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The Pandemic: An Optimistic View From an HR Consultant

The Pandemic: An Optimistic View From an HR Consultant

The 2021 labor market revealed that the pandemic has produced two labor shocks.

One was felt when 22 million jobs were shed and the national unemployment jumped to nearly 15%. People of all sectors were given the opportunity to gain new skills, new relationships, and time to assess their lives. Hiring data from late summer and fall indicate that an increasing share of those newly hired were people switching jobs.This is an opportunity for employers to evaluate their talent acquisition program. The pool of applicants are those more willing to perform the job.
The second shock hit those that kept their positions. This job has the same employer, same job title and possibly the same salary. They too had to adjust to a new work environment, new job expectations and new ways of performing their jobs. 
This employers market challenged the human resources profession to realign organizational structures and how jobs were performed on and off site. Talent Acquisition requires a realignment of skills and competencies to perform jobs.
Are we in a labor shortage or simply utilizing outdated talent acquisition methods?
As a Professional Human Resources Consultant I see a few benefits from the pandemic.
    1.    The labor pool is not necessarily financially squeezed into choosing a job they will under perform in. This can bring a stronger set of applicants. 
    2.    The utilization of electronic information in Human Resources has moved into overdrive to include on boarding,            performance evaluation and benefits administration. In person and group meetings continue and are utilizing time            better so businesses can experience better production.
    3.    HR professionals are required to be knowledgeable of the laws and regulations regarding safety and health standards,  ADA, ADEA, HIPAA, ACA and OSHA to name a few. This is not new. It has become a stronger guide to                       implementing policies and procedures.
    4.    Work from Home. Businesses that have thrived during the pandemic with work from home positions are the reality for some. The employees that thrive with the new set ups are the employees that could have been lost due to family responsibilities or handicaps they experience but handle with the right flexibility. Businesses can now set production expectations instead of eight hours of time in the office with three hours of production and five hours of time spent on social media.

It’s tempting to see in 2021 a harbinger of some permanent shift in our labor market, but that would be premature. What is clear is that we will never re-create the world of December 2019. Workers learn from labor-market experience, good or bad, and very few were untouched by the dual labor shocks of the pandemic.

The labor market in 2022 and beyond will reflect not only what workers learned from their pandemic experience, but also how employers and policy makers choose to respond.

I encourage businesses small and large to invest in the right Human Resources Professional Consultant as a part of Human Resources strategy.
It will be your best 2022 strategic risk mediator. 
Author: Nancy Mallory, SHRM SCP