A third of organisations are reshaping workforces in the wake of COVID-19

A third of organisations are reshaping workforces in the wake of COVID-19

A third of organisations globally are reshaping their workforces since the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic began, according to new research.

The research, conducted by insurance company Aon, also shows that two thirds of organisations have a “future of work” taskforce, yet just one third has defined what the future means for them. 

Aon’s sixth Global COVID-19 HR Pulse Survey, conducted in December 2020, garnered respondents from over 1,400 organisations around the world, more than 500 of which are based in Europe.

John McLaughlin, chief commercial officer, Human Capital, EMEA at Aon, said: “The key takeaway from our latest HR Pulse survey is how the pandemic has served as a catalyst for us all to rethink how we work, where we work and how work should be done. Organisations are largely shifting from a critical, reactive stage to planning their future. By dividing organisations’ response to COVID-19 into a three-stage framework, we can see whether respondents believe they fit into the first category, “React and Respond”, the second category, “Recover” or the third, “Reshape”.

“What is clear from the findings is that organisations that say they have reached the third stage - Reshape - are more likely to focus on the future of work.

“However, the future of work is a big, multi-faceted issue that is hard to tackle, not least because it’s not clear what the term means. Its definition is often rooted in predicting the future, which is onerous - and clearly impossible. Instead, organisations can tackle the future of work by breaking it down into elements, such as optimising investment in a workforce, reducing people-related risk and ensuring a workforce is flexible and resilient enough to be capable of rising to future challenges." 

Aon’s survey showed that just 10% of global organisations felt they were still in the “React and Respond” stage since the pandemic began. These organisations are focusing on crisis management and business continuity.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents said that they are in the “Recover” stage, focusing on updating business goals and adjusting operating plans, while 33% are in the third “Reshape” stage where they are restructuring or pivoting offerings and deploying new talent strategies.

European respondents differed marginally at 8%, 56% and 36%, respectively. These figures represented a slight change from a pulse survey conducted in August 2020, when 27% of organisations said they were in the “Reshape” stage.

McLaughlin added: “The reality is that the future of work isn’t an esoteric or ephemeral topic. Indeed, the dramatic changes that every organisation has gone through since the pandemic began shows that preparing for future risks is essential.”

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