LinkedIn today boasts of having more than 700 million members in its platform coming close to the billion members club of the likes of Facebook, YouTube, Instagram etc. The main vision of the platform is to connect every professional of the world to economic opportunities at a massive scale.
Social media has seen a huge surge in traction in recent times due to the onset of the Corona Virus. Sources suggest that engagement has rapidly shot up and members have been more active now than ever before. LinkedIn as a platform has been the sounding board for professionals all over the world who have leveraged the platform to voice opinions, share stories, seek help etc. Lets look at some of the visible trends.
THE NEW NORMAL IS THE NEW TRENDING TOPIC
Lets face it, the New Normal has now become the latest fad and people the world over have used it more than life itself. While everyone, especially the thought leaders (HR leaders to be more specific), seem to have been building strategies and plans, no one seems to be looking at getting back to the “Normal” since that’s left to ours scientists and medical fraternity.
However truth be told, #workfromhome is’nt a cup of tea for most, and the diminishing line between work and personal life is creating havoc in the minds of the employees.
The New Normal will allow organizations to radically cut real-estate, transportation and rental costs but it will be interesting to know how the employees will react once the new normal becomes a way of life.
WORK FROM HOME IS NOW PRODUCTIVE
The concept of #workfromhome is not new but before corona hit us, it was a privilege of few companies and employees from such companies would brand this perk like the sword of Excalibur.
Not anymore, organizations, have now been compelled to follow the new norm to ensure business continuity. On the other-hand, managers who once frowned upon this concept have become advocates overnight going miles ahead and talking about mental well-being and employee engagement. For a lot of organizations, such a change will bring about a decrease in cost on rentals, transportation, food and real-estate while for others, where the business model demands working from office eg car production, there is a sizable impact on revenues and profitability
THE RISE OF THE SELF-PROCLAIMED THOUGHT LEADER
With most of the professionals either working from home or looking for their next role along with the new vigour of self-learning and development, engagement in LinkedIn is at an all time high.
This has also seen the rise of self-proclaimed thought leaders. The platform is replete with their personal anecdotes, recommendations, perspectives and quotes. While some of the posts are really world class, a lot of them are replicas of replicas and yet, the interesting observation being – they still go viral. The situation is quite grim since these low quality posts are validated, liked and positively commented by the followers of the author providing further encouragement for such posts in the future.
LinkedIn has also given rise to super talented professional who have become masters of complicated domains after completing 1 to 2 hours of learning putting grave pressure on people who are in platforms like Coursera (average course duration range from 4 to 12 weeks)
EVERYONE SEEMS TO HAVE MISSED IT- LEARNING
The Corona crisis exposed major gaps in the L&D space for a lot of organizations. With a massive number of employees working from home, keeping them engaged and in the right frame of mind are areas of focus. Employee Development is one area where an organizations cannot put the brakes on and hence saw the rise of virtual, online and self-paced learning. There was also a huge surge in interest around e-learning platforms such as Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, Degreed etc.
On the other hand, the crisis also exposed the archaic and the conventional nature of the existing Learning Management Systems deployed in the organizations. While the organizations deployed measures to correct these gaps, a fresh breed of learners came alive bolting courses after courses and updating their profiles with completion certificates.
This exhibition of exuberance is a testament to the fact that most of us missed out a valuable lesson – continuous learning
DECLINE IN THE QUALITY OF POSTS
There have been clear observations about how LinkedIn is slowly losing its authenticity about being a networking and a publishing platform and tending towards being something else. For eg. there has been cases of people copying posts of others and securing more social actions than the author. Pictures of how your office setup at home looks like, pictures of God, pictures of your pets, pictures of your children, political patronage, professional patronage especially if your boss has posted something shy of a spam etc. have slowly found a way into the publishing universe of LinkedIn.
