“There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen.”
– Vladimir Lenin.
Who would have ever thought there would be a worldwide pandemic of Corona Virus Disease and our space would turn upside down. The COVID-19 Pandemic has quickly flipped the lives of a million, in just a matter of a few weeks. The Physical & Mental Wellbeing, Economy Breakdown, Financial Crises, Job losses are one of the first human impacts of the virus. The Role of Human Resources in the global industry was never prepared to face this pandemic along with its workforce. Where businesses are feeling the pinch, our HR’s are finding ways to keep their employees safe, comfortable, and productive. But it’s not that easy as it sounds?
Role of a Human Resource
Getting your workplace ready for #Covid19 at the same time the sudden switch of work culture has brought new challenges for HR. Identifying the challenges and providing effective employee support may make our businesses sail through this storm and HR teams that rise to the occasion will be an integral part in leading businesses through a rough patch;
It is always recommended to stay united or solidarity at the difficult times which helps each other bringing up morale. The intimidating feeling of not knowing what the future holds or what measures to take to sustain organizational operations is a huge challenge. At such times, employees look up to leaders for reassurance, especially in times of instability. Now is the time to make sure employee morale is being boosted by making your workforce aware of the business sustainability plans. Let’s try our best to stay transparent about the futuristic goals & strategic plans with our employees. It does not just help employees prepare mentally, but also brings the sense of belongingness within the organizations. We all know this remote working culture has compromised the fellowship, and keeping everyone on the same page has become tough. When the teams are cross-functional, you have little power to manage them but leaders and HR must adopt measures to update employees by arranging meetings/ sessions that can impact employee’s morale to a great extent and lastly to keep workforce tuned for smooth aftermath of the pandemic. Because we may only succeed if we are TOGETHER.
Read More on: Role of a Human Resource Manager with Atulaya Goswami
2. Engage to Encourage
Where the world is evolving around virtual connectivity it has become even more challenging to engage employees when they are working remotely in a crisis. Albeit such situations Organizations should try and seek a plethora of learning opportunities in their people’s favor by creating a space of Knowledge Sharing sessions, Lockdown Learning sessions on wide variety topics enhancing personal as well as professional growth and convert the WFM opportunity to Learn from Home.
Health and Wellness is the need of the hour and as HR we must look into this segment deeply by providing various offerings of Online Doctor Consultations, Medical Insurance with Maximum coverage, 24*7 medical helplines, etc. We should seek personal attention on COVID affected employees along with their families. Apart from learning and enhancing skills, employees’ thirst to rejuvenate with their peers, colleagues, and family members. As HR we must felicitate wellness sessions that may include Yoga, Pranayam, Home Strength Training, High-Intensity Training, etc to bring up the employee’s health need. These sessions can be conducted by fellow employees, in-house experts or certified trainers. Certain activities can be scheduled on a particular day of the week and preferably a light-day or weekends. Casual engagements like Cooking Classes, Fun Friday workshops, and Hobby based evening can be hosted by selected employees to continue the momentum of engagement.
One of the famous Indian Proverbs states; They who give have all things; they who withhold have nothing. There are difficult times for each of us but we should continually give, continually gain. Organizations can ideate and launch their CSR initiatives in collaboration with NGOs. For instance, the initiative can consider providing daily use and essential items to the daily wage earners, migrants, the frontiers, etc to financially support the communities who need our support, during this pandemic.
3. Agile the Anti-fragile
Nassim Nicholas Taleb stated that ‘Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resistant individuals stay the same; whereas the antifragile improves.’ As the Role of Human Resources, we have to build a workforce that is resilient and build an anti-fragile organization. With schools and non-essential businesses closed or moving online, employees need flexibility and understanding as they try to re-establish a work-life balance. Not just that, many employees have witnessed working beyond their office hours. In such situations, companies can support employees by re-framing their policies or facilitating flexible remote work hours.
As a matter of fact, we are not always designed for agility but in such a crisis we should always strive towards responding fast and move quickly for profitable scenarios. As corporate we always get stuck with slow processes, necessary approvals but we need to focus on prioritizing and re-positioning company goals to become more agile in our approach. Ensure, to give enough time & space to your employees, as they adjust to their new lifestyles. We need to let employees create their own schedules and determine what works best for them and their families. These are difficult times and individuals may be struggling with un-well family members or general anxiety. So we make sure to create a healthy and stable set of scales.
Managing Employee Communication with Care has been the most vital issue of all. Leaders and the Role of Human Resources should ensure that communication channels with the workforce are open and transparent. In crucial times leaders must direct their teams transparently and empathically. Management should make sure the employees are engaged with routine meets with their team. One must also facilitate the emotional concerns of the employee too. The HR teams must extend their support by organizing the right platform for such communications and develop effective care measures to strategies resilience that can improve employee morale, confidence, and belongingness.
There should be frequent Team Conversations where employees and managers share insights about the operations, development in the organization by which the employees stay engaged and identify their roles and contributions to the firm. Communi-care must be on the priority list for the management. There are tools (Zoom/ Google Meet) which are commonly used to meet the needs of the workforce, yet we need to widespread measure for ongoing and continuous communication. Its time when we accept the New Normal and keep bridging the communication channel for the most effective and fruitful business.
With all the struggles in this pandemic era we are already going through a lot of Stress, Anxiety, and Mental Health Issue, but we can surely deal such situations with careful planning, empathy, and responsiveness. The Role of Human Resources is crucial to overcome the COVID Challenges and leverage our companies to larger organisations with our effective measures. Expect troubles as an inevitable part of life and when it arises we must stay strong and face it with courage by repeating – This too shall pass.
But the most important thing that we must remember is, we must only grow if we accept the Change and every Change brings an additional Opportunity. The Future of ‘Human Resources’ is here & it is now! People and Companies who will adapt according to its global change will survive and create History!