Leading in a changing world

How can OD practitioners step up to the challenges of a post-pandemic future?

By Tom Robinson (Managing Director, Talent Tomorrow), on CIPD, written on 3rd August 2020

When the COVID-19 pandemic eventually subsides, we will see that much has changed. The crisis has resulted in tragic loss of life, escalating public health emergencies, skyrocketing unemployment rates and the disruption of supply chains across the globe. Despite government stimulus packages and interest rates dropping to near zero, the pandemic is still affecting every industry – especially travel, tourism, leisure, retail and hospitality. And we’ve not even touched upon the potentially catastrophic effect of a no-deal Brexit.

There are more people working at distance, with less job security, rising national debt and a looming economic downturn. The equality gap is also widening, with more ethnic minorities, women, those who care for dependants and economically disadvantaged groups being disproportionally affected by the impact of this accelerating change.

The post-pandemic world is a perfect breeding ground for unethical behaviour. The CIPD’s report Rotten Apples, Bad Barrels and Sticky Situations highlights the way high-pressure, high-stakes situations often result in poor ethics. We can see this play out today, as organisations demand people return to work when they’re not ready, pressure supply chains, provide insufficient protection, and treat people like units of production.

Organisational development (OD) practitioners should use this opportunity to help organisations ditch some of the ‘bad’ behaviours (profit at the expense of people, a lack of connection, long commutes) for good ones (supporting people, a clear purpose, overt values, a renewed focus on wellbeing).

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