As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, an estimated 2.7 billion people, or more than four out of five workers in the global workforce, have been affected by lockdowns and stay-at-home measures. Business and government leaders have been challenged to both respond to the crisis quickly and rethink their workforce strategies in real-time.

It is important to realise that the recovery won’t be static. It will not occur on a specific date. COVID-19 is unlikely to end suddenly given the lack of available therapeutics and the uncertain prospects and timing of a vaccine.

A typical crisis plays out over three-time frames: Respond, in which a company deals with the present situation and manages continuity; Recover, during which a company learns and emerges stronger; and Thrive, where the company prepares for and shapes the “next to normal.”

The recovery from COVID-19 pandemic, given the human dimension of urgent workforce challenges and the uncertainties facing business leaders, requires workforce strategies which focus on both short-term recovery priority actions — Reflect, Recommit, Re-engage, Rethink and Reboot — and reaching for the future and new normal — integrating the attributes of Purpose, Potential, and Perspective.

These short-term actions — and long-term vision — present organisations with an opportunity to rapidly assess and evaluate their earlier workforce strategies and response priorities and to reposition themselves to thrive in the new realities to come. Organisations may be tempted to dismiss the need for change or imagine recovery as a return to the recent past. It is not. Organisations that return to their old ways of working may find their competitors have taken advantage of the recovery to re-imagine their workforce and business, positioning themselves to thrive in the future.

By anticipating and orchestrating these five priorities — Reflect, Recommit, Re-engage, Rethink, and Reboot — in the context of a future-directed towards Purpose, Potential, and Perspective — organisations can lead, prepare, and support their workforce through the recovery phase while positioning themselves for the next phase: thriving in the new normal.


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