Increasing the resilience of an organisation and its people lies in strengthening the Human Resource (HR) department of any organisation. The role of the HR manager must parallel the needs of a changing organisation. 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.

Understanding the various industrial shifts is crucial to keeping pace with the rapid developments taking place in the light of the pandemic. HR personnel are now more than before the pulse of every organisation to drive changes. The most important challenges which HR personnel will be facing in the current times

  1. Dispelling Uncertainty 
  2. Mental Health and Wellbeing of Employees
  3. Managing Remote Work
  4. Agility
  5. Employee Communication
  6. Employee Engagement
  7. Being A Resource
  8. Positive Return on Investment
  9. Shift from Managing Employee Experience to Managing Life Experience of Employees
  10. Corporate Social Responsibility

Let us examine and understand each of the above points and their impact on evolving HR responsibilities in the current scenario

Dispelling Uncertainty

Uncertainty can paralyse 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 organisation has made employees the world over nervous. Here the role of HR is extremely important in championing the changes that need to be implemented in order to sustain the organisation 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 realised the critical nature of mental health due to sudden changes brought about to the way work had to be executed in these difficult 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 being that there are a number of 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 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 have to be devised keeping in mind employee productivity and engagement. Providing tools for the smooth transition which also gives real time updates is a big need of the day. HR support is required in every step of this journey in order for it to be a success.

Agility

HR teams of several organisations 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 take action 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.

Employee Communication

Communication by itself is a critical aspect of any organisation irrespective of whether employees are working remotely or not. However the pandemic has shown that maintaining employee communication is of vital importance in order 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

Employee Engagement

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.

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.

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/home towns and opting for a company of their choice. HR has to now bear in mind and rework their policies in order 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 sureshot 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 in order 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 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. Akrivia HCM is a Hire to Retire Suite will help with all needs such as Time and Attendance Systems, Leave Management System, Applicant Tracking System, Payroll Management System, Attendance Management System and a lot more features under one umbrella which is the Best HRMS Software in India.