21st Century surveys the New Landscape during COVID-19

21st Century surveys the New Landscape during COVID-19

A comprehensive report summarises life for business during the pandemic

27 July 2020: In a series of eight snap surveys, HR and remuneration experts, 21st Century, have gathered a wide range of data about the important decisions organisations have made as a response to the pandemic. The eighth in the series, The New Landscape, summarises and updates the results of the previous seven, providing very telling data about potential new ways of working.

Survey findings are currently available to view on 21st Century’s website. And this edition is an ongoing survey that will continue to shed light on the current situation for South African companies and their staff. The previous surveys were:

  • Leave treatment During COVID-19 Virus Times
  • Remote Working: How Employers Are Responding
  • Guaranteed Pay Responses
  • Managing the Change
  • Variable Pay – Short Term Incentives
  • Variable Pay – Long Term Incentives
  • Harnessing Talent Post COVID-19
  • Business Response to the Pandemic

The results indicate that a large number of organisations currently have more than half of their employees working remotely due to lockdown, and that employees are typically supplied with the necessary tools of trade.

Where employees are able to effectively work at home, the majority of organisations have neither unpaid nor partial pay periods; and it seems that organisations are returning to normal payment as work is resumed and revenue flows into the organisation. Where there is financial pressure and crisis management, though, a large percentage of respondents said they were reducing pay as a preferred choice to avoid retrenchments. There has also been a marked escalation in increase freezes, compared to previous years.

The majority of companies are applying annual leave when employees make the decision to self-isolate, decide to stay home to look after children, or when COVID-19 positive employees exhaust their sick leave. Several organisations, however, still remain undecided about their response to the pandemic from a remuneration perspective, and are awaiting more data and market response outcomes before making any changes to short and long-term incentive schemes.

From a broader business perspective, it appears that the majority of organisations are altering their overall organisation budgets as the outlook changes, with corresponding changes in business structure – and a vastly increased focus on the use of technology and AI in the future.

It isn’t all bad news. And as is often the case, in times of crisis, there is opportunity to be found. Going forward, 21st Century expects some of the changes brought about by the pandemic to become part of a new (and better) way of working. Indeed, this year has, in many ways, given everyone a true experience of the certainty of uncertainty.

The effects of the pandemic will linger for the foreseeable future. But while economies are unsteady globally, and not a single business remains unaffected, a proactive approach is needed more than ever. There are great opportunities in the current climate – to identify and embrace new methodologies, collaborate in inventive new ways and find new paths to success in the post-COVID world.

To view survey results or take part in the latest weekly survey, visit www.21century.co.za.

About 21st Century:

21st Century is one of the largest Remuneration and HR consultancies in Africa, with a team of more than 60 skilled specialists, servicing over 1700 clients – including non-profit organisations, unlisted companies, government, parastatals and over two thirds of the companies listed on the JSE. 21st Century offers effective business planning with KPA and strategic planning reviews, creative reward practise modelling, operating modelling, change, stakeholder and culture management, training courses and comprehensive organisational development plans. 21st Century continues to offer solutions via virtual channels during the lockdown period.

In this volatile and uncertain environment, the way of working is changing dramatically. There are new – and often unprecedented – challenges that require businesses to plan rapidly and take decisive and immediate action. 21st Century offers a Resilience Audit assessing businesses during COVID-19 for their sustainability, offering these businesses tailor made solutions and developing new remuneration structures and performance measurement systems, as well as helping with managing organisational changes within the business.