Human resources (HR) will play a key role in rethinking how your organisation functions in the wake of coronavirus.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused unprecedented disruption to both our personal and working lives. Whether you like it or not, you will have to reconsider every facet of your organisation. This is a new world, and the old world isn’t likely to return anytime soon – if ever.
Writing for Forbes, sociologist Tracy Brown, author of Bring Work to Life by Bringing Life to Work: A Guide for Leaders and Organisations, says that “a forward thinking HR strategy” is key to driving and supporting change in the workplace.
THE ROLE OF HR
Here are five areas where HR has a major role to play in changing your organisation for the better:
Organisation. To survive and thrive, your organisation must adapt, at pace, to the future of work. HR can facilitate coordination, communication, and collaboration across all departments, ensuring the establishment of a healthy company culture and developing, supporting, and holding leaders to account.
Talent. Superior talent results in superior performance. Post-coronavirus, every company will have to function like a start-up, hiring individuals who, through a rapid process of experimentation, are able to find innovative solutions to problems. Through the creation of “robust employer branding”, HR can be “an engine for the company’s success”.
HR will also play a vital role in building “social capital”, fostering a sense of common purpose and community.In a world where remote working is standard, it will be HR’s responsibility to recommend best practices and, through the use of regular surveys, create “feedback loops” to provide leaders with the information required to ensure employee engagement.It will also be vital to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion through education, including diverse voices in decision-making processes and providing equal access to opportunities.
Wellbeing. As an employer, you have a responsibility to consider the psychological wellbeing of your employees. This is particularly important given the negative impact the pandemic has had on mental health.HR can provide support for individual employees suffering from mental health issues, create programmes to improve the physical and psychological wellbeing of all employees, and support a healthy work-life balance by offering childcare, flexible working and remote working options.
Administration. In the current climate, when job security is a major concern for every employee, HR departments must be flexible. For example, providing opportunities to change work status from part-time to full-time or shifting retirement plans. When layoffs are necessary, HR must ensure the process is handled with care.HR can also provide leaders with insights into the employee experience, and will play a key role in the development of new policies and the dissemination of information about “the rules and practices that guide the organisation”.
Office. HR will play an integral role in welcoming employees back to work following lockdown, ensuring everybody feels safe and secure. Communication will be at the heart of this process. Ask questions, listen to the answers and act accordingly.
“Taking the lead in reimagining the organisation, developing talent strategies, addressing wellbeing and work-life, administering HR systems and facilitating reentry to the office are all critical and uniquely skilled contributions HR can make.” Focusing on people will become more important than ever post-coronavirus. Confident, efficient and innovative HR departments will be at the forefront of navigating this strange new world.