Change management post-COVID-19

With the gradual resumption of economic activity in the province as announced by the Government of Quebec, most businesses are facing a range of challenges associated with implementing measures to protect the health and safety of their workers. Some employers may have to put certain business activities on hold or even start new ones in order to keep their enterprise going.

These challenges and changes are bound to raise issues in the workplace, either temporarily or permanently. Consider in particular:

  • organizing work tasks to allow social distancing
  • using new tools or tools adapted to the business’s requirements
  • configuring workstations to address the new reality
  • changing communication methods
  • using new software
  • digitizing work tools
  • managing customers in a different setting
  • establishing new rules for accessing the premises and using the workspace
  • changing work schedules
  • restructuring work teams
  • reviewing and monitoring workplace safety protocols
  • managing work-life balance
  • updating work policies

Employers wishing to ease the transition or to optimize the implementation of any such changes must provide proper training so that staff can adapt to the new reality. This will ensure that workers have up-to-date skills and are productive.

In order to manage change effectively, businesses must define their short-, medium and long-term training needs. They should begin by assessing the extent to which the skills and knowledge of their workforce are suited to the new reality.

Once employers have a complete picture of their workforce, they should review the training gaps and set up a training program based on the availability of both trainers and staff, giving the latter time to adjust to the new situation.

In addition, it would be wise for employers to determine who, among their workers, will be responsible for filling in for sick colleagues. These individuals should attend several training sessions that provide the skills needed to take over temporarily, if necessary. To ensure that employees buy into the idea, employers should explain the rationale for this approach.

Obviously, in the current situation, employers must make the necessary arrangements to offer such training remotely where possible.

Finally, once these steps have been completed, employers should monitor skill progression and employee performance, while ensuring that everyone complies with the changes and follows the new guidelines.

Training existing staff reduces hiring costs. New skills can also contribute to reducing operating costs through the reorganization of teams and the optimization of work practices.

Where jobs are being impacted by restructuring, due consideration should be given to workers’ rights. The professionals in our Labour and Employment Law team can help you avoid any serious issues in this regard.

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