Your PCPS- Post-COVID-19 People Strategy!


We have all moved through the statements and buzz words that have come with this pandemic, from “when we go back” to “adjusting to the new normal.” The rate and magnitude of change we are experiencing is unprecedented and the reality is that the COVID-19 pandemic now defines a significant chapter in time for anyone that has experienced it. And along with that change has come life-altering experiences, learning and realizations. 

For organizations, it may mean a more careful selection of who to bring onboard, and perhaps, an evaluation of the existing workforce in place. Employees who have happily obliged long hours and the “bum in seat” mentality, may have discovered a new found value for flexibility, while others have been challenged with facing their first economic downturn. As we begin to reopen the world with fresh eyes, the conversation around the water cooler (if your organization is even letting people use it) focuses on the new normal and how we fit into it both individually and collectively.

Step 1 – Look at your past values and make sure they align with your current values

We all have value and mission statements on our website, but how often do you revisit them? Do these statements guide your business activity? Do you truly believe everyone in your organization is living them on a day to day basis? Ultimately, your values should define the ‘how’ in how your organization and its people go about reaching goals.

Situations like COVID-19 are awakening moments that have a tendency to alter our values and provoke realizations. To build strategy, you must first define where you are heading (the goal) and the values (the how) that will be woven through the steps you take in getting there.

Step 2 – Take the time to outline where you want to go before you begin to solution

The unemployment rate in North America has risen and the saturation in job seekers allows employers to be more selective. This is a great time to look at both your internal culture and skill inventory (a term I use to define the collective expertise within an organization) to determine if they truly represent what your business needs today.

Your culture and people (and the strategy that surrounds these components) must align with your organization’s values, purpose, and business objectives. Once you determine your current state and where you need to go, you can begin plotting the points on your road map.

Step 3 – Respect the process and invest the time

Now you can begin to plot the tactical elements of your people strategy. Focus on outlining which roles are critical without thinking of the people that will assume them. Next, define who will stay and go, who you will invest in to retrain and reposition, and who you need to bring on to fill the voids that are left. Taking the time to focus on workforce planning will allow you to leverage better results in your recruitment and subsequently your retention strategy.

Step 4 – Be creative, innovative and spark the same spirit in your teams

You can always choose the easy or efficient way but I encourage you to look closely and see what you may be compromising in doing so. Is the efficient way going to be the most sustainable or yield the same results as the more challenging way?

For example, you may take my point referenced earlier around determining which roles are required to deliver upon the strategy vs the people that hold these roles. This does not mean to terminate the incumbent, especially, if that individual displays the values and alignment towards your goals. If you have found someone who is truly great to work with, cares deeply about your organization’s success, and is a solid ambassador to what your company represents, don’t let them go. Fit is the most challenging component to recruit and train for. Furthermore, despite, your recruitment, selection, and training efforts, you are not always guaranteed results.

This is where I challenge you to be creative and innovative in determining solutions. Don’t try to fill a box but rather think outside of the box. Explore re-purposing that individual in other areas of the organization or investing in retraining them to master a new skill.

Lastly, organizations represent collective thought. Rather than relying solely on the folks at the top to be innovative and creative, engage employees for their thoughts and ideas. Being honest about the situation (especially in challenging times) and conveying a compelling strategy goes a long way. Empowering people to play a role in defining how the organization reaches its goals goes even further.



Serena Morphy, CPHR, SHRM, is an independent consultant of Awaken HR. Serena partners with businesses to work through problems and opportunities by developing and deploying people strategies that compliment culture, values, and overall business strategy. Learn more at

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