5R workforce strategies: The Path to Post-COVID Recovery

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not simply a return to old ways of doing business. The pandemic has created an imperative and an opportunity for organizations to reengage with the workforce and reinvent their workplaces. Meanwhile, the biggest challenge organizations will likely face in recovery is the tension between preparing for a return to previous activities while also embracing a new reality.

To deal with the challenge, A Deloitte Insights article, “Workforce Strategies for Post-COVID Recovery”, suggests how organizations can successfully guide their enterprises through difficult times. The article mentions workforce-related strategies or 5 critical actions (5R) including Reflect, Recommit, Re-engage, Rethink and Reboot that will help organizations bridging between crisis responses to the new normal. 

1. Reflect: Organizations should create the time to reflect on what’s next. This starts with reflecting on what has worked, what has been learned and what has been missed in the response. Reflection also involves making the time to bring in different perspectives, voices, and leaders at different levels as inputs to charting what comes next.

2. Recommit: Organizations should reinforce their commitment to well-being and purpose through a focus on physical, psychological, and financial concerns. Physical well-being will include an emphasis on health and safety, the cleanliness of workplace practices. The commitment to well-being should extend to well-being at home. Leaders should recognize the diversity of workers’ individual expectations and support them through the crisis and the transition to recovery. Recommitment to the workforce involves a focus on purpose integrating employees’ needs for individuality and belonging and the value of connecting well-being, contribution and work. Organizations should also communicate directly with individuals and teams to outline organizational missions and priorities and to connect business goals and outcomes so that the workforce will feel connected to the mission. Most of all, leaders should provide support for their workforces and ensure workers feel connected and engaged with the redefined priorities and strategy of organization.

3. Re-engage: The recovery will require a shift in focus to new work priorities and new work routines such as new schedules, combinations of onsite and virtual work. It creates opportunities for organizations to redeploy their workforces and maximize their contribution and potential. Team leaders will be critical to the short-term success of re-engaging the workforce and driving business results. Reinforcing the role of teams and team leaders, and redeploying workers to new teams and new roles will help foster sense of agility and ultimately, lasting resiliency. So, how organizations prepare and support their workforces for these new routines, priorities, roles and assignments will likely be a key driver of workforce performance.

4. Rethink: Rethinking work, workforces and workplaces involves a shift in perspective. As organizations start to look toward the new realities of the post-pandemic world, they can use their new work priorities to rethink and reconfigure their workforces and balance ongoing and evolving business needs. In terms of rethinking work, it means rethinking workforce composition, compensation and performance management. Moreover, organizations will likely need to reconsider their workplaces as well, redesigning them around the best impulse that are in play right now in response to the crisis, including provisions for sanitization, distancing and psychological safety.

5. Reboot: This part of recovery process pertains directly to realigning the HR function with the most pressing business and workforce priorities. HR leaders are uniquely positioned to prepare, support and leverage their workforce through the recovery and position the organization for a new era of resiliency and sustainability. HR function is required to have new way of working and encourage agile learning, in which people are quickly taught to use new tools in response to an unexpected change.

The recovery from COVID-19 pandemic, given the human dimension of urgent workforce challenges and the uncertainties facing business leaders. So, organizations should rapidly assess and evaluate their earlier workforce strategies and response priorities and reposition themselves to thrive in the new realities to come. Organizations should implement 5R workforce strategies which are the best arranged through 5 critical actions: Reflect, Recommit, Re-engage, Rethink and Reboot since these actions can help organizations by laying the foundation to thrive in the aftermath of the crisis. 

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