How HR can help reframe reinvention

HR reframe

New working from home arrangements are the least of some employees’ concerns over COVID 19 induced change – prompting the need for positive reframe writes Natalie Green.

In the name of employment security, many workers are facing the unsettling prospect of taking on new unfamiliar roles or new facets to their old role. It has left HR with an important role to play smoothing the transition to protect the wellbeing of their people and the future of their organisation.

Re-skilling for resilience
Even before the pandemic, changing technologies and skills gaps made re-skilling an emerging priority for companies. The 2019 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report, Leading the social enterprise: Reinvent with a human focus advised, “Organisations can no longer expect to source and hire enough people with all the capabilities they need; they must move and develop people internally to be able to thrive.”

Then came 2020’s extraordinary circumstances added urgency with new requirements to meet safety compliance, working from home arrangements, e-commerce based demands and to compensate for the shutting down of entire operations.

In a few short months, the ante has been well and truly upped on realigning employees with new responsibilities and activities.

“Companies need to invest in their people. That’s how many companies will survive this crisis and become stronger.” – Carol Stubbings, Joint Global Leader for People and Organisation, Partner, PwC UK PwC Talent Trends 2020 report, Upskilling: Building confidence in an uncertain world.

Overcoming fear and reluctance
For some, positional pivots are a welcome turn of events. Many employees feel fortunate to escape redundancy and they relish additional challenges. New roles and career changes often result in increased productivity, performance, and motivation.

However, others have undoubtedly been left feeling disappointed, fearful, and compromised. Change may be a fact of life but being coerced out of one’s comfort zone is bound to cause anxiety and discomfort.

Of course, the HR professional has not been excluded from this upheaval. Many industry experts are heralding a new age of Chief Well-being Officers and other functions that focus on remote working facilitation and resilience coaching to name a few.

(Roles that are already currently well underway widely across industries – either in an official capacity or within a broader HR title.)

4 motivators for role re-imagination
From a psychological standpoint – whether imparted to others or for the purpose of our own internal pep talks – we can draw on reassuring data and self-motivational tools to reframe fear of career reinvention. For example:

Look inwards: Make the mental shift by doing a self-inventory of personal strengths and talents, skills, and accomplishments. Use them as anecdotal proof of capability and potential to leverage them in new ways.

“What you attend to in this moment becomes your reality.” – William James

Remember, career re-invention is now an expectation not a failure: Human behaviour research in recent years has indicated that school leavers are expected to have 17 different employers in their lifetime. Based on three jobs before upskilling or career changing, they will also have five different careers.

Take inspiration from mature age career trends: A study from the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) found that 82 per cent of adults aged 47 plus made successful career transformations.

Think about your company’s history of achievement: Use your employer’s past success stories as indication of a positive future. Reflect on how the company has overcome challenges and embraced innovative new practices in the past and apply that to ongoing identity and purpose.

My favourite example of reinvention is …
Of course, reinventions can be more than positional pivots, they can be inspirational and interesting.

Ahead of the HR and L&D Virtual Innovation & Tech Fest, 5 industry experts set to deliver their incredible insights into the reinvention of the workplace shared the examples of reinvention that they love.

Heather McGowan – Future of Work Strategist and Co-Author of The Adaptation Advantage (USA): Victorinox has made swiss army knives since 1880. After 9/11 they lost 40 per cent of their business because people could no longer fly with knives. They did not lay anyone off and instead they took the same philosophy of the utility of the pocketknife and applied it to watches, bags, and travel gear. Knives now only represent 55 per cent.

Taryn Marie Stejskal – – Chief Resilience Officer (CRO), Resilience Leadership (USA):  For me, reinvention isn’t a once and for all metamorphosis, but a continual process over time of listening to the voice within and becoming the people we are meant to become. At age 40 Stan Lee had just published his first comic book, Vera Wang had just started in fashion, Samuel L. Jackson hadn’t starred in a movie yet, and Julia Child was still working in advertising. It’s never too late to start or start again.

Jaymie Ling – Acting Director of Customer Experience and Payroll, HealthShare NSW: My favourite reinvented person right now is Jocko Willink – he is a reinvented Navy Seal commander who now teaches leadership and general awesomeness.

James Dellow, Founder and Director, Chief Technology Solutions: Bill Gates – from founder of the world’s largest software business to philanthropist focused on tackling health and poverty.

Bruce Mackenzie – Founder & Managing Director, Humanforce: Haier sent out employees to see how customers used and responded to their recently released washing machine. They found that many rural farmers used the washing machine to wash potatoes and other vegetables. Haier’s CEO Ruimin finessed the washing machine to make sure that the vegetables could be safely washed.

REGISTER by COB 8 July for FREE access to the HR and L&D Virtual Innovation & Tech Fest taking place 7-8 July – you can watch and interact live or watch the recordings for a limited time at a later date.