managing employee well-being, including the effects of the work structure on their personal lives
  • Focusing on diversity and inclusion, working strategically to create equal opportunities and psychological safety

Managing might be changing for good, but at Duuoo we believe it presents unique opportunities to connect with employees by freeing up time for the tasks that matter the most.

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