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Redefined HR practices during the pandemic

Redefined HR practices during the pandemic

Can you guess what it is?

Guess the game

The above is an online game of Pictionary played by a team of employees. Such activities have become a part of the regular employee engagement programs ever since we have all started working from home. Be it Townhall meets, employee engagement activities or employee onboarding and orientation, all HR activities are conducted virtually.   

The past few months brought about a revolution in the way businesses function. With companies shifting to a virtual operating model and with employees working remotely, the HR trends and practices also saw a complete shift. With an almost a year long of virtual functioning, some major HR practices and responsibilities took a turn for the good. From an ever altering role of the HR department during this pandemic, to becoming a custodian and guardian of employee and organisation well being, let’s have a look at the HR practices that changed dramatically during this time period.

Virtual recruitment and orientation

Back in the day before the pandemic hit our lives, online application of job opportunities was a common practice. This very practice was taken a step further with a shift in total recruitment processes online. The application process, interview and job offers were all made virtually over video conferencing and calls. Industries at large, also witnessed online job fairs and recruiting drives that made the process of hiring convenient at both ends. 

The practice of digital onboarding and orientation also came into play, with a majority of businesses using HRMS software and applications to seamlessly onboard, welcome and carry out documentation & paperwork of joinees remotely.

Privacy and data protection requirements

With all HR processes and tasks shifting to the digital platform, the need for higher data protection and security arised. This gave birth to the need for better technical and digital awareness. The HR personnels underwent training in order to securely handle sensitive employee data and process it. With this, the HR executives partially stepped into the shoes of an IT personnel and took on the responsibility to follow high security standards and work in accordance with the privacy policy of their respective organisations while shifting their functioning fully to the online platform.

Another aspect of the requirement, made HR professionals get accustomed to working with various AI technologies for hiring, shortlisting and analysing applicants, which require a considerable amount of technical knowledge and prowess.

Surveys, employee engagement and compliance

While the pandemic had everyone employee of an organisation working remotely and in complete isolation from their workforce, the need for finding out employee needs and wants arised. With this, came the task of craftily creating and running employee surveys in order to understand their satisfaction, problems and provide solutions remotely. 

In addition to this, regular employee engagement activities and virtual sessions to boost their morale and check on their well being were arranged by the HR teams. They held together the workforce virtually by creating tight knit digital groups and communities where all employees could come together even when functioning remotely. This made the HR teams put on the hat of a social engineer in a virtual space too.

Hence, as HR teams face challenges and try to accommodate employee’s needs constantly, the safety and compliance landscape has made the shift gradually. 

Public Health Administration

With fighting a pandemic comes the responsibility of ensuring the safety and well being of the entire workforce. Hence, the role of public health administration of employees came right in where the HR department took sole care of strategising and setting up sanitisation stations at the workplace, temperature checks at entry points, reinforcing social distancing and use of masks, planning rotational shifts for employees, ensuring cafeteria hygiene and alternate lunch breaks to ensure employee safety and organising Covid test drives. This has changed the scope of work under the HR department and made them equipped to face many such unforeseen challenges in the future too.

Leadership and Management

HR teams and HR managers pulled the workforce together during these trying times and led people to excel by keeping their morals up by constant engagement and conversation. They worked a great deal in strategising layoffs and salary cuts, and managing internal costs through constant planning and accurate execution. All this kept organisations afloat and played a great role in striking a balance in the times when the economy was hit and professionals all over the globe were in a troubled state of mind.

This proved as a real example of HR leadership and placed HR professionals on the table to guide and lead businesses in dealing with workforce and teams.

With this, it is safe to say that this worldwide pandemic changed some very crucial HR practices entirely for the benefit and convenience of all HR professionals and employees making remote human resource management easier and streamlined through HRMS softwares and tools that automate simple HR tasks leaving HR executives with more time to concentrate on employee related tasks that are important for the wellbeing of the workforce.

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