Human adaptation is a marvellous thing. As humanity tentatively emerges from the murky undertow of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is worth reminding ourselves that as of 4 months ago things were relatively “normal”. Yes, there was talk of a strange bat virus in China, but people were going about their normal lives, working their normal routines in their normal jobs. Since then we have collectively ridden a rollercoaster of uncertainty, as the global pandemic tightened its grip, threw government policy and finances into chaos, decimated various sectors of business – and then abated, gradually slinking into the shadows in sharp contrast to its shocking arrival.
Throughout the course of this strange and surreal episode of our lives, we have adapted wholesale to home working and schooling, Zoom, seeing our parents / grandparents voluntarily adopt technology (hitherto violently resisted), and strange pursuits not known to work-life balance including horticulture, reading and boardgames.
As I think forward about how I might recount this extraordinary period of history to my grandchildren on my knee, I will say that as the CEO of elementsuite, I feel blessed to have seen the best in human nature and how humanity can overcome the most extraordinary changes and challenges.
I will say that the best companies and businesses that survived throughout and thrived after the pandemic were the ones who understood the importance of people:
1) getting their basic HR practices right amidst a melee of regulatory change – paying people correctly and recording their absence and wellness, and
2) recognising the power and presence of their people – making effort to fully embrace digital HR technology to engage and communicate when social distancing prevented normality.
I will say that never had there been a time in history where looking after people had been so important. I hope I will also be able to say that companies re-imagined their business models to be less reliant on pure automation and lean processes, and more resilient through investment in the richness of their people and talent, using digital HR technology to harness development and growth opportunities.
But of course by this point, my imaginary grandchildren with their nanosecond attention spans, connected to their neuroimaging Playstation 18 will have disengaged from my blitherings, scoring virtual goals through the power of thought against their virtually connected friends.
…and I will reflect that human adaptation is a marvellous thing.