Let’s all take a moment to give HR a high five for all they have done for those they support for the past year!!
We know that throughout the pandemic there has been much deserved adulation to the healthcare heroes, first responder heroes, retail heroes, pharma heroes, and small businesses that re-tooled to make much needed supplies to help us all get through safely. But, to people that have remained employed throughout the pandemic, let us think about all the behind the scenes work it took to enable us all to seamlessly work from home and if working onsite, what it took to keep us safe at work. To keep employees working, productive and helping to keep businesses moving forward they have worked 16-hour days, gotten completely burnt out, and putting themselves fourth or fifth on the list. Here are just a few of the areas in which HR has risen head and shoulders above and beyond.
Everything has gone online or remote. With this come the struggles with new technology and privacy concerns. HR has had to connect tightly with IT to make this happen. Many businesses had to take their entire recruiting & onboarding process online. Sensitive information needs to be collected securely, which can complicate the process and/or cause confusion for some employees. Employee communication and training has moved online as well. We have been moving to an online world for many years and now is the time to embrace it.
Are employees getting what they need now, during the crisis? Surveying employees to gain actionable information and make strategic decisions is important to improve morale and engagement. Measuring engagement can identify any barriers to engagement and in return keep productivity high, greater employee retention and profitability. For frontline employees, the top priority is having what’s necessary to do their job safely. Employees working remotely have needs around feeling connected with their managers and teams. Many employees have concerns about job security during this time.
Safety challenges in returning employees to work present an extreme task. HR staff needs to accommodate employee’s needs, safety and compliance as the world reopens. Having that trust will be important to ensure the employees feel the workplace is safe and they can return to normal productivity. HR will need to develop a plan to return to normal, engaging managers and employees and incorporating their concerns.
Employee health and wellness is now a public safety concern. At first, employees may feel it is an invasion of privacy, but temperature checks and questions at the entranceway have become the norm. Office buildings and public spaces need to be redesigned for social distancing, one way routes and isolated spaces. Knowing how much risk there is in bringing employees back to work and how much risk employees are willing to take on will be an important balancing act.
With everything that HR has adapted to over the past year, are you still wondering if your business needs Human Resources?