Singaporeans are feeling a little insecure about the future – can leaders help?
Professionals in Singapore are a little concerned about their job and financial security in the post-pandemic world – even more so than their global counterparts. Despite this, they remain optimistic that COVID-19 will bring an overall positive impact to the workplace.
In a recent study, ADP found that about half of employees believe that the pandemic will negatively impact their finances and their chances of finding a new job. Compared with their global peers, Singaporeans are more cautious about their career prospects, with about two-thirds doubting they could find another job with the same flexibility, job satisfaction or better pay.
Regardless, they do believe that once everything blows over, workplaces will be more flexible (51%) and they would have developed better skillsets (47%). However, more can be done by leaders to help them prepare for the post-pandemic world. Since the peak of the pandemic, almost three in five (58%) felt that there has been a lack of opportunities to develop their skills within their organisation. What’s more, one in three (39%) expect the pandemic to ruin their chances for career advancement.
The study, titled People at Work 2021: A Global Workforce View, will be presented by ADP in detail at HRD’s upcoming virtual HR Leaders Summit Asia.
Is HR doing enough to help employees’ development?
Yvonne Teo, vice president HR Asia Pacific at ADP believes that HR has an important role to play in helping employees prepare for the post-pandemic world. Leaders should provide the right tools and resources for them to achieve their desired goals, and guide employees to take active ownership of their own development.
“The role of HR was thrown into the spotlight when COVID-19 hit,” she told HRD. “It is now further elevated as they work closely with both top leadership and employees for workplace transformation. HR must also balance different employees’ expectations around opportunities to grow in their career, flexibility, and mental wellness.”
She added that concerns around career prospects is likely due to a lack of confidence in the general economic outlook. Amidst a crisis, employees are uncertain how much their companies would invest in developing their skills. What leaders can do is help build employees’ confidence by "continuously acknowledging their contributions and investing in L&D initiatives".
Leaders should also balance out the focus on work performance and progress by helping employees manage their well-being. While the pandemic has brought about a high degree of flexibility, the lines between work and home have blurred. Employees may have put in extra work hours due to increased job insecurity, so they feel like they need to do much more as remote workers to prove themselves and sustain or grow their careers.
“In addition to self-discipline, workers need the confidence to feel that they do deserve [some] balance,” she said. “Employers have a big part to play in underscoring the commitment to work-life balance. They need to walk the talk in the way they set their own boundaries between work and personal life.”
Crucial skills to manage the post-pandemic workplace
To help manage employees' concerns and enable the organisation’s success in the post-COVID world, Teo suggested that HR strengthened several crucial leadership skills: change management and agility. It goes without saying that being agile and quick on the feet will help leaders stay relevant and keep steady in a highly volatile environment. This is especially important as leaders are expected to be at the forefront of navigating change.
“As the saying goes, ‘change is the only constant’,” she said. “It is important that HR takes the lead in facilitating changes in the organisation as economic situations and work environments are changing at an unprecedented speed. Employees’ expectations are changing too, in terms of attaining personal fulfilment, mental health and career development. HR plays a vital role in leading change management efforts to ensure that the entire organisation moves in the same direction.
Catch ADP and various other thought leaders at the virtual HR Leaders Summit Asia on June 10th. Click here to register.