What Great Leaders Will Do in 2021
With the Covid-19 ravaged year of 2020 drawing to a close – and with no definitive end in sight to the pandemic – results will not be the only thing leaders need to care about in the new year.
While the coronavirus changed how work got accomplished, there were many other items that created insecurity among employees this year. Unrest in many metropolitan and even remote areas due to social injustice, a very tense and divided general election, and the growing disparity of inequality felt among employees has created needs that leaders need to be aware of.
A recent article from EverFi shows six trends that will be of utmost importance in the coming year:
- New responsibilities for HR and Compliance – address issues that were once considered outside of their purview, such as politics, mental wellness, parenting, availability of education systems and childcare, and social justice.
- Broader focus on employee wellbeing – this may include new programs and amplified benefits related to employee mental health, physical wellness, child care, elder care, PTO, or flexible work arrangements. Others will reimagine the design and use of work spaces and gatherings to maximize both employee connection and safety
- Sustained action to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion – focusing on: increasing diversity throughout their employee and leadership ranks, examining processes that may create barriers to equity (such as recruitment, development, and advancement programs), fostering inclusion and belonging, and preventing both subtle and egregious acts of harassment and discrimination
- Continuation of remote work – to enable team management and collaboration, facilitate compliance efforts, deliver workplace training, and drive culture and employee engagement, among a dispersed workforce.
- Increased compliance complexity – From new mandates related to COVID-19 safety, anti-harassment training, pay and promotion transparency, and data privacy, to new protections against hair discrimination and whistleblower retaliation
- Business pressure to elevate workplace practices – consider assessing your values, policies, and practices to ensure they are aligned in support of an inclusive, ethical, and sustainable workplace.
In every businesses’ focus to gain back lost business or even maintain business from the pandemic, employees are the ones feeling the brunt of the drive to survive. The new imperative for leaders is not to get results, or get employees to produce more, sell more or work more, but to understand the meta of what employees need from their leaders in order to do the work they wish to perform.
Employees have learned a great deal about what their leaders have provided for them during this year, and data has revealed mixed results. With employees realizing what their leaders and organizations were truly made of, the exodus of talent may quickly leave for companies and leaders who best adopt practices around these six needs when the job market starts to flex open again.
The leadership landscape won’t just be changed for the coming year. To the leaders who truly care about their teams and the social and emotional impact of their people, they will work diligently to adopt a more holistic style that makes people feel safe and balanced while continuing to create an engaged workplace in person and remotely.
What got you through 2020 will not make you successful going forward. Leaders that set self aside for the sake of their team will be the new normal.