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9 Workforce Trends post COVID-19

According to the latest Gartner research, post-COVID19 there are nine trends that businesses will need to focus on and assess for relevance and practicality for their workforces. Some will come as no surprise, some are definite changes and are new to the previous future of work discussions.

  1. Increase in remote work

  2. Expanded data collection

  3. Employer as social safety net

  4. Expansion of contingent workers (contractors, gig economy)

  5. Separation of critical skills and critical roles

  6. Humanisation (and dehumanisation) of workers

  7. Emergence of new top-tier employers

  8. Shift from designing for efficiency to designing for resilience

  9. Increase in organisational complexity

Three of the nine trends that specifically address workforce requirements are covered in this post - we will review the others in future articles.

1. Remote work:

The first one speaks for itself. We have all seen the increase in remote working, working from home and flexible work practises during this crisis (and prior!). And if you’ve read any of my posts, or had a conversation with me at any point, you will know that I am a firm believer in remote working and the added productivity and engagement that it brings. Clearly a no-brainer and a win-win for both employee and employer!

4. Contingent workers:

We have also spoken previously of the increase in the gig economy, or contingent / contract workers. Platforms such as Upwork have risen dramatically in their popularity from all perspectives. Allowing employees to work on specific contracts or projects, at a time and location that is convenient to them, gives not only greater flexibility to the employee, but allows the employer flexibility as well as reducing fixed employee costs.

As a base component of your workforce composition plan, contingent workers offer you the skills you need, when you need them, for the specific project you need them for and the length of time you need them. They should always form part of your workforce composition strategy and organisational structure to allow you to scale up or down with your market.

5. Critical skills vs critical roles:

Separating critical skills from critical roles brings a whole new level of flexibility for both employee and employer. What this means is that employees utilise and develop their skills for specific projects and requirements (read: agile, networked teams), rather than specific career paths. The changes this brings to workforce and succession planning are not huge, just a shift in focus from roles to skills and gives you the ability to course-correct as the market and your business evolves.

Capability development planning and implementation will also need to adjust to suit this new skills focus. Identifying personal and technical skills of an individual (supply) and the organisational capability requirements (demand), addressing gaps between the two through buy, build, borrow, retain or release strategies will become even more crucial for workforce planning and HR teams.

The common denominator with remote working, contingent workers and separation of critical skills from critical roles is: flexible working arrangements.

(See our previous post here for more on flexible work)

Different demographics and different generations have all expressed a desire for flexible working (pre-COVID19) to suit their lifestyles and personal circumstances:
  • Jacinda Ardern has spoken of a four-day work week

  • Grandparents requested flexibility to spend more time with grandchildren

  • global nomads were on the rise (shackled since!)

  • working parents requested flexible working hours to suit drop off, pickup and school commitments

  • global teams required flexible hours to match differing timezones

Businesses require the ability to flex as drivers change - whether they are internal or external drivers of change. Flexible working arrangements provide choice to all parties, engage employees, increase productivity and allows you to grow and sustain your business through uncertain times and volatile markets.

This pandemic has shifted our thinking and forced a change on us that is here to stay.

The things that were mooted previously as “nice-to-haves” are now essential, in place and not going anywhere fast. Whatever that looks like for us as employees or employers may mean a mix of different aspects, but it is clear that the 9 to 5 office environment of the past has drastically changed – for the better – and will continue to evolve as our return to work post-COVID19 commences.

Author: Jude Mahony

25th May 2020

We have the necessary skills and experience to help you prepare your workforce for the current and future state.

The Optimal Resourcing mapping of your future workforce approach includes:

  • identification of critical skills that fit your immediate needs and long-term strategy,

  • an adaptable workforce composition plan, with flexible, scalable options to suit VUCA business environments,

  • talent retention and acquisition strategies that ensure your team can continually evolve to meet the changing demands of your business.

Our industry-leading “DNA assessment” will help you to identify your teams personal skills, and our benchmarking process will support you in identifying the skills needed for your future workforce. The TTI DNA® profile has been designed to accurately measure an individual’s level of development in 25 business-related competencies (or personal power skills). The profile is named because these 25 competencies are like the foundational building blocks, or DNA, of performance, having been refined from an analysis of a much larger pool of skills.

Benchmarking roles for skills, assessing your team and identifying the gaps in your workforce skill-sets is where your focus needs to be as we come through this pandemic. Gather the data you need to make long-term decisions and to build a scalable, capable workforce to sustain and grow your business.

Working with the team at EZlytics, we can build a true picture of your workforce skills, the gaps in your talent supply and measure and monitor the activities undertaken to fill those gaps…


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