“A global reset of the world of work” by Johnny C. Taylor, Jr

 “A global reset of the world of work” by Johnny C. Taylor, Jr

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.,

“Think back to where you were on Friday, March 13, 2020 — remember, that´s the day when governments and everyone essentially said ‘We’re going to shut down, people are going to work from home, permanently, for the foreseeable future.’’

 “Overnight, everything about work and workplaces changed.” 

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), took us back to the moment when the professional world moved from the office to our living rooms. As chaos and impending uncertainty unfolded before us in 2020, we still had to “adjust, survive, and thrive” in order to keep our careers and businesses alive.

Around 18 months into this transition, Johnny shared his expertise and wisdom accumulated over 20 years as a CEO, HR professional, and lawyer. He focused on four critical issues that HR, people managers, and businesses as a whole are facing while  navigating the permanence of working from home, whether they’re working full-time or part-time remote, or with a hybrid model:

  • Covid-19 and vaccination policies: How are vaccine mandates around the world impacting the global workforce, especially with conflicting feelings and messaging from government, employees, and employers?
  • 2021 and beyond working models and location: What is the office of the future? 
  • Talent strategies: How do we go about managing talent going forward?
  • Empathy: How to foster empathy in the workplace

Food for thought 

“[If companies force employees to return to in-person work], it will become much harder to retain your top workers now that many of them have become accustomed to work from anywhere.”   Taylor

When considering the above critical points mentioned, we cannot forget issues such as inclusion during remote work and the office versus remote work debate, especially now that many employees want to retain some form of a work-from-home or hybrid model. This is especially important when considering the 800,000 new entrants into the workforce, and that 40 percent of currently employed individuals are looking for new jobs.

Other key takeaways

How are we doing as far as retaining gender equity during these challenging times, when women are usually the main caregivers of any given household?

“Just as women were reaching parity in the workforce, we’re in danger of losing that. Following the pandemic, we need systems that support them in the 2022 workforce. Workplace flexibility will be crucial to talent strategies, recruitment, and retention,” said Taylor.

Who´s next in line for the promotion when choosing between an employee who’s able to physically be in the office, versus the employee who’s only present on Zoom?

We have an empathy deficit. 

“Empathy is not MEpathy.” – Taylor

Taylor noted that people want to be heard, to be understood, but don’t want to listen- as the saying goes, ”We don’t listen to understand, we listen to reply.” 

If we show more empathy in the workplace, we´ll do better, which means that business does better. Placing a higher emphasis on empathy also helps to attract the best talent. But we can´t get there without our people managers. People don’t leave companies because of HR, they leave because of their people managers —  the people on the front line must have their “empathy muscles” worked out, so that all team members know and feel that empathy is more than just a word.

Taylor recommends  

When someone else says something that’s not quite the way you see it: Step back. Don’t judge. Ask yourself, “I wonder why the person said that, what led them to that point?”

 The future of the world of work will include remote and hybrid workplaces, workforces, and cultures – empathy is the key.

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