We have been living with non-stop change at work for decades as companies continue to try to compete and win in the global economy.

Business divisions are shed and work is collapsed and intensified. New companies are acquired or one’s company is acquired. To date, these corporate-driven changes have been profit-driven more than people-driven. There would usually be someone else that could be hired if a key person voluntarily terminates.

But, that’s not often the case today… especially for high-potential employees.

While some facilitation has been provided to employees to help them cope with work transitions wrought by these corporate initiatives, the fact is that one’s cheese will have likely been moved, replaced by new and rigorous job requirements designed to make the corporate growth plan work.

In that type of work environment, one must ask the question… To what extent has the employee been asked to provide opinions and ideas and to contribute to the new world? Of course, this varies based on the Core Values and Company Culture. It’s also influenced by the Vision and Mission to which the company has hopefully committed. But commitment at the top does not always equate to commitment below the iceberg… the place where the rubber meets the road… in the teams, workgroups, or individual contributors.

It’s up to top corporate leadership to create a work environment of inclusivity, diversity, and reciprocity. Objective conversations should be the standing rule of communication. Those tough conversations need to be initiated at both ends of the organizational hierarchy… with both sides meeting to hammer out a common platform of agreement and collaboration.

The pandemic has forced the issue around the place of work, but it also should force leaders to consider the effect COVID has had on themselves and their associates and to respond empathetically to the pain, loss, and changes that the pandemic has foisted on the human condition. If good, dependable people are not always in a state of mind to give it 100%, the benefit of the doubt should be given and counseling offered to help all get to a place of accepting the new era of the work. This can act to help improve employee loyalty and help the organization developing a safety net based on how they treat their employees. One consultant has called this new era the new natural… not the new normal.

Now, more than ever, the overused phrase about a company’s people being its most important asset could not be more true than it is today.