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“The Sticky Space: The Current Employment Landscape.” Catch-up on our Webinar with Insights from Joydeep Hor
Last week Joydeep Hor, Founder and Managing Principal of People + Culture Strategies (“PCS”), hosted a webinar – “The Sticky Space: The Current Employment Landscape”. Joydeep shared his insights about the current employment landscape and the key issues and challenges organisations are facing after almost two and a half years of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The last two years
Joydeep first reflected on the past two years and the obstacles that organisations have had to overcome. Joydeep commented on the uncertainty that initially arose in the wake of COVID-19, as the experiment of working from home (“WFH”) was forced upon employers. As this experiment wore on, organisations and employees were faced with the challenge of engineering social continuity to maintain a semblance of normality amidst the on-again and off-again restrictions. In 2021, the push for Australians to get vaccinated was seen as the way out of the pandemic and, in 2022, organisations now find themselves “living with the virus” which has also presented challenges.
The current employment landscape
Joydeep commented that the past two years have been difficult for employers. The challenges raised by the isolation of lockdowns and the over-forced communication was compounded by employee frustrations and employees holding employers to a higher level of accountability. Joydeep reflected that focus on “business as usual” for organisations has been challenging, with some employers being criticised of trying to push on through the pandemic while others criticised for laying tools down too easily.
The work from where issue
As restrictions of the past two years are largely removed across the country, many organisations are faced with employees who have become accustomed to the flexibility of WFH. However, Joydeep reminded employers that they ultimately decide from where an employee performs their duties. Employers should consider what is best for their organisation and how their approach to working supports their organisation’s values.
After the past two years of social and economic upheaval, employers are now faced with the question of what it means to be an employer. Joydeep urged employers to reflect on the role they play in their employees’ lives and how this role may have changed following the pandemic. The psychology of employees must be considered and employers should not be surprised that employees will respond differently. While some employees may feel jaded after the past two years, others will be excited for the return to normality. However, Joydeep cautioned that the excitement to return to normality does not necessarily mean that employees will be happy to return to the way things were before the pandemic.
As employees return to work, there has been an unsurprising spike in complaints concerning the inappropriate behaviour of employees. Employees have seemingly forgotten that appropriate boundaries should exist between co-workers. This decline in workplace etiquette has been compounded by the onboarding of new staff remotely. However, the issue is not limited to new employees, as Joydeep reflected long-term employees have also seemingly forgotten how to act appropriately in the workplace.
Re-agitation and reassertion
Joydeep urged business leaders who may have had to put new organisational ideas and initiatives on the back burner over the past two years to “make hay while the sun shines” and use this current period as a chance to lead and reinforce the benchmarks that organisations are hoping to achieve.
Joydeep noted that Australian employees have always been “rights aware” and that they have become more aware over the course of the pandemic. Resulting from this, organisations may see high levels of employee grievance raising and leadership impatience throughout 2022 because of the stresses faced by employees over the past two years. Joydeep warned organisations not to over burden themselves worrying about staff retention to the detriment of their organisational values and goals.
How PCS can help
PCS offers a wide range of services to organisations to ensure they are equipped to deal with the issues faced in the current employment landscape. Such services include strategic HR consulting packages, culture audits, organisational structure reviews and advice on all workplace issues including vaccinations and WFH/return to work.
If you would like to access a full recording of the webinar, including the presentation slides, please contact Tracey Pace at firstname.lastname@example.org or +61 2 8094 3111. The webinar can be purchased for a fee of $25.
Kirryn West James, Director