With the global pandemic throwing a wrench in businesses’ plans for the year, organisations have focused their efforts on maintaining stability and continuity where possible. This has made business owners and managers take a good hard look at their people matters.
More than ever before, doing what’s best for business and staff has been a tough balancing act. But beyond business concerns, COVID-19 is a humanitarian crisis. People have lost loved ones, lost their livelihood, struggled with mental health issues; in one way or another, everyone has experienced negative impacts from the pandemic.
We’ve put together six steps on how you, as an HR professional can help provide stability to your business as we continue with the ever-shifting ‘new normal’.
The last few months have shown us nothing is set in stone and we will undoubtedly come across many unforeseen obstacles. But while it’s impossible to predict and prepare for everything, HR teams need to have a clear understanding of where their business is headed. Being familiar with your strategy, vision and values, will help you plan for any necessary shifts in the way your HR team operates.
HR software can provide accurate data to inform key people-related decisions. Make sure you know what opportunities and challenges lie ahead for your business – and be up to speed with how technology can help you respond.
Make values and purpose the bedrock of your business
If your organisation is one of the many businesses that have had to either furlough or retrench employees, or suddenly transition to a fully home-working workforce, one of the biggest challenges you might be experiencing is how to retain your company culture and keep your staff engaged.
HR need to ask, are people engaged with the overall purpose of the business, and are they clear about how they fit into the bigger picture?
If innovation and creativity are valued in the business, are there mechanisms in place to reward employees demonstrating these behaviours?
Are HR processes aligned with the way the business wants people to work on a day-to-day basis?
Having a clear and strong company culture helps staff to bond as a team. Feeling part of a work community is especially important during challenging times – and COVID-19 has certainly been that!
Align HR and business strategies
Owners and managers are now seeing HR as more than a ‘have to do’ function, and instead as a strategic opportunity to support business growth and stability. With the right data and people metrics, HR have started to take a more crucial role in contributing towards key business decisions. Having up-to-the-minute information about everything from headcount to available skill sets allows business decision-makers to create data-driven strategies for both their workforce and overall business.
As businesses adjusted to a COVID-19 world, they inevitably needed to rethink their previous approaches and adapt their people processes, for example, taking onboarding programmes online.
The latest HR software allows employees to access and update their own data – and makes it much easier for line managers to administer processes such as holidays and absences remotely. These systems cut down on paperwork, ensure consistency, and make HR processes easier to follow and more transparent.
Strike the balance between preservation and evolution
As we experience changes, it’s important not to be too sentimental about what has always been, and to let go of processes or aspects of the business’ culture that no longer support its vision or priorities.
In today’s environment, for example, many organisations have discovered the benefits of increased home working on employee engagement and productivity as they continue operations offsite. Additionally, highly formal team meetings or endless email chains are giving way to more immediate and engaging forms of communication. HR software, like Cezanne HR, includes a social portal which allows employees to share information and collaborate more widely across the business.
Lay the foundations for the future
Despite the country slowly easing out of lockdown restrictions, many people are still expressing concerns and anxiety about an uncertain future (risk of a second wave, financial instability, unstable job market, etc.). So, as an HR team you may find it difficult to see beyond the immediate operational issues.
Even before COVID-19, HR people often found themselves tackling short term problems, and barely having time to lift their heads to look at what strategies they should be putting in place to prepare for the future. As always, try not to get caught up in the current moment at the expense of golden opportunities to support long-term goals.
What HR strategies are you employing to support your business’ stability? Let us know what’s worked for you – and how you manage to make time for your strategic issues.