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How will Covid-19 transform the role of HR?

Stuart Clarke of Let's Connect takes a look at some of the key ways the world of work will change as we begin to come out of lockdown.

 

When Covid-19 hit the UK, all businesses had to make some drastic adjustments to how they could continue to run and manage their businesses. 

With Human Resources spearheading the response to the Covid-19 pandemic in companies, the role of a HR team changed dramatically to ensure each business adapted and improved their processes to make the transition to remote working possible and efficient.

As HR personnel take on new tasks and responsibilities to keep employees safe and regularly updated on changes to the business, it’s important to take note of which changes will become a permanent feature as the future of the workplace transforms. 

Here are five factors that’ll likely become the norm after Covid-19.

 

Remote/Flexible Working

As the majority of workers adjusted to remote working due to the pandemic, it’s very likely that many will continue to work remotely after businesses return to their workplaces. The flexibility of this may vary between businesses, with employees working partly from home and partly in the office. 

For many employers and employees, this transition was kept as smooth as possible due to the technology and infrastructure available, which allowed remote working to be possible.

However, if remote working is here to stay, HR teams will need to develop and implement new rules to keep everyone in the business reassured and comfortable with more permanent changes to the way we work.

Here are some factors to consider:

 

-    How will managers provide training and development for remote employees?

-    Will businesses fund remote workers’ connectivity and digital equipment, e.g. laptops, tablets, additional monitors, printers?

-    How will attendance and productivity be monitored successfully?

-    Which HR functions will need to adapt e.g. talent development, training, diversity and compensation?

 

Acquisition and Retention of Staff 

Due to the huge impact Covid-19 has had on the economy, lots of companies and industries have not only frozen their activity to hire new staff members but may have also been forced to furlough staff and even let some team members go. These difficult decisions will affect all businesses across the country as retention of remaining employees becomes increasingly important to keep companies performing. 

HR teams will also need to implement new strategies to keep furloughed staff up to date with any changes and to get all furloughed staff back in full employment as quickly as possible. Once businesses do begin to return to work, a recovery plan will need to be in place that may include acquiring temporary staff or contractors to assist in the transition back to work. Even in these uncertain times, it is critical for HR teams to maintain communication with their current staff and any prospective employees. 

 

Engaging a Remote Workforce 

Engaging a remote workforce can be a new challenge for HR teams but remains one of the most valuable objectives to maintain a successful business. Keeping employees engaged, excited and productive not only translates into a better performing company, but consequently ensures employees are happy and feel rewarded for their efforts. 

As HR personnel take on this new challenge of keeping a remote workforce engaged, it is important to adjust how you communicate with your team. Demonstrate appreciation and reward team members who are working productively and enthusiastically. 

 

Advances in Digital Transformation

During lockdown organisations have become even more reliant on technology in order to enable their employees to work from home effectively. There has been a huge demand for computing equipment, external monitors and very importantly, video conferencing platforms so teams can communicate and collaborate on a regular basis. 

This has caused HR teams to accelerate their digital transformation strategy within their business. As an increased reliance on technology has allowed many businesses to run effectively, we can be certain it’s well and truly here to stay. With further advances and improvements, companies will be confident to integrate this into their workflow to aid their teams further.

 

Deeper Dive into Employee Wellbeing

This pandemic has taught employers that the mental and physical wellbeing of their employees is of utmost importance. As we all navigate through a worldwide crisis, many people have felt worried, demotivated and unsure of what the future holds. HR teams have stepped up to provide support and reassurance in the form of wellness initiatives such as video catch-ups to discuss anything work or non-work related, mindfulness classes, financial advice and a variety of other support helplines.

Companies have also encouraged their employees to take regular breaks from their desk, go on regular walks to get fresh air and also ensure their home set-up is ergonomically suitable to combat neck and back pain. This strategy will be adopted as the norm when work does return to normal, as the physical and mental wellbeing of employees not only demonstrates loyalty to your employees but also leads to positive and effective employees.

 

Will all these changes become permanent? It’s still too early to tell and not all these changes will happen at once. This period of time has given us the chance to experience different ways of working and some businesses may have seen benefits, where others may have only been met with challenges. One thing that we can say for certain, is that the future of how we work is changing.

If you’d like to discuss more about implementing our Technology Benefit within your business, or you’d like to find out more about our other Employee Benefits, why not get in touch here.