Understanding The Pandemic Economy: The Big Reset Revisited

May 31, 2020 00:17:23
Understanding The Pandemic Economy: The Big Reset Revisited
The Josh Bersin Company
Understanding The Pandemic Economy: The Big Reset Revisited

May 31 2020 | 00:17:23

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Show Notes

Understanding Cornavirus Now: The Big Reset Revisited. Now that we go back to work, let's revisit how remote work and the economy have been permanently changed. And safely coming back to work.
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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:01 Hi, this is Josh Buron. Welcome to Research-Based Perspectives on the ever-Changing World of Work, leadership, learning, and HR with a heavy dose of insights on the exciting world of HR technology. Hi everyone. It's now the beginning of June. We've been through three and a half or four months of the pandemic, and I want to give you a sense of the big reset and where we are. And so remember back in March I talked about all the things that were changing as a result of the coronavirus, and I think we have a little bit of perspective now on what's really happening. The first reset is the change in the way we work, and it's very clear to all of you and to me that many, many things have changed and will probably stay changed. Certainly work at home is the biggest trend. More than 40% of Americans are working at home, although as I've discussed in previous discussions, only about a third of the workforce can work at home. Speaker 0 00:01:03 So a lot of you and a lot of your employees are working in plants, facilities, buses, trains, stores, and they must be protected. And so we're in the middle of a massive program to figure out the protocols and the work practices and the designs to make work safe. I think this work we're doing will be important for many years to come. We may never sit as close together as we did in the past. Uh, we may always be more sensitive to people sneezing or coughing in meetings and for a while, at least for a year or so, because we can't really stop the virus from continuing to move. We're gonna get better and better at this. And until we do this well, people won't feel safe and they won't come back to work. And most people tell me now that their employees are saying, I'm gonna come in, but only if you think it's really important and you have to tell me that it's mandatory. Speaker 0 00:01:57 By the way, a big part of the reset of work is letting people go home when they feel sick. For many, many years, it was a badge of honor to come to work sick. I did it many times. Sometimes with a fever, I would just take a bunch of aspirin and plow ahead. That's not gonna happen anymore. We're gonna ask P people to attest every day if they're sick. And if they are, we're gonna tell them to go home and we're going to pay them for going home, all of which are new practices. We're also going to study the patterns of mobility inside the office. We're gonna look at elevator traffic, we're gonna look at the coffee station, we're gonna look at the cafeteria, we're gonna look at the restrooms. I mean, these are all things that are going on in the reset of work. Speaker 0 00:02:40 And by the way, work at home is not as grandiose as everybody seems to be saying. Some of the tech companies are making a big deal about the fact that they're very, very focused on people working at home. It doesn't really work for everyone all the time. Lots and lots of research shows this, that we missed the physical interaction. We don't get to know each other as well. It's hard to collaborate. We can't be as innovative and creative as we can. So there's going to be a hybrid work experience for most of us with a lot of safety built in. And so we've really come a long way in the last four month on that particular topic. The second topic is the reset of the budgets and the economy. And I do think we have entered what I call the pandemic economy. There's a lot of things about the pandemic economy that we weren't expecting first, it's very uneven. Speaker 0 00:03:32 Some companies are growing like crazy. The tech companies, the media, the digital media companies, the online commerce companies, the online learning companies, some companies are not the hotel chains, the restaurant chains, the entertainment theme, parks, sports, and some media businesses have been really decimated. So there's this very big unevenness to the economy, and that means there's a lot of job mobility of people leaving one part of the economy to move to another. What we're finding though now in 2020 is that job mobility is not tied to technical skills like we thought for the last decade. We spent an enormous amount of time talking about technical skilling and digital skills. And of course those are important, but we're really seeing it's the human skills, the power skills, the communication, empathy, caring, listening, persuasion, leading, supervising, project managing. Those are the skills that people need, and those are human skills that everyone can develop. Speaker 0 00:04:36 So the workforce is becoming more mobile than it was before, and some of that's by chance, and some of that's by choice, but that is also part of the change in budgets as far as