Posted on: October 8, 2020
Covid-19 has radically changed the way we work and the methods we use to support the work environment. Working remotely near or at 100%, communicating via conference bridge, sharing information and files via internal chatter systems, and the hosting of client events via virtual conferences has exploded since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic − this is the new normal of work, and human resources has pivoted quickly to adapt to new challenges. With several new disciplines emerging as a result of the global pandemic, HR leadership is evolving. Let’s explore and consider how to improve HR management and how to support your business, employees, customers, and community.
For the past two decades, remote working has been open to many in limited circumstances; however, now it is a critical component of the new workplace. Honing key skills, including time management, notetaking, follow through, teamwork, empathy, and encouragement are more important than ever, especially when a co-worker is across the world and not across the office.
While the employee skills suggested above are important, it is just as important that HR training focuses on driving resiliency to strengthen your organization. This can be done by addressing how to:
- Mitigate risk
- Minimize loss
- Respond, learn, and adapt
With this in mind, consider the following eight key business areas when managing in this new normal:
Advise and communicate with the C-suite on all aspects of and impacts from the pandemic and other threats that can exploit company vulnerabilities (notably cyber-attack, civil unrest, wildfires, floods, tornados, hurricanes, and other extreme weather).
The CEO needs to be informed at all times regarding the welfare of their staff in adverse situations and act on timely and accurate data that enables informed decisions to be made. HR can leverage staff business continuity expertise to ensure a safe working environment whether on-site (limited) or remote and to ensure the continued resiliency of the business.
Align and coordinate with information security teams and the information risk management system on the expanded cybersecurity threats posed during present and future pandemics. Advanced phishing is now escalating (via e-mail, text, social media), and hackers and online scammers hope to exploit the remote worker who is not now fully shielded using corporate network protections, as evident by the July 2020 ISSA/ESG Research Report.
Nurture a ‘team approach’ for individuals to foster a community sense of support when working remotely. For example, an occasional team call, words of encouragement, review of a paper, and confirmation of calculations will strengthen the internal network.
Ensure a safe, clean, and reliable physical environment for essential workers (and occasional return visitors to the office) by using state of the art sanitation and PPE solutions. Provide an ergonomic workspace and technology to continue operations from the home environment.
Develop transparent methods to analyze remote worker productivity. By measuring, reviewing, and acting on this data, HR can train employees on how to adjust individual roles and also create new positions not previously thought of pre-Covid-19. The new work rhythms are here to stay and will impact how business is conducted day to day and throughout the world.
Reduce workplace stress by encouraging employees to interact with their peers during and after work hours to nurture their emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual health.
Determine appropriate standards for business travel, including meeting social distancing and travel restriction requirements as well as establishing a process for reviewing and approving travel requests.
Work From Home
Manage and enable a flexible and documented work from home policy which includes a syllabus of skills that should be acquired, demonstrated, and honed. This policy could include competence in using internet conference software systems, understanding the protocols (and laws) related to session call recording, etiquette of chat rooms, note taking detail, and follow-up (use of meeting/call recording technology is empowering this new behavior).
Considering the many disciplines noted above, it is important to coordinate all these new policies carefully. Broadly speaking, this business continuity plan can act like the conductor in an orchestra ensuring everything is coordinated well. A powerful relationship database can enable the effective collection, automation, aggregation, and sharing of the key data needed by today’s business leaders. Having precise, accurate, and reliable data will allow timely decisions when a disaster strikes, allowing you to respond, recover, and resume your business quickly and predictably. Fusion functions as a skilled orchestra conductor to coordinate everything so that the business delivers the results that matter!
The new normal is here. It’s time for us all to adapt, respond, and learn to thrive in it.
Additional Resources of Interest