We’ve learned a lot in the past 60 days and will continue to learn more as COVID-19’s impact on organizations and their workforces unfolds over the coming weeks and months. One of the things we do know is that organizations are rethinking short- and-long term workforce strategies. Depending on the industry you’re in, a weighted combination of workforce realignment, reskilling, and recruiting is underway. We’ve kicked off new research in these areas, including, most recently, the impact and need for better workforce analytics.

As we’ve set out, I’ve noticed something radical is underway: Companies are starting to see their employees not just as liabilities to manage in a difficult period but as assets worth investing in and preserving — even if they can’t keep them employed in their current roles and companies. They’re pooling their employees in networks together with other companies in a multicompany effort to keep people employed during this crisis.

One of the most striking examples is the recent case in Germany, where McDonald’s and ALDI created a new staff-sharing partnership. Under the agreement, ALDI will redeploy interested McDonald’s employees to work in ALDI stores. McDonald’s will refer workers to ALDI stores “quickly and unbureaucratically” to help with the demand for at-home food, thus managing the imbalance between the labor needs of these two rapidly changing industries. This is a topic I’m going to follow closely as it evolves because it’s not just smart in the short run; it represents a trend that should persist after the current crisis is over.

Do you have examples you know about? Are you considering something like this? Let me know; I’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, Forrester clients can read my initial research about how organizations are creating these new talent networks with short- and long-term implications and initial recommendations.