3 great opportunities that COVID has given us

This year has been a catalyst to challenge Executive teams, leaders and us all to reflect on our assumptions about the way we work, the way we deliver services or design products, the business models we apply and much more. We have found ourselves shifting our views on many areas that we once thought to be non-negotiable. Leader mind-sets have adapted and adopted new ways of operating. Approaches that we thought were not possible or would take a long time to action have suddenly been implemented within months.

The year 2020 has forced our mental agility card and this quote seems apt:

The greatest risk is to allow assumptions from the past to dominate expectations for the future.

In short, 2020 has forced organisations to reflect, redefine and reset how businesses are run. There are three key opportunities that many organisations have grabbed hold of:

1. COVID has fast-forwarded the progress towards the new world of work.

The new world of work is comprised by flexible working, being outcomes focused, utilises agile working, equips cross-functional teams, and focuses on the employee experience. Experts say that COVID has propelled us forward by 5-10 years, in 6 months! How can we continue to capitalise on this momentum instead of cursing it?

2. It has encouraged organisations to increase the focus on people, not just the bottom line.

Across multiple sectors we have seen an increase in the level of ‘authentic care’ leaders have demonstrated towards their people. Why? We have all experienced the same disruption and work challenges. It appears the shared pain and vulnerability seems to have unified us.

COVID has broken down the corporate façade we may have experienced from our leaders. As someone said to me recently, ‘They just seem to be more human’. How long will this continue for though?

3. Teams have learnt and applied new skills from other functional areas

In my experience, People & Culture teams have realised that new thinking is required to solve our complex people problems. From our Marketing teams, we have borrowed customer segmentation principles and customer experience to segment our employees and focus on the employee experience. We have acted like product developers and designed employee personas, used empathy mapping to understand different employee’s needs and applied human centred design practices. Who can you learn from to bring a fresh approach to your problem solving?

These opportunities, and many others, have presenting new ways for us to optimise the way we work individually and as part of an organisation. Now is the time to capitalise on these by identifying and acting on opportunities being presented to us!


Written by Rebecca Christianson – Director, Thriving People Consulting