Human Resources

Three reasons why you should stop referring to the ‘new normal’ in your workplace

Shannon Edwards - July 27, 2020

As human beings the comfort of the rhythm, routine and terminology of ‘normal’ is one that is being craved heavily in our COVID-19 impacted workplaces.

The desire to re-create this for our employees in these times of domestic and global uncertainty has some of us keen to re-assure our employees that we can create a ‘new normal’ in 2020. Whilst the sentiment of wanting to create safe, secure and supportive work environments for our teams is a noble one, it could be setting your workforce up for a fall. Here are three reasons why you should be careful of using the term ‘new normal’ in your organisations, for the good of your employees…

Agility is the new ‘black’…
Agility is a skill that has become vital for a productive employee in 2020. The ability to embrace change and form new workplace habits and routines is not a skill which naturally exists in all employees, so to embrace the new ‘fluid’ workplace as we continue to operate our businesses during times of uncertainty has become essential. Whilst the workplace strategies you develop and execute to support your employees in 2020 and beyond are important, it all starts with how you set an expectation of agile thought and work practices for your employees. Ask yourself, do we place enough importance on our change and agility capabilities in our employees? Do we have a plan to invest in this skill development within our teams?

Recruiting talent with agility skillsets is fast becoming a key to business success.
As business continues to recover in Queensland post our COVID-19 challenges, many organisations are starting to shift their talent recruitment focus from the ‘what’ candidates can perform to a focus on ‘how’ they behave when performing in their roles. Business which have weathered the COVID-19 storm the most successfully have been those that have been have to reinvent, pivot, and rapidly respond to the changing nature of business over the last few months, and this has only happened because they had the agile workforce to execute it. Clients are now placing significant emphasis on agility and change capabilities when interviewing and recruiting their new talent in order to position their businesses and workforces for what we now know, will be a constantly changing workplace and marketplace. Ask yourself, do we place enough emphasis on candidate behaviours of change and agility when recruiting our new talent? Do we take the time to assess the likely ‘on-the-job’ workplace and leadership behaviour preferences in our recruitment processes before selecting our successful candidate?

Employee expectations are set through everything we do.
It is important that we create safe environments for our employees in 2020, given the tumultuous year our workplaces have had so far. But, we also don’t want to make promises we can’t deliver on. A ‘new normal’ suggests that we have control over the future impacts that may occur over the coming months and years in our ever changed business landscape. Instead, consider the use of language with your teams that motivates them to innovate, continuously improve, and adapt to changing market and workplace conditions whilst also encouraging them to behave in the workplace in accordance with these goals. Ask yourself are we communicating with our teams enough to ensure they feel supported? Are we sharing the organisations successes adapting to the market, and innovating with our people, in order to encourage more of this workplace behaviour?

The use of the term the ‘new normal’ in our workplaces may seem like a comforting gesture, but may actually result in workplace behaviours that don’t support what your business requires today in the ‘new now’.

Shanelle Moloney
Managing Director
Moloney Consulting




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