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Workforce Opportunities

Workforce Opportunities

Recently, a client who operates a large retail organization, confided that while the circumstances surrounding the pandemic have been incredibly difficult for the company and for the workforce, there have been some unique opportunities as well.

For example, even though the organization had to lay off 15% of its workforce when they were deemed non-essential, as the organization has reopened, leadership recognizes the value and talent of the remaining team members and is committed to retaining them. Managers are building new teams around these individuals. They looked around and recognized that the people who are still left are incredibly talented and the anchors of their departments.

Furthermore, the organization completely revamped its hiring process. Instead of rehiring those initially selected for layoffs (performance was a key factor in the layoff decisions,)  the company put into place a recruiting and selection process that prioritizes values and cultural contribution along with skills and abilities.

This organization is making the most of unique opportunities to implement updated strategies and rework some traditional workforce wisdom. Here are 3 workforce opportunities to take advantage of as you implement your back to work strategy.


The Best & The Brightest

Due to the conditions caused by the pandemic, many companies had to lay people off.  Some companies used these circumstances to make tough workforce choices related to poor performance, lack of cultural fit, etc.

Here’s the interesting part; in most cases, team members who remained are performing well, even thriving. They’ve embraced the constant change that is the current norm. These individuals have stepped up and taken on additional roles and responsibilities.  They’ve shown themselves to be scrappy and adaptable.

  • As companies implement their reopening strategies, it’s important to
    • Take care of these individuals! Be mindful of their well-being. Be mindful of morale issues (morale can dip whenever layoffs happen. There is a great deal of stress on the people who remain post layoff and a perceived pressure that they must perform at an even higher level to maintain their positions in the event of another round of layoffs.) Remind team members how vital they are and how important their work is.
    • Continue to engage the best and the brightest by seeking out their ideas and thoughts about relevant matters, like re-opening, company goals, etc.
    • Build your teams around these individuals



13% of unemployment is not a great economic marker; however, it does represent new opportunities for employers. Pre-pandemic the pool of talented individuals seeking work was quite small. This meant it was more difficult for employers to fill positions.


The talent pool has expanded in recent weeks which allows employers the opportunity to seek out candidates who not only have the skills to do the job, but who are also aligned with organizational values and can contribute to the company’s culture.


As the need to hire arises, here are some ideas to make the most of your hiring efforts:

Revisit your recruitment and selection strategy. Does it make sense given the talent market and business needs?

  • Does your hiring strategy include considerations for value alignment?
  • Does your hiring strategy include considerations for cultural contributions?
  • Is your recruitment process flexible enough to leverage unique and diverse talent? In other words, are you ticking boxes (years of experience in the industry, education, etc.) or are you open to considering rock stars from other industries and/or more diverse work experiences?


Working from Home:

The conventional wisdom at the onset of COVID was that working from home was going to be the best thing since sliced bread. There were great plans for productivity and excitement to ditch the commute and attend meetings sans pants.


From the employer standpoint, the shift means reduced overhead costs and the opportunity to offer a greater degree of flexibility to employees. As such, many companies are turning away from the traditional workplace model and shifting the majority of the workforce to working from home. Other employers are creating more flexible work from home policies and perks as people return back to the office


But working from home is not without its challenges. Yes, people are more productive, but it’s at the expense of life balance and increased stress.  The organic collaboration that occurred simply by walking over to a colleague’s cube or catching up in the break room just doesn’t exist in the same way when the team is geographically separated.   And let’s face it, working from home can feel lonely.


So, it’s important for leaders to carefully consider the next steps in the work from home movement. As you determine what makes the most sense for your organization, consider the following:

  • What makes the most sense for customers?
  • What strategies best support business objectives?
  • What strategies or policies make sense for team members?
  • Do policies, processes, and communication channels support work from home initiatives?


Looking for more insights on hiring or work from home strategies? Drop me a line at or give me a call at 888-529-0240.

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