Why do I feel like I have seen this movie (or should I say horror film) before? As an experienced human resources professional, I have come to expect that anytime there is a disruption in the economy (and the layoff of millions of people is a cataclysmic disruption), significant change will follow.
In the post COVID-19 business environment, I anticipate employees will be thinking about things like:
- Do I want to be an essential worker? Particularly when difficult situations surface, am I exempt from the protections afforded others?
- Why did I receive additional pay during COVID-19 (for those who received hazard pay)? How were my skills and time worth more in a crisis than before the crisis?
- I made more money with my full unemployment benefits, than when I was working. Is it worth it to come back to work? Do I want to come back in these still uncertain times? What can I do to remain on unemployment until I absolutely have to go back?
- Is now the time for me to consider a move to career that I always wanted to pursue? I’ve proven I can earn less and live adequately. Is now the time to pursue my passion? Or take on less stress?
- Did I feel appreciated and supported by my employer?
- I really like this remote work arrangement and I want to maintain it. Will my employer allow me to do so? Maybe a hybrid arrangement?
As a result of these questions, I anticipate a “job shuffle” is in the future for many employers. A job shuffle often happens after a disruption or change. It sparks employees to test the waters or to pursue new opportunities, particularly if they feel they weren’t treated well. Or when they have concern about returning to an environment that may put them at risk. This period of disruption allows time to think about a Plan B for their lives and does it look better than their current Plan A.
In light of this, employers also need to be thinking about how they will be responding to the questions above or the myriad of other questions that are sure to surface. The key question in my mind is: What can I do as an employer to encourage my employees to return to work?
One way to do this is to develop or revalidate your compensation plan and salary structure. Never before has it been more important. The stimulus package and the compensation response by employers may have raised expectations. And employees, don’t understand or potentially care about the tax advantages for these crisis-situation pay practices. Employees will be waiting to rate your movie. Will it get a 5-star rating or will there need to be a sequel?