This article was originally published on August 28, 2020 on LinkedIn. Find the original publication here.
Sometimes, I think COVID-19 has changed the way we understand the world. Instead of “BC” and “AD,” we’ve shifted to “BC” and “AC”: “Before COVID” and “After COVID.”
In this AC era, there will be new ways to measure success. And the sooner we recalibrate our businesses to track these metrics, the more successful we will be. I’ve outlined six success metrics that, in my opinion, maybe pivotal in the AC age. Of course, these are only guesses—time alone can tell how everything will turn out—but for the present, guesses are the best we have.
- Systematic Efficiency Driving Operational Efficiency. Before COVID, operational efficiency was king. As long as everything ran smoothly, it didn’t matter what systems your team used. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has destroyed this idea. Outdated methods, like emailing excel sheets back and forth, were suddenly incredible drains on productivity. Businesses who had advanced systems in place, however, found that switching to remote work barely affected day-to-day operations. And in the post-COVID world, this systematic efficiency will form the backbone of operational efficiency, as well as company-wide productivity.
- Remote Work as a Door to Talent. Remote work was an option before COVID hit, but it certainly wasn’t mainstream. Most companies still insisted that their employees report to an office, which meant potential candidates were limited by geography. But now, 82% of business leaders are planning to continue remote work, even after the pandemic. That means businesses can access the best talent literally anywhere. Geography is no longer a barrier.
- ATS as a Business Management Tool. ATS platforms emerged in the 1990s. Back then, they were used as a tool to manage workflows. And up until a few months ago, this had not changed. It’s not that ATS platforms weren’t advancing—on the contrary, these platforms have advanced remarkably, offering things like built-in CRMs and SMS integrations. It’s just that staffing firms weren’t taking advantage of these advancements. But COVID-19 has forced firms to realize the full potential of their ATS platforms, resulting in a more efficient & productive recruitment workflow.
- Prioritizing Employee Well-Being. Before COVID, employers addressed employee well-being through benefit packages. Reliable healthcare, 401K match, and flexible vacation were the most important factors for employees’ health. But COVID-19 has forced employers to realize that employee well-being goes beyond this benefit package. In fact, employee well-being can cost US employers up to $300 billion annually, if not properly addressed. Looking forward, employers will have to rely on tools like the Employee Well-Being Index to gauge the overall health of their workforce—and keep costs down.
- Adopting New Technology (or Else). For years, businesses that were slow to implement advanced tech were lagging. But they remained profitable. Now, however, businesses that do not adopt advanced tech will be destroyed. Companies that had no cloud-based infrastructure, no online collaboration tools, were hit hardest by COVID. Overnight, they had to reallocate budgets to invest in technology. This significantly reduced their profitability, as infrastructure changes are best done over time, not in 24-hours. In the AC (“after COVID”) era, there will be no room for businesses that are not prepared with the latest technology—period.
- Upskilling the Workforce. What COVID-19 has taught us is simple: the more agile and adaptable your workforce is, the higher your chance of success. Workers across industries have adapted to new work environments overnight. And companies have been struggling to map their workforce onto the new activities and challenges of remote work. This process of identifying the skills your business model depends on and instilling these skills within your employees is the first step toward closing the 87% skills gap, according to McKinsey. This means that upskilling should be one of the top priorities for talent management in the AC era.
In my opinion, these metrics will form the baseline of success for businesses post COVID-19. In a nutshell, all six points communicate the same message: adapt or be left behind. The realities of advanced technology, remote work, and talent management have become painfully apparent due to the current public health crisis. And businesses who embrace these realities, and leverage them, will continue to grow and succeed in the new AC era.