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Friday, 08 March 2024 13:46

Managing Generation Covid

A straw poll of employers at a recent business event we attended revealed that organisations are struggling to manage and integrate those employees who moved out of education and into employment during the “Covid years”. The transition into work has been anything but what we might have considered traditional for these individuals.

Furthermore, the wider shift towards remote and hybrid working models has fundamentally altered their expectations of the workplace and posed a new set of challenges for employers. Indeed, we may never see a return to what was previously considered normal working practices, and so understanding the perspectives of the Covid generation and adapting strategies accordingly will become crucial.

Entrants to the workforce post-Covid have had limited, if any, exposure to a conventional work environment. Their academic and early work experiences were predominantly virtual, shaping their expectations around flexibility, work-life balance, and digital communication. While this has equipped them with strong digital literacy skills, it has also created gaps in experiencing traditional workplace dynamics, such as in-person teamwork, office etiquette, and direct supervisory relationships.

Employers are now facing the challenge of bridging this experiential gap. The expectation for flexible working arrangements is no longer a perk but practically a standard demand from the newest workforce entrants. Government legislation to allow day-one flexible working requests has enshrined it. This shift challenges employers to balance operational needs with the evolving expectations of their employees, all while maintaining productivity and cohesion within their teams.

We should not expect the move towards more flexible working arrangements to be a temporary trend. Generation Covid may just be the start of an inevitable shift in the nature of work. As such, businesses might consider these changes permanent and adapt their long-term strategies accordingly. This adaptation is not just about accommodating the demands of new employees but also about leveraging their skills and perspectives to drive innovation and growth.

Some steps that employers might consider taking include:

  • Hybrid work models that work for the employer: Take the initiative and adopt and refine hybrid working models that offer a balance to employees but work in the employer’s favour. Consider an approach that satisfies the desire for flexibility among new employees while still providing them with the in-person mentorship and team interaction they missed during their education.

  • Onboarding and Training: Enhance onboarding processes to include comprehensive training on workplace etiquette, communication skills, and team dynamics. Generation Covid can lack some basic human interaction skills that employers will need to impart and develop in order to build functioning teams.
  • Mentorship Programs: Implement mentorship programs pairing new recruits with experienced employees. These programs can facilitate the transfer of tacit knowledge not easily communicated through digital channels, fostering a sense of belonging and accelerating professional development.

  • Adaptive Feedback Mechanisms: Regular feedback mechanisms should already be part of your management strategy to help understand the needs and concerns employees. Look at how these can be adapted and adjusted to better suit the evolving workforce. A more digital or gamified approach perhaps.

  • Train Your Managers to Manage Hybrid Workers: New ways of working call for new ways of managing. Adapting to meet the demands of an evolving workforce will only be effective if managers are equipped and on board and are given the necessary time and space to manage them. Management adaptation needs to consider both the practical and mindset aspects.

  • Fostering a Sense of Community: Create opportunities for social interaction, both virtually and in-person, to build a strong company culture and community. We know that social bonds make for good team cohesion. Ensuring inclusivity can also help to mitigate feelings of isolation among remote workers.

We suggest that pro-activity is the key for employers when facing the challenges and expectations of Generation Covid. By taking the initiative and implementing strategies that meet the demands of new workforce entrants whilst working in the employer’s favour, we can not only promote a positive employer brand and maintain competitive advantage.


Talk to us about turning potential challenges into opportunities for growth and innovation. Call us on 01452 331331 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to start a conversation.

  

Read 470 times Last modified on Friday, 08 March 2024 15:15

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