The Evolving Role of HR During COVID Crisis
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From individual behaviours to how businesses operate – there has been a paradigm shift as compared to the pre-COVID world. Needless to say, the role of HR and human resource management have evolved too. Amidst all the chaos, the quick evolution of HR across the globe has ensured that there is no interruption in the business continuity and devised mechanisms to fix the gaps while ensuring physical and emotional wellbeing of the employees. Due to the pandemic, the HR function has acquired greater significance in the business because organizations need to ensure that their people feel safe and comfortable to continue working. The good news is that HR teams across the globe have taken the challenges head on and have evolved astonishingly well.
As businesses started to shift from office to remote working, it became more challenging for HR leaders to manage their workforce in a non-office environment. Six areas where the evolution of HR is seen prominently include:
1. Infra-availability: To begin with, HR leaders had to ensure that every employee had the work from home set up ready. They worked in conjunction with the IT team to ensure employees could connect from home, transfer the desktops at home where laptops were not available or procured new laptops. They ensured every team and every employee was in sync with the shift.
2. Keeping the engagement quotient high: Amidst the pandemic when the morale of the employees was low, HR leaders and managers ensured that their people are kept motivated and pumped up each day. Working from home might not be a new concept, but this sudden shift, left many of them feeling lonely and insecure. HR leaders across the world went the extra mile to ensure their employees have something to look forward to at work every day. At the same time, the onus lied on the HR managers to disseminate communication so that employees remain well-informed especially about the business scenario and what to expect in the coming months.
3. Keeping up with productivity and upskilling employees: While working from home occasionally is fine, there are possibilities for employees to miss out on deliverables given that they need to take care of other errands at home. With no house help around, daycares, and schools being closed, managing work and home became a real struggle for many employees. HR leaders had to ensure and devise strategies to ensure employees stay up to the mark with their productivity. This means becoming more lenient and flexible in work policies, encouraging regular catch up calls with their respective managers and supervisors to understand the challenges, and fix the gap. At the same time, when many businesses were streamlining their processes, HR leaders had to ensure that their employees are upskilled by arranging various online courses and webinars.
4. Gearing up for remote hiring and video interviews: As remote working is becoming the new normal, HR is shifting towards hiring and recruiting remotely trying out new technologies like video interviews to hire remotely.
5. Helping employees in the shift: From helping employees to adapt to the new technologies (for example, Trello for project management or Slack for internal brainstorming) to taking care of their physical health, HR leaders have been going beyond to help their people to cope up in every aspect. This has helped businesses in maintaining their business continuity and gearing up for growth once the lockdown gets over.
6. Paying attention to their mental health: Finally, what matters most is to take care of the mental health of the employees. The HR fraternity across the globe has done a tremendous job in taking care of the emotional wellbeing of their people. Amidst the national lockdown, many employees were staying alone, away from their families, in different cities, or PG accommodation. Reaching out to them and taking stock of their situation, letting them know that the organization is with them in this unprecedented time has been a commendable effort put in holistically by the HR leaders.
As mentioned by Gallup, “If leaders have a clear way forward, human beings are amazingly resilient. There is a documented ‘rally effect’.” The evolving role of the HR during COVID crisis has proved that again. Read more about managing the workforce during the crisis here.
After spending over a decade in Corporate Communications, Chayanika started second innings of her career as a Communications Consultant, Content Marketer, and Freelance Writer. She writes on different topics including HR, lifestyle, travel, parenting, digital marketing and mental health. Chayanika is a part of the WritelySo team where she writes engaging content for the readers. When not writing, Chayanika is usually exploring new places with her husband and daughter.
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