For some individuals and leaders, it has become a medium to stay relevant and quite a few them land up extolling similar stories about their lives and professional adventures. For purists who are looking for inspiring content, that quest may be fading away and its only a matter of time when people might start looking at other publishing platforms for content and maybe even jobs.
EVERY-ONE IS COMMENTING FOR A BETTER REACH
The Covid-19 saw millions of people lose their jobs. As per the estimates from ILO, the figure is more than 400 million worldwide. The effects of the same were strongly visible on LinkedIn where people who lost their jobs put up heart rending posts to the LinkedIn community seeking help and guidance.
The world felt some additional tremors when LinkedIn itself announced job cuts causing panic. People did respond to posts put up by members who had been rendered jobless but a lot of the respondents were seen to be “commenting for better reach”. From a functionality point of view, the post could reach a larger network but the action could have been more impactful. The trend caught on like a viral video and there was a time when everyone was commenting for a better reach. What was really needed was someone to have gone an extra mile and helped refer the person in need, at least.
EMPATHY – AN ORGANIZATIONAL PRIORITY
In 2016, Harvard Business Review published a list of the most empathetic companies based on factors like internal culture, CEO performance, ethics and social media performances. Needless to say, Facebook, Google and LinkedIn occupied the top 3 slots. The study showed that the top 10 companies in the list increased in value more than twice the bottom 10 and also generated 50% more earnings. So there is clear evidence of “empathy” leading to greater gains.
Interestingly, the same study had 9 Indian companies in the bottom 10 in the same list. The point here is that “empathy” may not be a competitive advantage but does not augur well for companies who don’t practice it.
RECRUITERS HAVE BECOME UNRESPONSIVE BUT LEADERS MIGHT NOT BE
If you go to google and type “why do recruiters” and pause for a while, you will see that one of the first search recommendations is “why do recruiters not respond on LinkedIn” and while recruiters and organizations can go and cite legitimate reasons, the truth is in the search query. For once lets all assume that that was the case pre-Covid, we can then only imagine what the situation would be now when the world is still reeling under the pressure of job cuts and unemployment.
While this is a challenge that is perennial in nature, there is a better way to connect, and that is through business leaders. Recruiters hire for the hiring managers and if one is able to reach out directly to them, the chances of getting traction is higher.
ORGANIZATIONS JUST LIKE PEOPLE PANIC AND DONT SAVE IT FOR THE RAINY DAY
There is enough content and suggestions available to all of us about the power of having a sound financial plan. The need to plan finances for rainy days like a sabbatical, a layoff or medical exigencies are contexts on which a lot of people have written numerous books, published infinite articles and given grand speeches. However the Covid crises caught the organizations unawares and they panicked just like the individuals. Job cuts, salary cuts, leave without pay and other cost cutting measures were deployed within months or weeks of the crises.
Now that we are slowly gaining traction on economic activities, the question to ask is, were these organizations never prepared with a year of emergency funds? Even if they were prepared with cash reserves, were they not meant for employees well-being or well-fare?
These questions still remain to be answered and most importantly these are the very questions on the minds of people who bore the brunt of the crises.
NEW DEFINITION OF CANDIDATE EXPECTATIONS
The Covid crises hit everyone hard and the employees may have started to relook and reassess their personal priorities. The best employers may now be organizations that provide job security, employee-wellness and insurance. This is not to suggest that there wont be another list of “best employers” or “best companies to work for” but deep down the employee now knows what he/she will be looking for in their next play.
Organizations that have responded well and taken care of their employees and their loved ones will be seen with a different light altogether. Employees will now start looking at intangibles such as work-life balance, health insurance, employee-well being, mental health etc. more than the tangibles like compensation, RSU’s or growth. The crises has compelled a lot of organizations and their leadership to look inwards and introspect on new patterns and plans for employee engagement and well-being. As baby steps towards this direction, a lot of articles and text on “empathy driven management”, “leading with empathy”, empathy based leadership” have started trending and we hope organizations will put to practice what is trending