This last article expands on how COVID is influencing corporate leadership, leading directly into corporate leadership trends for 2022. In what will likely still be a COVID-influenced economy, certain trends are starting to emerge that will lead companies through, what will hopefully be the end of the crisis, and into a future that has been irrevocably altered by the present.
One of several problems with the enforced and prolonged pandemic isolation is that it disconnects employees from feeling engaged, both personally and professionally. They struggle to feel like they’re still an integral part of something that gives their life meaning and purpose. Employers will be need to find ways to augment relationships, deepen interpersonal connections, enhance virtual training and collaboration and focus on workforce engagement to encourage retention and job satisfaction (Society for Human Resource Management).
We are currently facing a significant leadership shortage. The lack of experienced and available talent will force current leaders to search deeper within their own ranks to find potential candidates for future leadership roles. In 2022, forward-thinking executives will put succession strategies and promotion plans in place to make sure their C-Suites stay filled (hownow.com). Part of this succession strategy should include a people analytics review. Understanding all aspects of the corporate team will help understand who will be successful in various positions and when the right time for promotions and job changes will provide the best impact on corporate productivity and revenue.
The need to work remotely and the accelerated urgency to focus on their families’ temporal and physical wellbeing over the last two years has shifted employees’ mindsets about their work. A recent McKinsey study found that nearly two-thirds of employees surveyed identified that the pandemic has caused them to rethink their life’s purpose and reconsider what they do for a living. Now, more than ever, employers, managers, and leaders will need to double down on making the work experience attractive and rewarding for their team members. We can expect to see employers offering more flexible hours, hybrid home/office work location models, health and wellness packages, incentives, fitness perks, and mental health initiatives (Society for Human Resource Management).
Learning and Development at Every Level
According to Brent Gleason, former Navy SEAL and founder and CEO of TakingPoint Leadership, “The best and most powerful way” [to ensure an organization prioritizes employee experience in a measurable way] “is to have senior leaders who can clearly articulate the company’s vision and everyone’s role in mission success.” Usually, he says, “This requires an ongoing investment in leadership development” (Forbes.com). Going forward, employee training will move beyond onboarding and skills development at the lower levels, although that will still be important, and will move up through the ranks to ensure that corporate leadership is fully trained to guide, inspire, motivate, and retain an effective and upwardly-mobile workforce to ensure a robust work experience.
In the words of Ray Davis, “A challenge only becomes an obstacle when you bow to it (kidadl.com).” Good leaders are resilient and inventive, they find ways to move themselves and others through difficulties and on to success. Hopefully, the COVID-generated necessity to innovate will eventually lead to a stronger economy with the result of a happier, healthier and more empowered workforce.