Over the last decade or so, the role of HR is getting more and more aligned with the business goals of organizations. The COVID-19 Pandemic is likely to have a deep impact on how organizations work, This, in turn will lead to the changing role of HR in the post-COVID-19 workplace.
During the COVID pandemic, HR teams have played a key role as the frontline responders in this time of crisis. They have been responsible for responding quickly to ensure the continuity of people operations.
With organizations forced to make changes overnight, HR teams have been working tirelessly to guide employees through this phase.
Experts feel that post-COVID-19, the role of HR is all set to change. They need to re-assert their leadership and develop new HR policies. These would focus on maximizing sustainability and growth in the changing business environment.
The COVID pandemic has impacted how organizations work significantly. It has impacted the personal and professional lives of every employee. In fact, this impact is going to be long-lasting. Hence, post-COVID-19, the role of HR in managing the workforce is all set to change.
One of the biggest fall-outs of the current crisis is that allowing employees to work remotely. Even after the crisis, a significant part of the workforce might be working remotely given the benefits.
Hence, the HR needs to come up with new policies of hiring, on-boarding, compensation, benefits, management, communication, recognition to exits.
The entire employee life cycle needs to be remapped to take into account the remote working of employees. This can be challenging as some employees might be working from office; while others will continue to work from home.
There might be others who keep switching between the two modes to balance between business and personal needs. So, the HR needs to ensure that there is proper communication with employees working in different modes.
As organizations allow remote working, they will also need to accept the idea of having a dispersed workforce. This, in turn, will create a challenge of having a common organization culture, which is critical for long-term business success.
Hence, the HR will need to focus on developing effective policies to ensure employee engagement, regular communication with remote employees, and sustain the organization culture.
The challenge of developing and sustaining the organizational culture will be greater as even employees working together might seldom meet.
Additionally, implementation of every HR policy is likely to rely extensively on the use of digital technology. In fact, digitization as an initiative has been happening in HR processes for some time now.
However, this crisis has necessitated that such initiatives pick up steam and there is complete digitization of all HR processes. So, right from learning and development to team management, digital tools will help to make the processes simpler, effective, and transparent. Hence, it is important for HR professionals to prepare themselves for the integration of digital technologies in HR processes.
Another important responsibility for the HR post-COVID-19 is to ensure physical and mental well-being of all employees.
The HR will need to make sure that employees working from home do not feel cut-off from the organization. They need to ensure that their engagement level is not diminished due to their sense of isolation. Also, the HR should focus on the physical well-being of remote employees through online fitness sessions conducted by fitness coaches.
They can facilitate the mental well-being of remote workers through online counsellors and helplines in case they need any help. Hence such initiatives can help in strengthening the sense of belonging and loyalty to the organization and boost their productivity.
The COVID-19 crisis has changed the way organizations and employees work significantly. The post-COVID world for HR professionals is likely to see new challenges. This would require fresh thinking, new approaches and significant learning to keep pace with these changes in the workplace.
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