3 Challenges of HR Post-COVID
Every industry has had its fair share of challenges this past year while trying to navigate the next steps in the face of a global pandemic. However, one of the professions that have perhaps faced the most obstacles - resulting in the most rapid changes - is, arguably, HR.
With every organisation relying on their HR leadership now more than ever, HR teams have had to adapt and adjust their regular workplace best practices to reflect our current working-from-home circumstances - and it hasn’t been easy.
Since each HR department varies depending on the business, challenges haven’t necessarily been linear across every sector, but there are a few common challenges of HR in the ‘new normal’ post COVID-19 that are important to consider.
1. Enhanced Health and Safety
From wearing face masks to the shops to doubling up on hand sanitizer, we’ve all taken measures to up our health and safety game in recent months.
To this end, organisations that are slowly transitioning back to the office are keeping with this trend by implementing the most comprehensive health and safety plans to keep employees feeling safe, comfortable, and supported as they adjust back into their ergonomic office chairs.
The biggest challenge with this, however, is that until the post-pandemic dust settles, health and safety measures will be running on a trial and error basis. This means that organisations need to be monitored more consistently by HR than before to make sure everyone is doing their diligence to remain safe - a difficult and timely task when rules and restrictions are still being reviewed and changed frequently.
To help with this, HR teams have a key role to play in opening up effective dialogue with employees who are apprehensive about coming back to work. Their concerns are valid and need to be listened to and responded to with care so that they feel confident about the workplace safeguards put in place for them.
2. Workforce Maintenance
It’s no secret that the unemployment rate has skyrocketed in 2020, leaving many organisations with varying capacity restraints and a lack of skilled and knowledgeable employees to help keep businesses running efficiently.
This is why, from an operational standpoint, HR needs to properly maintain its workforce and focus on COVID-19 rehabilitation so that their organisations can get back to work and start to generate more revenue as things begin to balance out again - and this begins with training and development.
HR will need to ramp up training so that those people who took on additional responsibility during the pandemic fill in any skills and knowledge gaps. HR could also consider shifting their best practice to skills-based hiring rather than education-based hiring, as the time and money spent to train someone inexperienced could hinder business production and performance as they get back on their feet.
Fortunately, though, this transition will likely turn out to be a positive one for most organisations in the long term as training and skills-based hiring will decrease employee turnover and improve talent acquisition, ultimately achieving business continuity when it counts the most.
3. Employee Morale
It has been one tough go this year - physically, financially, and mentally - for everyone.
Many people are overwhelmed with thoughts of what the post-COVID-19 world has in store for them, and HR’s challenge here is to effectively support their organisation’s employees as they adjust to the new ways of living and working. This includes paying special attention to employee morale.
Boosting employee morale, especially during an economic crisis, is incredibly important because those employees who feel supported, secure, and content in their roles are more likely to produce better results and remain driven to help their company succeed.
However, a recent survey from the Society for Human Resources Management claims that 65% of employers say that employee morale is difficult to maintain right now, meaning it’s currently not only one of HR’s biggest challenges but also one of its highest priorities.
To help combat a further decline, HR is helping organisations increase their employee morale in some simple yet all-important ways, including:
- Celebrating Milestones: Encouraging the recognition of workplace wins - big and small - when and as they occur to keep employees motivated.
- Access to Resources: Enhanced access to government, industry, and health professional advice both in the office and online.
- Remote Working Options: Increased flexibility for where and during what hours employees choose to work.
- Effective Communication: Keeping employees informed on important updates and encouraging them to connect socially, whether that be virtually or from two metres apart.
The world we’re used to is changing and so it goes that with any changes, naturally, come the challenges. However, when considering the challenges of HR in the ‘new normal’ post-COVID-19, we need to understand that ‘business as usual’ will never again be business as it was before. For now, all we can do is learn, adapt, and push to succeed.
We’re all still in this together.
Discover how an online professional CIPD qualification can help you upskill and enhance your career. Get your free online CIPD course guide today to get started.
Ready to advance your HR career?
Request your guide to getting CIPD qualified online with unlimited 1:1 tutor support and interest-free plans.