Whatever you do, the coronavirus pandemic will be a defining event in your organization’s history. How you respond now will have ongoing commercial and cultural ramifications. Successful organizations will see this as an opportunity —  between what was and what is to come — an opportunity for Thai businesses to design future-orientated rewards and workforces. 


Transform your workforce


A recent estimate from the Bank of Thailand indicates it will take the Thai economy up to two years to return to pre-pandemic activity levels. Some parts of that future economy, including individual work experiences, are likely to look very different from those in 2019. In order to survive the interim and prosper in the long term, businesses must reinvent themselves and their workforces now. 


The risks of inertia are enormous: Not changing means not leaving room to pivot for commercial viability and success. The current period of lower activity is, therefore, a prime opportunity for organizations to transform their workforces, structuring them for sustainability well into the future. 


Although some workforce rationalization might be necessary, forward-thinking companies are not reducing the number of their employees purely in reaction to the contraction in economic activity. Rather, they are focusing on a brighter tomorrow and redesigning their digital transformation blueprint, as well as racing to reskill their talent accordingly. In that framework, artificial intelligence and automation are essential, as is optimizing employee experience in an agile work environment. 

Crucial future-oriented questions for organizations to ask now include: 


  • How can our business be transformed by AI and automation? 
  • How do we optimize our workforce while building resilience and flexibility? 
  • What do we need to consider in redesigning our employees’ work experience? Moreover, how can we ensure our employee experience differentiates us, especially in the new world of blended work?
  • How do we build a compelling talent value proposition and develop data-driven strategies to attract and retain talent?
  • How do we inspire and engage our people through substantial change?

Reinvent your rewards and drive performance

One of the central lessons we are all learning from the coronavirus pandemic is the vital need for agility and contingency in all aspects of running our businesses. If you are not already doing so, it is time to think outside traditional modes and redesign structures and processes, including those around rewards. 


Mercer’s recent Pulse Survey* on COVID-19 workforce and rewards management gathered responses from across 138 organizations. Surprisingly, the results demonstrate the continuing prevalence of static thinking on rewards. On the topic of “intended salary increment budget” for example, 82% of organizations indicated they have not yet made any changes. This finding is stark, given the seismic changes all businesses are otherwise experiencing and making.  


Change is difficult and planning for an uncertain future even more so, but we need to guard against inertia, especially given the pandemic’s latent potential for resurgence and the associated unforeseeable consequences. The ever-evolving conditions we are facing require continuous iteration, and this is true of rewards.


Looking forward with the focus on truly driving performance, rewards must be flexible, genuinely meaningful and tailored to incentivize the individual. Rewards decisions should be informed by and directly responsive to the market. Expatriates, for example, are very likely to want to repatriate in a crisis, so how do you compel them to stay? Moreover, what is your reward attraction strategy for the skills you need in the reimagined economy? 


In the wake of the pandemic, agile working arrived faster than anyone anticipated. The change poses three challenges for rewards: 


1. The annual pay review is off-kilter with the agile working cadence. 

2. Organizations will have to pay (and un-pay) individuals moving in and out of fluid projects.

* For a copy of our Pulse Survey results, please contact us at 

3. Agile rewards sit outside traditional talent and reward structures. 

4. Are you designing meaningful rewards that support individual career development? Have you built in appropriate latitude into your discretionary rewards? Are you delivering rewards fairly and consistently, and are you proactively responding to market demands? 


Mercer is here to help you answer these future-orientated  questions. 


Mercer agility is the process of continuous iteration and evolution, following user and market feedback. It covers the end-to-end cycle from strategy and ideation through to delivery and renewal. The goal is cross fertilization of ideas and innovation.


Mercer Workforce Transformation and Total Rewards Design help companies proactively restructure workforce and reward policies and processes. In partnership with you, we design for the future with your people as our focus.  We offer project-based and customizable solutions to help you enhance digital collaboration improve flexible working and reimagine employee experience – we help you optimize for the future.


Piratat Srisajalerdv
Career Products Leader & Market Segment Leader, Mercer

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