the HR budgets and businesses, I'm amazed that most companies are spending money as much as they need to. Right now, wages have gone up slightly around one and a half to 2%. A very significant number of you have given benefits to people that were furloughed. HR departments have not been laying off A lot of people, I know some of you have been laid off, but most of you have not. There is enormous focus on technology. You're using the tools you have. Most HR transformation projects are accelerating. We have, we must have a dozen companies we're helping right now through a restructuring of the HR department. The core HR platforms are growing the workday and Salesforce and Oracle and all of the software vendors that serve HR are seeing significant growth, double digit growth. Speaker 0 00:05:38 So the economy is not in a deep a depression like many may think. And one of the reasons we're not seeing that in HR is that we are in the center of the recovery. As many of you know, I believe HR is taking on a heroic role in the response to the pandemic in everything from initially reacting and responding to the virus itself, to the workforce transformation, the organizational transformation, and the new forms of resilience and leadership, performance management, and new models of recruiting that we have to do in the middle of all this. So that's what's been going on on budgets. The third area of the big reset I talked about in March was the reset of leadership. And I wrote an article called CEO as Chief Empathy Officer, and we now have almost 150 companies we're working with on the Big Reset initiative. Speaker 0 00:06:35 And I'll talk more about that soon. And in almost every conversation, there's an agreement that empathy, listening, communication, transparency, are the number one goal of leaders today. In fact, as I've mentioned a couple of times, one of the world's largest insurance companies said to us for 20 years, the head of HR has been trying to change the culture to be more transparent. And she said, in, in two weeks, we fixed that. So everywhere you go, we're seeing leaders bend over backwards to be a Moore accommodating. It's not happening everywhere. There's, there's lawsuits from employees who feel they're not being managed safely. But what I've noticed is that while there may be a lawsuit filed within a week, the company responds because CEOs and business leaders and supervisors and managers now know that if we don't take care of the people, they are not gonna come back to work, or they're not gonna show up at work, or they're not gonna be productive, and we're not gonna get our companies back on track. Speaker 0 00:07:37 So that's been an incredibly important reset. Will it last into the next economic cycle? I certainly can't predict that now. I hope it does. But you know, things change when the economy goes up again. The fourth topic I discussed significantly and continued to talk about is the reset in trust. And as many of you know, trust in the United States and in many countries is at an all time low political trust is very low, far less than half of Americans. In fact, I think it's only 14% of Americans believe that the United States government, the federal government, will do the right thing at the right time. I think that's the lowest it's ever been. And that is similarly true in the media. Now, I have nothing against the media. I watch a lot of media and read a lot of media. But because we have such bifurcated and segregated media and so much political fighting between the two parties, people don't trust the media either. Speaker 0 00:08:40 But what they do trust is their employers. They trust you. They trust us. We in the business community are the most trusted entity in people's lives. And that's an enormous responsibility as we take care of people's safety and health and they come back to work. Not only do people want economic recovery, they wanna feel safe After a hundred thousand people have died from the coronavirus in the United States states, after a hundred thousand people have died from coronavirus in the United States, and the number keeps going up, people are still worried that they could get sick and they could get very sick. Now I want to talk a little bit about what we've seen in the area of trust. I think companies are stepping up to this in a significant way. And as I've discussed in a couple of other videos, there's really three parts to trust the center. Speaker 0 00:09:33 And most important is competence. It's doing things well. It's not goofing around and doing a bunch of press releases. It's cleaning the offices, it's watching the workspaces, it's fixing the infections, it's holding people accountable to wearing masks. Um, it's setting rules. And one of the things that's come up in many of the conversations we've had on the topic of resilience is that people want rules. They don't want to be told what to do all day, but they wanna know what the rules are. They don't want guidelines, they don't want recommendations. Uh, and in fact, it still sort of bothers me that the federal government talks like that. We wanna know what the rules are. So if we're walking down the street or walking in the office and somebody's sneezing or not wearing a mask or not behaving the way we want them