We are about to close an atypical year that started off with a head start and intense activity in January, February, even March – until the lockdown imposed mid-March pulled the break.
Introduced more as an anticipatory measure of protection in a context of lacking information, the lockdown has thrown us into a new reality. Europe realised just how vulnerable it is; having constantly chosen the scenario of minimal costs, we woke up to the fact that we are dependent on China and India – on Asia in general – for primary healthcare products, including primary active ingredients of essential medicines. Romania has realised that its healthcare system is in a state of collapse – it has got too few specialists, ICU beds registered as such but lacking the necessary ICU equipment, too much beaurocracy and too many employees hired on other criteria than those of meritocracy.
Businesses went remote, they switched to “work from home” without having too much time to prepare and adapt. And after 9 months, during which some companies chose to go permanently fully remote, others chose a hybrid remote-working model that combines remote work with office time, while some – especially the manufacturing industries – went back to working face to face, so after these 9 months there are a few conclusions to be drawn:
- Companies continue to hire, some have seen a good opportunity to get access to talented people during times of crises. Those companies which had liquidity problems have turned out to be the most vulnerable ones.
- The digitalization of business processes has become a priority, but we will feel its huge impact in our business activity in 2021.
- The profiles of the candidates in demand are changing – qualities such as the capacity to manage the unpredictable, to generate alternative solutions, to practice soft skills, to have digital competences beyond the use of a ERP-system are becoming more important for employers.
- Hence we have introduced new interview-questions like – How will you build a relationship remotely with a potential client? How would you install an equipment remotely? How do you project warmth and make the client feel supported remotley? How will you maintain staff morale whith a strongly limited face-to-face interaction? How do you intergrate a new employee into your team located in Hungary, considering the travel restrictions in place? Which processes will you automate in your department?… and so on …
- During this year marked by pandemic the highest number of psychological profiles were ordered compared to 2019. Why is that? There is an acute need to choose the most suitable person for the new context, in which change has become the new definition of reality. We made profiles of salesmen, technicians, managers and even general managers. An element that surprised me is a declining trend on two scales: self-esteem and independence. Possible causes could be telework and poor communication due to online interaction, which is way too little empathic and personal and has eliminated the perception of the success of one`s own actions. But there is another aspect, too – we have not had the context of so-called “war zones”, where you sometimes loose and sometimes win, and this commotion of experienced emotions and personal reflections could nourish a healthy interpretation of oneself. We need to find the best solutions for telework or hybrid work-models in order to offer the entire range of work experiences which allow employees to maintain their personal balance.
- The toxic people of businesses – the profile of the person who constantly complains about others, who creates a tense atmosphere, who always gives himself/herself as the example to follow in order to perform, who does not generate solutions and hides his/her incompetence behind an excessive flow of words – but lacking in content – you can find such people on the job market, actively looking for a new job. The pandemic has accelerated their exit from companies, as performance became mandatory and has been magnified by the need for quick action.
- The pressure to perform has been continuously increasing and the winners are those who bolstered the quantitative KPIs by qualitative ones. We changed our approach – we are replacing the vision of quick and even single results with the idea of the result as a first step in a longer chain of results.
- We are thus transitioning to the idea of business partnerships – with our clients, with our employees, with our suppliers – an essential step in the coming of age of the business environment.
In a video material recorded during the Romanian Business Leaders Summit with George Saad (entrepreneur with competences in innovation and culture in business)– with the title ”Go indestructible and face the crisis with a smile” – a valuable conclusion that can be drawn was the following:
Some industries are hard hit, there are no questions about it, but when your work provides pride and value and real impact – your customers, employees and suppliers will stick around.
The article was published in Revista Cariere – Claudia Indreica, PhD, the 14th of December, 2020,