Needed Now, More Than Ever, These 5 Competencies Will Help You and Your Employees Navigate Change & Build Resilience

By Kelly Lockwood Primus, CEO & President, Leading Women

When I look back at how much the world has changed since the outbreak of COVID-19, it’s easy to see just how unprepared most businesses were to handle the effects a global pandemic would have on their day to day operations. The impact felt by employees due to the “new normal” of working remotely, not being able to spend time with their peers, or feeling like they are no longer in touch with their company’s leadership, are very real concerns that should not, and cannot, be ignored in order for any company to successfully move forward.

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The new way of doing business is virtual, accessorized by masks, and surrounded by economic upheaval. Working remotely can sometimes feel like you’re on a desert island with nobody to talk to, or listen to, which can be very demotivating. These are different and challenging times. Now, more than ever, the human element in HR is a critical component to ensuring employees stay the course.

Helping your employees navigate change and build resilience is the key. After all, change is VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous) – and employees need the support from HR in order to develop their own coping skills.

So, what’s an HR professional to do?

Start by focusing on the five competencies we’ve identified below, which are grounded by Leading Women’s definition of leadership – using the greatness in you, to achieve and sustain extraordinary outcomes, by engaging the greatness in others.

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1.Interpersonal Savvy – Relating well with all kinds of people – inside and outside of the organization, building support, relationships, using diplomacy & defusing high tension situations.

HOW TO HELP: Check in with employees often, ask them how they’re doing and how you can help them, show empathy—making sure their voices are heard, and that you care, will go a long way.

2. Organizational Agility – Getting “it” done through formal and informal processes. Be a people leader and acknowledge that flexibility is the key to getting things done during times of change and uncertainty.

HOW TO HELP: Relax formal processes and encourage employees to reach out to others on their team or in the organization to ask for help and guidance—and not to be afraid to speak up if they’re unsure of how to get the job done.

3. Deal with Ambiguity – Decide & act without having the entire picture.

HOW TO HELP: Have conversations with employees who may be struggling with the stress, confusion and frustration of feeling isolated and out of the loop because they’re working remotely versus a collaborative office setting. Be patient and remind them to lean on the strong relationships they’ve developed with co-workers and managers by reaching out and communicating with them. Encourage them to be creative and think outside the box to problem-solve.

4.  Manage Complexity – Focus on results but keep in mind factors such as geography, risk, media attention, government regulation, & diverse communities.

HOW TO HELP: Recognize, acknowledge and leverage diverse perspectives by having conversations. This will help ensure you are thinking through all of the multiple factors that impact decision-making. And by leveraging the diverse perspectives available to you, you can then determine which of those factors would likely have the most impact on the decision and success of the project—and your employees.

5.  Resilience – Model a “can-do” attitude & inspire and motivate others to do the same.

HOW TO HELP: When talking with employees, be optimistic, talk about the possibilities, and rally support behind the organization’s vision.

By having a better understanding of how these five competencies factor into your own job and the day to day business, you will become a stronger advocate for all employees. And when you practice and share these competencies throughout the organization, you’ll be well-prepared to support and retain employees as they navigate all the change surrounding the new normal—while building the resilience they need to deal with “Change” as it comes along.

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For those looking for a packaged virtual solution to do all of the above, #WeCanHelp. Contact us at