Increasing the resilience of an organization and its people lies in strengthening the Human Resource (HR) department of any organization. The role of the HR manager must parallel the needs of a changing organization. The way work is done has changed exponentially for over a year now in view of the global pandemic.
The questions are endless when it comes to envisioning the future impact and role of HR post-COVID-19. The pandemic and its inherent effect on the business has highlighted the need for resilience in the workforce along with adaptability. The importance of HR in this scenario is accentuated to a large extent.
The HR department is needed now to boost the economy, make a shift in workplace culture, and in gearing up for the future of work.
Challenges HR Professionals are currently facing
Understanding the various industrial shifts is crucial to keeping pace with the rapid developments taking place in the light of the pandemic. HR personnel is now more than before the pulse of every organization to drive changes. The most important challenges which HR personnel will be facing in the current times
- Dispelling Uncertainty
- Mental Health and Wellbeing of Employees
- Managing Remote Work
- Employee Communication
- Employee Engagement
- Being A Resource
- Positive Return on Investment
- Shift from Managing Employee Experience to Managing Life Experience of Employees
- Corporate Social Responsibility
Let us examine and understand each of the above points and their impact on evolving HR responsibilities in the current scenario
Uncertainty can paralyze anyone and that is just what happened with the outbreak of the COVID19 pandemic. With so many uncertainties clouding every walk of life, employees naturally felt anxious. Not knowing what the future holds along with doubts about the sustenance of the organization has made employees the world over nervous. Here the role of HR is extremely important in championing the changes that need to be implemented to sustain the organization as well as retain the workforce. Changes could be with respect to the way work is conducted in the current scenario as well as how to evolve a new system factoring in work disruption such as the current one in the future.
Mental Health and Well Being of Employees
One of the most palpable effects of the pandemic has been its effect on mental health.
Employers have realized the critical nature of mental health due to sudden changes brought about to the way work had to be executed in these challenging times. The pulse and sensitivity of the workforce can be judged somewhat fairly when they are working at the office.
However, it gets extremely tricky when most employees are telecommuting. The reason is that there are a several factors at play in considering raised levels of stress and anxiety besides work commitments. The reasons could be the health of parents, presence of children in the house, future work prospects and so on.
HR needs to work closely with employers to destigmatize mental health by expanding mental health benefits and supporting the mental health of its workforce. HR plays a big part in maintaining employee relationships with informal chat sessions, team bonding sessions, encouraging hobby clubs, and so on remotely.
Managing Remote Work
The transition to remote work has not been smooth and not without problems. Most industries did not have a work from home policy prior to the pandemic, which caused them to scramble to get things aligned when work from home was the only available option.
Strategies must be devised keeping in mind employee engagement and productivity. Providing tools for the smooth transition which also gives real-time updates is a big need of the day. HR support is needed in every step of this journey for it to be a success.
HR teams of several organizations are not designed to be agile. Agility is of utmost importance in today’s ever-changing scenario. In a crisis such as the present one, it is important to respond fast and act quickly. The reason could be the need to obtain approvals which might prove time-consuming and a hindrance to taking action right away.
It, therefore, becomes extremely important for HR personnel to become more agile in their approach and to reprioritize company goals keeping in mind the evolving situation in the world.
Communication by itself is a critical aspect of any organization irrespective of whether employees are working remotely or not. However, the pandemic has shown that maintaining employee communication is of vital importance to boost productivity and employee morale. HR teams have been busy patching their workforce with the right work tools as well as
- Constantly updating measures adopted by the organisation in terms of safety
- Communicating updates from business leaders
- Providing links to reliable information sources
- Conducting training sessions to enhance employee engagement remotely
- Communicating HR policies about the pandemic
The ultimate aim of any organisation is to maximize employee productivity. Productivity can pose several challenges when work happens remotely and that too in such dynamic circumstances. Besides work happening systematically, no other routines and practices can be followed precisely in a remote setup. It becomes extremely crucial for HR to set up practices in line with remote working to improve workforce engagement.
Practices such as regular formal and informal chat sessions with peers and superiors, regular updates on behalf of the company and so on are methods which will draw success in the remote setup. Fine tuning these practices is vital to ensure the success of the company. The hybrid and remote workforce should focus on meaningful employee engagement strategies to connect in a fruitful manner.
Being A Resource
HR professionals today have been tasked with reworking the way people work, accommodating remote workers, helping the leadership understand the working of the team remotely and managing employee needs through a public health emergency. In order to do all this successfully, HR personnel must keep themselves abreast of the latest developments in society and industry.
Only if they equip themselves with this relevant information will they be able to establish the company and its workforce as a sustainable one. An HRMS(Human Resource Management System) can also help modern organizations streamline entire activities and employee management.
Positive Return on Investment
While the pandemic has completely changed the way work is conducted, it has also provided novel methods of approach to work. Employees have now understood that work can be handled more flexibly which gives them the choice of working from the comfort of their homes/hometowns and opting for a company of their choice. HR has to now bear in mind and rework their policies to attract and retain the best talent and reduce the rates of attrition.
Shift from Managing Employee Experience to Managing Life Experience of Employees
The pandemic has given management insight into remote workers personal life. It came through in terms of seeing the struggles faced by many of them such as managing household chores, attending to children’s needs, caring for parents and other family members. Business leaders have also understood that being supportive of employees’ personal lives is a sure shot way to earn their trust, boost productivity and their desire to remain with the company. HR plays the all-important role here of devising supportive policies.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
CSR serves to facilitate and promote a healthy company culture through volunteering, employee engagement and employee resource groups. This serves to enhance the image of the company among its peers leading to better hiring, employee retention, increase in productivity and better job satisfaction. HR departments must leverage CSR to achieve what is expected of them. Driving CSR is therefore of utmost importance to HR today. It is becoming increasingly clear about why the HR department is needed now more than ever. Therefore, if you are searching for a HRIS(Human Resource Information System) to oversee PTO, wipe out leave and advantages? HR Payroll systems can help you match with a seller who will best meet your organisation’s requirements.