Defining a New Normal in Revolutionary Times

The Coronavirus pandemic has permanently ended 20th-century workplace norms and expectations among both employees and employers, asserts a new report entitled Resetting the New Normal: Defining the new era of work. Among the findings:

  • Leaders require enhanced skill sets to support and enhance employee well-being.
  • Employees crave opportunities to upskill their digital and soft skills.
  • Blended work (remote and in-person) is optimal for both employees seeking work-life harmony and employers seeking office space cost-savings and productivity.
  • Employers are responsible for creating new workplace norms.
  • 40 hour workweeks should be replaced with agreements that focus on results and productivity.

As revolutionary as these changes are, there is yet more going on that many employers may need to consider. Employees in many communities are demanding employers be pro-active and take immediate actions to create workplace equity. This includes publishing statements of support for social justice causes as well as enhanced and targeted efforts to increase diversity and foster workplace cultures that are inclusive and supportive of all employees. In order to attract applicants and retain employees regardless of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, etc., it is no longer enough to do what has been done in the past; revolutionary new efforts are being demanded by some.

Employees’ calls for workplace equity are being matched by legal changes in many communities; Colorado’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act is an example. Prompted by persistent pay gaps, despite the national Equal Pay Act of 1963, these local laws impose aggressive new expectations on employers to eliminate illegitimate pay disparity between employees. It is likely that new legislation will be forthcoming at the local and national levels when legislative sessions reconvene in the Autumn; the November elections will also be impactful.

Navigating the revolutionary changes prompted by the pandemic crisis and workplace equity will challenge employers in new ways. Balancing new expectations with current limitations and realities may not be easy. Employers Council membership provides access to expertise, resources and support to successfully transition to the new norm, including:

  • Change management assistance
  • Team facilitation
  • Leadership coaching
  • Pay Equity Analysis
  • Legal consultation and guidance
  • Human Resources advising and idea-sharing
  • Training for universal workplace skills

Defining a new normal will vary greatly by workplace; the global report referenced above is not reflective of all employers in all communities. Employers are diverse, as are their employees, their stakeholders and their communities, so expectations of employers will vary and no single approach to addressing these challenges will be appropriate. Members are encouraged to reach out to discuss the challenges they face in defining their new norms. Employers Council is here to help.