to behave, they know that they're not behaving according to the rules. Speaker 0 00:10:28 Now, I'm not saying we need rules for everything, and most of you are building policies in real time because we don't know what the rules need to be, but we need to make them clear. And that is part of creating trust. The second element of trust is fairness. And the the Minneapolis issue that came up this week and some of the things that have been going on in the areas of income inequality show that actually we do have a problem of fairness in this pandemic. The pandemic and virus itself is acting in an unfair way. The people that are getting sick are generally working class people with jobs where they can't sequester themselves at home. And so we are in some ways creating an economy where the poor, the less educated, the lower level people in our workforce are the ones that are getting the sickest. Speaker 0 00:11:21 So we need to do something about that. We need to be very aware of it. We need to bend over backwards to take care of people at all levels, including people that are older or people that are more potentially affected. That is part of creating trust. And the third part of trust is listening, transparency, regular standup meetings, conversations. You know, when this pandemic started, I could never have dreamed that companies would spend so much time in open conversation with their employees. It's inspirational to me how every company I talk to, including some of the most conservative banks, insurance companies, you know, companies that I never would've thought that would do this. The CEO is going online from their home office or their home workspace in casual clothes, talking to, listening to inspiring and dealing with the issues in the workforce. And people love that. That is part of building trust too. Speaker 0 00:12:18 Again, will this survive the pandemic? I think so. I think we're learning a lesson in most companies that these elements of trust and listening and competence and fairness are existential to business performance in the future. The final reset that I talked about in March was the reset of hr. And let me give you a little pep talk about hr. I'm an analyst and I've been an analyst for more than 20 years. And I know hundreds and hundreds of you personally, I have never seen such an inspirational, exciting change in the entire HR and learning and development profession. I have been working more hours than I probably have in most years of my career. And the reason is I am infinitely inspired by all of you. You have been asked to step up and take on a very significant role as an HR leader. And you weren't prepared for this. Speaker 0 00:13:22 We didn't study infection prevention in our HR schools or HR courses. We don't even have a program in the academy yet. We didn't study positive psychology. We didn't study psychological resilience. We didn't study grief counseling, we didn't study any of these things, but we're figuring it out. And so I think that the HR profession as a global community has stepped up to this in an incredible way. And I think we're learning things in three ways. Number one, we're learning that we do have a seat at the table and that we belong at the table and our business counterparts accept that. Number two, we're learning that we can do things fast. We don't have to take six months to do a new program. We can do it in six weeks. We don't have to take two years to do a digital transformation. We can do it in two months or even faster. Speaker 0 00:14:16 And the third thing we're learning is that we as an HR profession can adapt much faster than we realized when I started the Burson Academy two years ago. And we're gonna talk more about that later. I knew that the needs of HR were changing far faster than the skills we had. And what I'm now seeing today is that all of you have picked up the pace on your own ability to learn. And you're learning about the new world of the pandemic economy. The reset is far from over. We are in the early stages of the recovery and response to the Coronavirus pandemic, but I can tell you work is being reset. Budgets in the economy are redefined. Our businesses are being transformed. We have changed the culture of leadership. We are understanding and embracing a new form of trust. And we in hr, including most of you, are stepping up to take on a heroic role in business. It's a very exciting time. We are going to be introducing a lot of new material on the big reset later in June and early in July. So stay tuned for more, and I look forward to hearing from you. Speaker 0 00:15:45 If you like what you heard, please join the Josh Bersen Academy, the world's professional development academy for hr for less than a cost of a nice dinner in a town near you. You can have an entire year's access to hundreds of courses, articles, research studies, case studies, and an entire community of more than 10,000 HR professionals all collaborating with each other to help you learn and solve the problems in your particular company. We call the Burson Academy, the world's home for hr, and you'll find it to be one of the most important parts of your career and your company's HR strategy for the years ahead. Thank you.

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