We reached out to Mark Lindley, who is an accomplished Human Resources and Business leader with 20+ years international and national experience to give us his thoughts on a few hot topics surrounding the pandemic.
1. As restrictions ease and more organisations are transitioning their teams back into the workplace – they are faced with a mixed response from employees in terms of returning. What would you suggest companies consider to drive a more seamless process where employees emotional and psychological well-being is considered?
Employees have gone through an unplanned change, where they received limited notice or communication on what was happening and what needed to be done. To start accelerating in the opposite direction now, by stating everyone needs to come back to the physical office, for many, will just accelerate the anxiety. The organisation needs to ask the question; what do we want to achieve by bringing everyone back to the office? Will we be more productive? Will this be a positive impact for our clients and customers?
If we did not get the ‘work from home’ process right, then let’s make sure we get the ‘return to the office’ right.
For many employees whose lives were thrown into chaos, they have started to rationalise and adapt, would it make sense to throw this all up again. Therefore, organisations need to take a greater consideration on who returns to the workspace and who can continue working remotely? The priority of the people is their emotional and psychological well-being. One thing is for sure, disconnected, anxious and distracted employees, will not make the best client and customer interactions or relationships.
2. It definitely has been a team effort by all, but HR has played a pivotal role for any organisation during the pandemic – but we are still not out of it all. Based on your experience, what role will HR play in the new norm / new horizon?
Definitely a far more strategic role and operational engager within the business. HR needs to be the future driver, not just the recipient of strategic outcomes made by other functions within the organisation. The key role for the ‘new horizon’ will be to understand which roles and team members will be remaining within the organisation, however, not to assume the best and high performing talent will want to remain. Talent mapping will be a critical project for the sustainability of the business, any future and news skills currently not within the organisation will have to be developed or acquired. Though Talent and Learning Leaders will need to be clear on the development timeline if skills are to be built inhouse, as the velocity of gaining market share and traction will be fierce.
HR will need to play the greatest role in policy development, implementation and management. These policies are ones which have impacted the full spectrum of how the organisation operates from recruitment, learning, safety & welfare, reward and performance.
Wellbeing and welfare will move to the number one spot of what new and existing employees will want to see, followed very close by job security. Whilst organisations cannot always predict the size and impact of downturns, employees need to feel that the Company they are in or joining is doing everything in their power to mitigate such impact – again. Do not be surprised if future talent request to see a copy of the Company’s most current Business Continuity Plan!
3. Having networked with a number of experienced HR professionals during this time – what would you see as the biggest take-away for us based on process, systems and outcomes?
I have seen in many sectors and industries the rapid rise of a ‘new division’ of the employee base, those who are working remote and those who will be returning to a physical office. For a lot of organisations this is new and daunting, for some it has been like this for a long time and therefore to a degree, business as usual. Potentially so much focus has been made in this area, that other aspects of the business and the employees may have drifted. It is time to draw a line, embrace the new environment quickly, set the best framework for the organisation and implement it. Try not to spend too much time surfacing what would be the right balance or mix; the key right now is to stabilise, not disrupt further.
It definitely is going to be interesting to see how the pandemic will impact all areas of the business – but the key would be to have the right people on board to help achieve positive outcomes and results.
About Mark Lindley
An accomplished Human Resources and Business leader with 20+ years international and national experience; 12 years working and living in Dubai, returning to Australia in 2020.
Operating across Australia, Asia, Middle East, Europe, UK, North America regions at Director, Senior VP and Group level HR positions. Employed within FTSE and Top 100, MNCs, and leading national brands - such as the Emirates Group, G4S Security, US Private Equity Lime Rock Partners, Sara Lee, and Hearing Australia. Mark’s main areas of HR leadership have been within transformation, integration, organisational guidance, HR remodelling, and performance coaching. Mark has a highly commercial focus on sustainable growth of an organisation and is a proven leader, trusted adviser, coach, and HR entrepreneur.
Mark contributes his personal time to mentoring ‘leaders of tomorrow’ and is a firm believer in supporting education and literacy, as an instrumental driver to changing lives.