People Trends 2020 Year-End Review Making Plans and Dealing with Change – People Trends 2020 Written by Shawn Bakker, Lead Psychologist We started this year with an exploration of the most critical issues that organizations were facing, all before COVID 19. At that time, HR professionals listed the following three issues as the most critical: Leadership Development Employee Engagement Employee Development Over the last 9 months the needs in these areas have not changed but taken on a new urgency as many leaders and employees are now operating in a very new environment while facing much uncertainty. For leaders who want to engage employees more effectively, respondents to our survey recommended the following: Communicate more frequently; communicate more information. Think and plan strategically; stop focusing too much on day-to-day issues. Deal with the conflict caused by changes and stress directly; don’t avoid it. Our research showed that at the beginning of the year, HR professionals saw managing change as a moderate concern, while dealing with the changing nature of work was not something that many worried about. The criticality of these issues has likely jumped a lot. We know that people find change that is unpredictable, frequent and uncontrollable as physically and emotionally stressful – and we certainly received our share of that this year. To better manage these changes, while also providing employees with a great sense of control (which reduces uncertainty), HR professionals highlighted the following activities for leaders: Be more willing and able to make adjustments to plans as needed. Monitor the implementation and impact of changes on people. Involve others in decision-making and planning. What is needed to deal with the critical issues identified at the beginning of the year and those that have emerged is the same – people skills! Those same people skills that are necessary to engage and interact with others effectively are just as important for managing change. In our People Trends 2020 Report you will find a greater exploration of these issues. You will also find insights for retaining talent and succession planning, career development, resolving conflict and supporting employees. You can view the 2020 People Trends Report here.