COVID-19 and the challenges of HRM
The COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe in a matter of weeks and caused entire economies to go into standby mode. As businesses struggle to get back on their feet in the aftermath, the uncertainty has brought the challenges of HR to the forefront. These include HR issues such as keeping teams motivated and boosting their morale amidst this global upheaval and ensuring smooth operations in a remote working context. However, the good news is that with the right HR software and technology, many of these can be mitigated effectively. But first, let's look at what these challenges are:
Changes in work models have meant rapid policy changes across organizations, big and small. HR departments have had to handle the bulk of this transformation, adding to their existing workloads. The responsibility remains on them to communicate these changes — be it new attendance systems or virtual learning modules — across teams while ensuring smooth transitions. This is a mammoth task, to say the least, considering that employees are all working remotely, perhaps from different parts of the country.
Teams that weren't used to communicating digitally are now having to rely only on emails, messaging, and calls to work together. This is often hard for them to get used to while maintaining the same level of efficiency. On top of that, employees receive conflicting information about the coronavirus and its effects from numerous local and national channels and their social media pages. It's natural for them to have questions about everything that is going on, and have some difficulty getting messages across to relevant stakeholders in time. In a situation like this, an employee portal app where team members can raise concerns through the helpdesk and edit/access their information when needed goes a long way in ensuring smooth interactions.
COVID-related uncertainty is affecting everyone, including concerns about their health and the health of their loved ones. With so many businesses permanently shutting shop, many employees are dealing with the fear of being laid off without warning. At the same time, managers are finding it hard to lead their teams virtually and may have concerns about employees slacking off — all of which creates an atmosphere of mistrust.
How can HR overcome these challenges?
Boost employee confidence with stable processes and information-sharing
At a time like this, it is crucial to present an informed, united front. Share your plans for the present and future, backed by high-authority data from the World Health Organization (WHO) and government agencies, and encourage your employees to voice their doubts and share their own ideas, if any. While you do this, ensure you maintain a semblance of normalcy through reliable, error-free processes. Think of it this way — if salaries are delayed at this time due to a payroll processing error, employees are likely to go into panic mode, and morale would drop even further. So invest in the right tools to make sure operations run seamlessly during the pandemic and beyond.
Set up guidelines for efficient remote working
While a remote working model may seem daunting for those not used to it, the basics involved are simple. Team communication channels should be set up, tasks should be clearly defined, and employees should be equipped with the technology they need to get their work done on time. In addition, ensure your teams have access to information relevant to them — especially since it may be inconvenient for them to get in touch with HR personnel for small tasks such as updating personal information, applying for leave, or filling in timesheets. This is where an Employee Self Service solution comes in, giving team members visibility into and control over information such as their payroll, schedules, and benefits.
In these unprecedented times, employees will be looking at their companies to provide support and guidance, where HR plays a key role. By demonstrating sound and communicative leadership and a genuine interest in their teams' mental and physical well-being, HR can set new workplace standards that will boost morale and loyalty in the months and years to come.