There’s no denying that COVID-19 has altered every person’s reality. Amidst this disruption, the role of human resources (HR) has become more important than ever.
With the nationwide lockdown, HR managers have had to make many smart decisions in a span of a short time. With the new norm of social distancing, the trend of work from home has accelerated.
88% of employees were encouraged to work from home regardless of whether they were showing Corona symptoms or not.
It has also resulted in increased use of automated tools such as HR software and time management solutions.
However, when Ernst & Young conducted a survey of 500 board members in 2019, they found that only 20% of those executives’ companies were prepared to adapt to a massive change. And when the pandemic arrived, the findings were proved right.
The pandemic and its inherent effect have forced businesses to become more resilient in today’s world. There has been a paradigm shift towards a new digital economy.
Let’s look at how the whole pandemic is transforming the HR role and how they can promote agility in the organization.
The New Normal for HR Department
The present and future of companies rely on remote working with a minimum investment in infrastructure.
In fact, Twitter announced work from home ‘forever.’ In their blog, it said –
HR managers need to redesign the policies and procedures in alignment with the new normal.
i. Prioritizing Health and Safety
Today, the future of work is the well-being of your workforce. And not just physically, but managers need to take care of their employees’ mental well-being.
To implement social distancing measures, companies are now installing sensor-based technologies through the workplace. It’s a great way to minimize physical contact and reduce the spread of viruses.
In addition to physical well-being, workers are experiencing anxiety in dealing with the coronavirus.
With the growth of the digital economy, people are finding it hard to balance their work and personal life. The stress in managing work-life integration and the fear of getting laid off due to downsizing – has largely impacted their day-to-day lives.
Organizations can –
- Bring in health specialists to host online Q/A sessions about the Coronavirus
- Acknowledge anxiety and talk about it
- Curate and share the list of wellness podcasts, yoga sessions, and other well-being activities
ii. Embracing Technologies and Diverse Skills Set
Amidst all the chaos, COVID-19 is driving digital transformation at a much faster pace than ever. It includes virtual workplace adoption that has also resulted in the growing demand for automation and collaboration tools.
In these times, the HR department is tasked with keeping their employees motivated and enthused.
Many organizations couldn’t adopt remote working due to information security issues. Implementing the best HR software can solve this problem and allow easy adaptability of remote working structure.
Moreover, the rise of remote working has also paved the way for alternative recruitment and sourcing strategies. Emerging technology like artificial intelligence has resulted in the development of various recruitment tools like applicant tracking systems, online assessment tools, payroll software, etc. Not to mention, artificial intelligence can help manage your HR departments IT needs with remote managed service providers.
It’s an effort to make the shift more effective both cost and operation wise. This is why companies are now hiring individuals with diverse skills who can thrive in a continually evolving work environment.
Tech-savvy candidates are preferred as they are considered more flexible and adaptable.
iii. Shifting Towards a People-centric Workplace
One of the top priorities of the HR department is to re-establish organizational culture and make it more agile.
There is going to be a significant shift towards hybrid working models that allow you to work remotely and from the office.
This can have varying effects on the social dynamic aspect between employees as they will have less face-to-face interaction.
The HR department will have to establish a balanced structure suited to manage a remote workforce. For instance, HR could set a weekly video meeting where employees have fun and organize games to promote conversations.
It’s equally important to establish direct communication channels between all levels within an organization. This will ensure that employers stay aware of employees’ concerns. In fact, many payroll software offers a direct channel of communication where employees can raise direct concerns related to matters like leave requests, payment delays, etc. Also employers can check performance of employees by using the best performance management software.
The global pandemic has resulted in HR transformation in various aspects. The HR department needs to evolve and quickly adapt to the changing requirements to meet the organization’s expectations.
The question is: are you prepared for a major risk event like COVID-19?