How has the Coronavirus Pandemic changed the World of HR?
2020 and 2021 have changed the way HR works, in many instances for the better. The COVID-19 pandemic put HR at the centre of many businesses, and they were vital in controlling how organisations coped with the impact and pressure the pandemic brought. The pandemic forced HR to make significant changes, embrace technology and move forward in a way which allows for more opportunities in many instances. Let’s look more closely at the core areas of change:
Remote work became essential during the pandemic but for many organisations, it still isn’t over. Companies around the world have adopted hybrid working models which allow employees to split their week in the office and remotely. Evidence from the Office for National Statistics found 85% of people would prefer a hybrid approach to office working and HR departments should sit up and listen to this. If employees are craving this kind of working environment, it may be worth considering as it can help them to work more effectively. Hybrid working comes with its challenges but if it leads to more productivity and effectiveness, it is worth the groundwork. HR professionals need to consider how important it is to have all employees in the office at any given time and consider more flexible approaches.
Many workers who would never even have considered video calls or conferences before the pandemic are now pros. With hybrid work now a preference, technology plays a key role in the day-to-day operations and communications of many businesses. From HR’s perspective, video is also a powerful tool for the recruitment process. Opting for stage one video interviews has become the norm for many organisations, with only later stage interviews taking place in person. This represents a significant cost and time saving and helps HR departments manage their schedules and budgets more easily.
It’s important to note that video interviewing is a little different to face-to-face and HR departments may want to consider additional training for their teams to prepare them for this shift.
A CIPD survey found 37% of businesses have seen a rise in stress-related sickness since the Coronavirus pandemic began. The impact on many people’s mental health has been significant and this isn’t something organisations, or their HR departments can ignore. Specialist mental health training and qualified mental health first aiders can help ensure your employees have the support they need if they are struggling with their mental health.
Organisations are also looking to develop their employee wellbeing programmes. This kind of programme aims to help employees improve their relationship with their own health. More employees working remotely can make it hard to gauge how people are coping mentally, so it is important to create open channels of communication and ensure everyone is aware of the support available.
Meeting Learning Expectations
Many people have become career changers during the Coronavirus pandemic. People are looking for something new to challenge them or simply feel they are not suited to their current role when assessing their lives. PWC found 77% of people are ready and willing to learn or even completely retrain. While you don’t want to lose your talent, training and learning opportunities may be a way of giving employees the chance to reroute their careers and still remain within the company.
Apprenticeships are an effective way of upskilling and retaining talented employees. Higher level apprenticeships are equal to degree level qualifications and maybe a valuable tool in convincing listless employees to stay. HR employees should work closely with learning and development to create engaging programmes to keep employees interested.
HR has been pivotal to organisations surviving the pandemic but there is still work to be done. Many people have changed their outlook on life since Coronavirus hit and organisations need to adjust their expectations and their offerings accordingly.