Now is your chance to reimagine your workforce

Among the many things on the minds of CEOs we talk to today, labor tends to be top of mind. This past year brought significant changes to the workforce of many business leaders. However, many who had to make reductions to their headcount are now looking to build back. And with that comes opportunity.

This year, business leaders have the chance to reconstruct their workforce in new ways. The challenges of the past year likely put the spotlight on people within their organization who stepped up, took on more responsibilities or changed roles as the company pivoted to take advantage of openings in the market. And where businesses repositioned themselves, they may now have new hiring needs as they staff up departments with people who have skill sets better suited to handle the new needs.

The largely successful remote work experiment also opens the door to new staffing possibilities. Where organizations faced a local talent pool that might have been insufficient for their needs, they now can cast their search across the U.S. without concern for a candidate’s commute time.

Ohio employers are also looking at internal policies to both retain and attract employees. For instance, as was highlighted with this year’s Smart Culture Awards, a program that honors Northeast Ohio organizations that have demonstrated cutting-edge culture-sustaining practices, Cleveland Clinic was recognized for implementing a new maternity and paternal leave policy offering 70,000 caregivers worldwide more time off. Additionally, many of the businesses we recognized kept their culture strong through the pandemic with creative ways to engage employees, as well as virtual training and professional development options to upskill staffers while they work remotely.

As the economy reopens, employers have the opportunity to add skill sets, grow fledgling departments and fortify growth areas to attack the market. And while adding talent is important, be sure to take an assessment of the employees who helped your organization get through the many challenges of the pandemic year. Who came through with abilities that weren’t apparent before? Who stepped up to close talent gaps? Who showed leadership and could have the potential to take on greater responsibilities within the organization?

Take some time to recognize those who helped you pull through. Employers who overlook the talent that rose to meet this difficult occasion could be worse for it later when those employees find new homes with employers who recognize their potential.

Fred Koury is president and CEO of Smart Business Network Inc.