The future of workforce management is about to change post the COVID-19 pandemic. While remote working is becoming the new normal and technology is going to play a crucial role in how the business will be done, HR leaders, are poised with a bigger challenge.

They now need to identify and understand how employees will work in these unprecedented times. Getting the employees ready for the future in the post-pandemic world would be the top priority for HR leaders. Here are five things that HR should do to get their workforce future-ready.

1. Managing the morale of the employees

With the prolonged lock-down, fear of losing a job, and slowing down of businesses have already wreaked havoc to employee morale. The onus lies with the HR leaders to boost the morale of their employees at this time by communicating regularly and practicing empathy.

As employees start to get back to work, HR leaders need to ensure that their employees are well informed about the dos and don’s. Setting up a COVID-19 hotline for disseminating regular information and leveraging multiple communication channels should be the top priority of HR.

This will not only help the employees to boost their morale but will keep them well-informed. HR leaders should also communicate about the company’s standpoint and how the business is gearing up to operate in the new normal setting.

Remember, maintaining transparency at all points of time is extremely crucial. Finally, HR leaders should practice empathy more than often. They need to understand that in such situation, employees look up to their leaders and a positive and proactive communication leaves an everlasting impression. HR leaders need to ensure that they offer the right guidance and confidence in such unprecedented times

2. Building a robust remote working model

A Garner report reveals that 48% of employees will likely work remotely in the post-pandemic world, compared to 30% pre-pandemic. The study also reveals that 74% of CFOs are planning to implement remote work in their organization in the post-pandemic world.

While there is no doubt that technology is going to play a crucial role in the coming days, HR leaders need to focus their energy on building a robust remote working model. This means the decision-makers need to implement a model that takes into consideration smaller and tactical matters that impact the day-to-day life of an employee.

For example, how do they clock in their login hours? Or what would be communication channels that comply with the organization’s culture? For example, there is a cultural difference between email, Slack, or virtual meetings.

HR leaders also need to consider collaborative learning tools that they need to invest in, practicing transparent knowledge sharing processes, and a lot more.

Hiring managers need to prioritize their digital dexterity along with their digital collaboration skills. From managing performance management to meeting their hiring needs, there is a lot to consider for the HR leaders.

3. Reskilling the workforce

When planning for the future of workforce management, HR managers need to rethink their plan for employee learning and development. The post-pandemic world will require reskilling the workforce. While planning for it, HR leaders need to consider online courses, keeping in mind the flexibility of the employees, and values that it brings in.

4. Employee engagement

A large number of the workforce will be working remotely in the post pandemic world. Keeping the future workforce engaged is going to be another area of focus for the decision-makers. While it is comparatively easy to keep the workforce engaged while they are physically present at the office premises, it gets rather challenging when they are working remotely.

HR managers need to consider different ways where their future workforce stay engaged, motivated, and well informed. While being transparent and encouraging regular communication is the key, HR managers also need to take initiatives to train their managers and supervisors to take care of their employees, understand their needs, and deal with a lot of empathy.

5. Workforce planning

While it is important to remember the short-term goals and devise tactics to tackle them, one aspect that HR leaders need to emphasize on is workforce planning. While we deal with unprecedented times, workforce planning needs to be done with a different approach.

HR leaders need to identify crucial roles and work on succession planning. This may include considering decision rights, short term plans for scenario building, making alternate plans if there is a reduction in workforce, business slowdown, employees falling sick, work refusal, and lot more.

With the global dynamics changing following the COVID – 19 pandemic, HR leaders need to work as a strategic business partner keeping in mind the best interest of the employees and their safety while formulating a workforce management plan for the overall business growth.