Does Your Post-Pandemic Strategy Lead What's Next

A Framework for Making Purpose-Based Decisions on the Future of Work

Is the complexity of defining and executing your organization’s return to work or “future of work” strategy keeping you up at night?

If so, you are not alone. With the exciting news of multiple vaccination approvals and an intensified effort to “get shots in arms,” employers are focusing on the who, what, where, when, and how of the post-pandemic workplace. While navigating through the complexity and various back-to-the-office options can be overwhelming, employers now have an unprecedented opportunity to:  

  • Reflect on the last year of working differently and remotely, and use these learnings to optimize your efficiency, effectiveness, and engagement. 
  • Revitalize and further leverage what differentiates you as an employer.
  • Re-engage key talent and customers to strengthen your employer and customer brand.
  • Reinforce a culture of equity and inclusion that honor your values and furthers your mission. 
  • Introduce practices to build resilience and position your employees to thrive no matter the shifts that they will face ahead. 

 IPL has partnered with Molly Dir, an experienced and successful HR executive to develop a highly configurable values-based approach to help clients design their unique “future of work” experience. 

The What’s Next Framework 

Our What’s Next framework is built on four broad dimensions: Purpose, Performance, People, and Place. 

Defining and implementing a future of work experience requires asking the right questions and applying consistent decision-making criteria. Your Purpose is central to the framework while the process ensures alignment with your business strategy and customer and employee value propositions. 

The first phase of the design and planning work includes a facilitated assessment that spans these dimensions, capturing both the learnings from the pandemic-related shifts you made and the impact of these decisions, and the viable new options for your What’s Next strategic plan. 

Whether your scope of post-COVID planning efforts is focused on small modifications of the “old way” to align with new realities or realigning your business strategy and employment brand or anywhere in between, IPL can fuel your What’s Next

1. Purpose

PURPOSE is central to everything you do. Every decision you make about your What’s Next will be pressure-tested by asking, “To what degree does this decision align with our Mission, further our Vision, honor our Core Values, and reinforce our desired culture?” 

A What’s Next experience includes more than how you will bring employees back to offices. It reflects belief in your Purpose and your commitment to your employees, customers and key stakeholders who fuel your ongoing success. 

2. Performance

Navigating a business during a global pandemic forced leaders to find new ways to engage employees and serve customers, reprioritize on-the-fly, and manage what really matters to get results. Organizations had to learn to effectively manage business and employee performance during a time of significant disruption. 

Our framework equips you to assess and optimize the levers that most impact your ability to drive performance, such as, the degree to which: 

  • Your performance measurement systems enable you to make swift decisions about “what and how” priorities. 
  • Your processes for interacting with current and prospective customers and serving their needs are agile enough to accommodate shifting conditions. 
  • Your productivity tools remain effective during times of great stress, enabling individuals and teams to perform no matter the obstacles faced.

3. People

The pandemic has shifted what employees expect from their employers and has reshaped per-ceptions of how and where it’s best to work gets done. 

Having engaged talent in the right roles exhibiting resilience and fit for the future skills positions an organization for sustained com-petitive advantage. 

You have an opportunity to strengthen this advantage by using what your organization learned from the pandemic experience about your people and performance to: 

  • Re-imagine their employee experience to attract, develop, engage, and retain the talent you need. 
  • Choose the optimal workforce policies and practices, aligned with your Purpose, Place, and Performance goals. 
  • Revisit total rewards offerings to reflect the realities of your shifting organizational model. 
  • Effectively use talent assessments to identify capabilities that differentiate success in the new world of work. 
  • Develop authentic, resilient leaders who can lead change and transitions with empathy, equity, and inclusion. 

4. Place

Almost overnight, your work-place had to expand beyond your buildings’ four walls to employees’ remote work- spaces. 

We were forced to reimagine where work gets done, how to collaborate in a virtual world, and what boundaries are needed to prioritize our personal and professional life. 

As we all prepare for What’s Next, one thing is certain: the former workplace “normal” will no longer exist. 

Keeping employees safe is the primary factor in determining the future mix of virtual and physical workspace, but there are several other considerations our framework can help you integrate into a practical yet strategic What’s Next plan, including: 

  • Determining where and how jobs are optimally performed.
  • Collecting employee perspectives and experiences of the work environment shifts that both enabled and hindered high-performance, and incorporating these learnings into your location strategy and work migration plan.
  • Creating workplaces and workspaces that are aligned with your employer brand and enable employees to thrive. 

Putting It All Together

We have been listening as our smart, courageous clients prepare to transition to what’s next in an (almost) post-pandemic environment. We truly believe it is possible to make this shift in a way that solidifies an organization’s core purpose and strengthens trusting relationships with customers and employees. 

This is our opportunity to learn from decisions made (and not made), put values into action, and embed inclusion and equity into everything we do. We can make shift happen and shape the future of work, or the shifts will happen to us, and we will be scrambling again when the next disruptive change occurs. 

We are all in this together, and we are here to help you navigate the next phase of this journey and achieve your own version of What’s Next

What We Offer Clients

We can help you efficiently and effectively develop and execute your What’s Next Strategic Plan through: 

  • Comprehensive organization assessments of your Purpose, People, Place, and Performance to pinpoint opportunities and develop a prioritized action plan. 
  • Customization and facilitation of What’s Next workshops, whether related to your post-pandemic plans or other significant organization changes. 
  • Development of transition and communication plans to support What’s Next implementation. 
  • Leadership effectiveness workshops to equip leaders at all levels to lead What’s Next (for themselves and for others). 

About the Author

Kristy Braden

Kristy is Co-founder and Principal at Inflection Point Leadership, Inc, where she partners with Brad Smith in engaging leaders to “make shift happen” effectively, sustainably, and with joy. In her 20+ years of both internal and external HR experience, Kristy has lead enterprise initiatives focused on organizational effectiveness, leadership development, career development, and employee engagement for clients across a wide range of industries. Kristy is passionate about helping organizations transform individual talent into aligned, high-performing team results. 

Molly Dir

Molly is a high-energy, dynamic leader who casts vision, sets strategy, and rolls-up her sleeves to make things happen. Her hallmark is creating strong connections between where the business wants to go, and which HR solutions will help them get there. A highly skilled and innovative HR leader for more than 25 years, Molly brings a deep understanding of business in general and the life sciences industry. In her role as a trusted HR advisor to C-Suite executives, Molly has provided strategic counsel to increase the effectiveness and inclusiveness of leaders at all levels. She has led numerous globalization and transformation efforts harmonizing 

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