The COVID-19 pandemic became one of most defining moments in modern history. For almost two years, governments, businesses and individuals tried their hardest to cope with what came to be known as ‘the new normal.’ The Human Resource Management arm for businesses, like all other departments, was presented with numerous challenges in this regard. These ranged from compensation, new hires, and employee motivation to harder decisions like letting people go.
In the midst of all these issues, HR had to evolve. The companies that enabled this transformation emerged relatively safe from these trying times. However, the perception and practices for this department have changed drastically. Moreover, the pandemic and its aftermath still continues to present challenges for HR. Paul Haarman is explaining some of the ways in which HR has faced difficulties and some solutions that have been implemented globally.
1. Practicing Flexibility
With remote work, Zoom meetings, virtual offices and flexible working hours, corporate guidelines have changed immensely. In this regard, companies have to remain flexible and become open to allowing employees freedom of work. These practices have to be ingrained within the workplace culture and HR has a crucial role in the process.
HR departments have had to create new codes and guidelines which assert that flexibility is no longer a leverage, it is part of daily routines. However, tracking employee productivity and ensuring their availability for completion of work is tough. HR teams have implemented solutions in this regard like telecommuting, hybrid work arrangements and even snowbird programs where workers can move to warmer regions during winter.
2. The Danger of Reverting to Old Ways
As life begins to return to normalcy, there is a danger that HR of all domains might return to old ways. This can be a huge setback to both internal as well as external stakeholders. The organization might also feel the brunt for it as the changes brought by the pandemic are here to stay. Although it might be tempting for HR departments to try conventional practices immediately, Paul Haarman believes that there is a danger for things to backfire resulting in loss of productivity and efficiency amongst employees.
3. Skill Evolution and Revamped Hiring Procedures
The job market is no longer what it used to be just a couple of years back. Digital skills have come in greater demand with employees needed to implement as well as support virtual work environments. HR departments have to look for relevant skills in this regard when hiring employees. Many organizations are looking to fill the places now that were vacated during downsizing but the older job requirements need to be revamped. Therefore, HR teams have to research and come up with more relevant job descriptions for these evolved roles
4. Re-Imagining Employee Motivation Processes
As per the assessment of Paul Haarman, maintaining employee motivation with remote work is a challenge unlike any other. With numerous distractions and workplaces that are not controllable by the organization, HR departments have to look for virtual solutions for employee engagement. Zoom training sessions, meetups and team discussions on a regular basis are some of the ways that are being implemented worldwide in this regard.
With HR and its role in bringing new talent on board, building strong teams and making sure that employees remain focused during these changed times, there are equal parts challenges and opportunities at play. It all depends on how HR teams perceive and act upon them to derive productive results for organizations.