Rethink, Reapply and Reboot
Express Pharma|November 2020
Ankit Goyal, Healthcare and Lifesciences Practice Leader India, Heidrick & Struggles, enlarges on the changes in work trends and talent management strategies in the Indian life sciences sector due to COVID-19
Ankit Goyal

Life sciences leaders are working to balance a drastic shift in their revenue stream and volume, with some businesses that have halted and others that have become mission-critical, while managing remote employees and rising employee anxieties. As the pandemic resets major work trends, HR leaders are rethinking workforce and employee planning, management, performance and experience strategies. Of the various future of work trends that are identified, some represent accelerations of existing shifts; others are new impacts not previously discussed. Several leaders have deployed new tools and strategies to maintain employee engagement and to ease growing anxieties. It is imperative for leaders to evaluate the impact of each trend that it will have on their organisation’s operations and strategic goals.

Increase in remote working is reshaping a new world of work: Recent polls indicate that about 50 per cent of employees will likely work remotely at least part of the time after COVID-19. As organizations shift to more remote work operations, HR leader will need to explore the critical competencies employees will need to collaborate digitally, and be prepared to adjust employee experience strategies.

Consider whether and how to shift performance goal setting and employee evaluations for a remote context. This would also translate into fostering the relationship between workers and robots (remote workstations). One of the biggest trends is the partnership between robots and humans. The human element will never go away. HR will continue to manage the human workforce, and information technology (IT) teams will manage the robots.

Expanded employer role as a social safety net: The pandemic has increased the trend of employers playing an expanded role in their employees’ financial, physical, and mental wellbeing. Support includes enhanced sick leave, financial assistance, adjusted hours of operation, and child-care provisions among others.

To help manage employee anxieties, many are also implementing virtual culture-shaping events, including fitness classes, happy hours, cooking classes, lunch meetings, etc.

Companies are creating a team of global and regional health coordinators that are prepared for and trained in central crisis management. These coordinators are present at each company location to answer questions, give information on procedures, and establish policies in how to act during the crisis.

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