Role of HR in the New Normal- Think beyond Safety

As the economies starts reopening and business aims to restructure towards the new normal; the new working models are constantly increasing discomfort among people and ultimately the performance levels. Organization will require much more energy and commitment to regain its position and it is critical that the comfort and motivation level of team is sustained in this journey. Top management along with HR must start developing new people strategies.

Adapting the new normal is neither easy for employees nor the company as they have their own challenges. This article shall help you to address & resolve the challenges that are being faced in the current situation. HR should promote a climate of calm while also engaging leadership to respond with timely, accurate, assertive, clear, and consistent communication from all levels of the organization. With that communication needs to be honest, open, and as transparent as possible to maintain credibility.

Stress Level:  Building a sense of hope for employees during this time is extremely important for their engagement and performance. As the world is hit by this pandemic, employees across all the organization are worried about their job security, as it is one of the most uncertain situations which leads to mental stress to an employee. HR should constantly communicate to the employees in order to stay connected as well as boost their morale & also involve Management in certain communication with employees which motivates employees to accomplish their goals faster. Promote participative management, which involves employees in some brainstorming meetings as well as consider their thoughts (if valid) and this small change can help a company in developing new leaders in this pandemic. Due to economic slowdown, companies are facing various issues & one of the major issues is managing huge workforce in less workload. One needs to identify the skills of employees & can assign them the task which will eventually help the company in achieving its long term objectives.

Work-life Balance: Due to pandemic & social distancing some of the companies have decided to continue Work from home & for this it is mandatory for the companies to make Work from home policies in order to become transparent with their employees, as it is a long term thing and not just short term, considering the changes in containment zone. Working from home is not easy as employees have to manage other stuffs & balancing work & personal becomes like a seesaw. Managers should help their team in prioritizing the essential & non-essential tasks, which will ultimately result in balancing their personal life as well. It is of course not a one-time task; in fact, one should review it on weekly basis. Especially to female employees, who has to manage their household chores. It becomes hectic for them to continuously manage their office work in a specific time. Company can also support them by giving them options of part-time work or reschedule their tasks

Performance Pressure: People are facing constant pressure due to imbalanced workload, due to sudden opportunities & challenges in work, which in turn becomes difficult for the people to remain mentally stable. Being empathetic towards employees is the only thing that will keep them motivated in the tough times & to make them motivated HR or manager should share the small success of accomplishments on group emails or internal chat group so that everyone can celebrate wins, which will enhance their self-confidence

Remote Mentoring: It has become difficult for the managers to mentor their team remotely, as one cannot understand the emotions while communicating for which one can adopt video calls instead of normal calls. Manager should casually connect with the employees at least once in a day in order to discuss the issues faced by them or updates or casual talks. HR shall do frequent survey, understand the constant management challenges and adapt new methods of mentoring.

Apart from the above challenges, it is necessary for a company to maintain their employee’s well-being (physical as well as mental). Some of them are mentioned below:

1.  HR should promote awareness by releasing various educational posters, mailers, etc. among employees about alcohol-based hand rub or soap, or the necessary support system to maintain hygiene

2. Employee Assistance Program should be launched wherein, HR’s should offer mental health support resources, with that HR should communicate the 24*7 support available through an EAP or other emotional well being program like tele-medicine.

3. Develop & provide employees access to qualified financial planners who are able to help the employees with information and counsel on managing their finances will help employees address the stress and go a long way

4. HR’s need to keep reminding employees about social distancing, following government guidelines in case of symptoms, discourage them from hoarding essentials like masks and sanitizers and encouraging them to stay home.

Authors:

Saloni Surani, a Strategic Business Consultant, who pursued her Masters in Management & has an eclectic experience in J.Hirani with various industries like Manufacturing, Real Estates, Hospitality, FinTech, etc. She is a keen observer who silently achieves her goals and happily surprises everyone with the results. Adapting & learning new things has been her forte which helps her in getting new ideas always, anyone who wants to refresh their Values- just look at her.

 

Heli Shah an MBA graduate is associated with J.Hirani as a Business Analyst. She is fresh soul with humble and optimistic approach who is working in different industries like Manufacturing, Retail, and Hospitality etc. Flexibility and greediness in learning new things helps her to conquer the challenges coming on her way.

About J.hirani: J.hirani is a Strategic Transformation team which works as a growth partner for different organisations in various industries by providing services like Agile transformation, Scenario mapping, Strategic alignment, Balance scorecard, Digital transformation, Incubating new ventures, Operation excellence and Aligning human capital.

©J.Hirani, Role of HR in the New Normal – Think beyond Safety, June 2020. All rights reserved

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