Re-thinking Human Resources in the new Normal

The past few decades have seen HR evolve. From the post-personnel time of welfare, disciplinaries, and training to having ‘a place at the table’ the HR function has truly changed. Today, people are seen as one of the biggest assets of any organization. HRs role has continuously mirrored changes in business and economics and today stands on the front lines of employers’ response during COVID-19.

The crisis is forcing all organizations to adapt, develop, and improve their decision making regarding remote workplaces and the ‘new normal’.

While around a year ago ‘future of work’ seemed like a fictitious concept that we were slowly inching towards. The crisis has accelerated the speed of change. The future of work is now, it is here!

With work dynamics now taking a turn, there has been a shift in how we lead our lives and continue to do business. We see companies already trying to adapt to the new ways of work by innovating rapidly to cope with uncertainties that lie ahead. Trying ways to connect with the employee in a virtual mode and providing the much-needed emotional support are the main focus areas.

How will HR evolve?

Hiring practices: Changes in hiring practices are imperative. There is bound to be extensive use of Applicant Tracking Systems now will be extensively used along with the adaptation of virtual interviews. Even in this time of turmoil and uncertainty, it is important that HRs keep a talent pipeline full and maintain contact with potential rehires and new hires.

Managing remote teams: The organizations are now realizing that they can function remotely too, and it is here to stay. However, these new ways pose a challenge to the HR department. These are trying to figure out how to monitor and enforce productivity and attendance, accommodating changes in job descriptions due to remote work, ascertaining new ways of performance measurement. There is increased concern over the mental and emotional well-being of employees. While currently, the health of employees is the foremost concern of management with remote work staying in place, this concern is bound to continue. HR role would now involve proactively looking after the well-being of employees and supporting them with EAPs.

Maintaining the culture: The culture of an organization plays an important role in attracting high potential talent. Navigating through this crisis while maintaining the culture is going to be a challenge for the management. Leaders along with HR is required to keep in touch with the employees to boost their morale. Regular communication, engagement, and commitment towards the culture is something which needs to be done to deal effectively with the crisis. How employees are treated in the time of a crisis tells a lot about the image it portrays in the society.

Engaging remote workforce: Studies show that a highly engaged workforce is crucial to maintain the spirit and growth of the organization. Research by Gallup shows that highly engaged teams show the following attributes:

  • Produce sustainable outcomes
  • Treat customers better and attract new ones
  • Are more likely to work for the same organization for a longer period

Talent leaders need to show workers that they are concerned about their well-being by adjusting benefits.

Providing telehealth visits which include mental health consultations are necessary. It is also a good idea to have financial education sessions for the employees regularly.

It is not going to be an easy transition of working within bricks to now working through a click. All we can do is change the way we live and work.

Not only HR but all functions of business are seeing a transition and it is imperative to adapt to new ways of working because the virus crisis doesn’t seem to leave our lives anytime soon

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