Human Resources in Covid-19 times: reshaping your organization

February 12, 2021

The restructuring of the daily workforce will be among the most profound lasting changes that result from the pandemic. While human resource professionals have already been doing remarkable work under duress, human resources in COVID-19 times promise bigger challenges lying ahead. Now is the time to develop a more robust and long-term plan to increase productivity.

It’s clear that many of the changes adopted out of necessity during Covid are going to endure.

In Europe, almost 40of employees began working from home during the pandemic.

One survey noted that 72% of knowledge workers would prefer a hybrid home-office work culture.

The good news is that there is growing evidence that remote work options increase productivity. And companies could realize big savings by reducing their office footprint.

These changes bring other potential benefits. More flexible work schedules can help employees achieve a better work-life balance. Companies can reduce time-consuming business trips. And when it comes to recruiting talent, geographic barriers are lowering which allows HR managers to recruit from larger talent pools.

But it’s important to be cleared-eyed. These trends bring new challenges. Onboarding new employees must be adapted. Shaping company culture over Zoom calls will be more difficult. And with reduced face-time, HR managers must establish new methods for monitoring the well-being of personnel.

To maintain the productivity of human resources in COVID-19 times, here is a roadmap for putting in place the tools and systems that will foster a strong workplace environment:

  • Assess overall impact: Measure the quantitative changes in terms of number of employees, location, and changes in productivity. But also gauge the qualitative factors like new sources of stress, obstacles employees have faced, and shifts in morale.
  • Take inventory of skill sets: This means not just the skills used for current jobs, but understanding what other talents employees have that might be beneficial as a company’s needs change. Use this to develop a talent plan that creates maximum flexibility in roles.
  • Rethink digital tools: Don’t get caught up in the hype over the latest workplace collaboration services. Explore new options, but have a strong set of goals and objectives for evaluating tools and determining which is the best fit.
  • Deploy new employee resources and support: This offers a chance to not just deliver the help employees need, but it’s a chance to demonstrate the company is thinking proactively about employees rather than waiting for them to fall into a personal crisis.
  • Develop clear communication plans: During periods of uncertainty, there is a risk of increased anxiety as employees worry and speculate. Embrace transparency and communicate clearly about changes being considered to build trust.
  • Overhaul training: This means creating new practical steps for teaching employees the necessary skills. But it also includes reinventing ways to build culture and values.

The pandemic has not only reaffirmed the critical role of HR, but it has arguably made this work even more vital. While the years ahead will continue to present challenges, this is also a chance for HR managers to demonstrate the leadership needed to guide their companies through this tempest.

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