Dr. Rajesh Mohan Rai
Human Resources in Post Pandemic Era
Last year starting March 24, when the lockdown at National level was announced to contain the spread of deadly Corona virus in India, everything around us changed overnight. Everyone adopted and evolved new ways of performing their respective work. Everything became online, virtual and it continues to be same to some extent or the other. We exhibited the zeal to survive and evolve as human beings.
During these testing times, people have put in their best efforts and put in lots of hard work against all constraints of place, time and bandwidth. With the quantum of efforts put in by people work from home has become part of New Normal. With signs of normalization getting brighter by the day, the Human resources function and their leaders have evolved during this period and are ready to take the new role of a business enabler. The transactional activities reduced making space for new and more strategic thinking and planning and the implementation of the plans and strategy for their respective organizations.
No activity has been left to be completed on account of work from home. Recruitment has moved from face to face interactions to virtual interactions using various platforms. This has helped the recruitments professionals to broaden their search and physical boundaries have diminished. In the virtual world, geographies do not matter much. The HR has designed and implemented learning and development initiatives in a virtual mode. Employees are encouraged to enroll for online courses and complete the same. They are constantly trying for alignment between the employees’ requirements and Business needs. HR leaders have used this time to reskill their people.
One observation of this period is that people have started talking about mental health. Human Resources leaders have taken lead by sharing their personal experiences. Being candid about their experiences of mental health struggles as a leader opens the door for employees to feel comfortable talking about mental health challenges of their own including that of family members. Human resources leaders have strategically invested in the mental and physical wellbeing of employees in the organization.
HR leaders are constantly working on improving the communication with employees and also hand holding business leaders on this aspect of the business, where in employees feel wanted and valued.
HR leaders are strongly advocating the hybrid model of workplace. Hybrid workplace means moving from traditional to agile, modern environments that support the changing work culture. The cost savings made by adopting a hybrid working model, being the most significant. Organizations have started ploughing back a portion of savings back into employee welfare.
HR leaders are constantly looking for new ways to keep the employees engaged. The situation is not the same, hence the ways must also be new, which are accepted by the employees and are more than mere lip service.
As employees adjust to how, when and where they work, great opportunity which proactive HR leaders have latched on to by innovatively designing employee engagement initiatives keeping WFH, needs of the employees and the organization vision in consideration. Employee engagement, constant communication and displayed pledge to the culture by leadership in alignment with HR and HR Leaders are working wonders for the morale of the employees at their respective locations.
Last but not the least is that HR leaders have started working very diligently with business leaders to establish a new culture of the organization. A culture which recognizes the contributions and value adds made by employees. This was nowhere on the radar of the HR leaders during the lockdown. HR leaders, like everyone else, were learning by the day during this period, now encourage employees to recognize each other in every possible way. Initiatives are being taken by the HR leaders to ensure that the top leadership constantly put in extra efforts to recognize and reward employees for doing that little extra to create a sense of happiness, satisfaction and delight by helping and supporting colleagues and customers.
Human Resources leader are leading the initiatives for the modifications to the process and system to implement the reward and recognition among teams, they are taking utmost care to be consistent. When the newly designed rewards and recognition system which is starts delivering the desired results in the organization, establishes a culture in the organization, a culture that encourages employee participation and employee self-determination at the same time.
Together, these actions shall go a long way to reinforce the employees’ trust in the organization, which in turn positively impacts the employee engagement ensuring contribution by them for the organization and satisfaction for them with the organization. This helps the employees to remain enthused and in gear. It is about Hope, Happiness and Health for the employees, their families and the organization. It is all about optimism towards overcoming every challenge thrown by Covid -19. HR leaders are ready to take them head on.