The COVID-19 pandemic required businesses to become more flexible, a change that will continue in the years to come, three ADP panelists said in Wednesday’s Congress Xstream General Session, “Beyond Pay: Embracing the Economy of Change.”
“Most of us have had to redefine or retool aspects of life and work to address the changes over the last year,” moderator George Mavrantzas, Vice President of Strategy & Thought Leadership at ADP, said in introducing the session. “Embracing change requires perspective. If you ask me, the more perspectives the better.”

Nela Richardson, ADP Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, said some changes under way since before the pandemic have been “amplified and accelerated” in the past year.

“We’ve seen five years of digital transformation occur in a few short months,” she said. “This is a permanent change that’s going to affect commerce, but it’s also going to affect what the workplace looks and feels like over the next several years.”

Some of those changes include on-demand pay as well as a hybrid form of working in the office and from home.

“How are we engaging employees at the team level?’ asked Martha Bird, Chief Business Anthropologist at ADP. “If you trust your leader, if you feel you are included, that’s really critical. In a remote environment, it becomes hypercritical for the manager to set the norms of behavior.”

In the session's busy chat, Barb Muellerleile, CPP, said, "I love the fact that we have the mix of work at home and in office and the flex options as needed!"

The panelists agreed that resiliency and flexibility have allowed businesses and employees to persevere through the pandemic.

Michelle Young, Vice President of Strategy and Business Development at ADP, said many employees have surprised themselves with their ability to work remotely and remain productive.

"It’s that flexibility that now permeates society,” she said. “It’s permeating companies, and companies are thinking through how to promote this flexibility because when people are comfortable and happy, they can be their best selves and bring their best selves to work, which will only benefit their employers.”

In the chat, Theresa Shidler, CPP, said, "Resilience is something we discovered we had over the last year."

Photo, clockwise from top left: Mavrantzas, Bird, Richardson, Young