During the first Covid-19 lockdown, employees had to multitask working at home productively, home-schooling for some, and even working around pets and partners which they’ve previously never experienced before. Out went boardroom meetings and beer fuelled brainstorms at the local and in came Zoom meetings, working from the sofa or spare room, and the shortest ever commute, from one room to another and back again.
HR teams and representatives have never been busier. Whether that’s working closely with IT to ensure people can work from home effectively, supporting employee wellbeing or taking the reigns of a company’s culture through the current crisis. Indeed, it’s an organisation’s culture that unites workers and their leaders. It brings everyone together within a happy, safe and productive working environment regardless of where workers are based. The HR team realise how important it is and have worked tirelessly to keep culture intact as it’s evolved during the pandemic.
HR has also dealt with the uglier side of business, when economies are suddenly plunged into global crisis. They’re managing the furlough process, ensuring smooth handover between employees, and supporting employees as they return from furlough. Not to mention redundancies which aren’t easy to handle in the best of times.
With up to 20% of England’s population needing new or additional mental health support as a direct consequence of the Coronavirus crisis, it’s probably no surprise that wellbeing has been the key focus for HR teams, whether that’s a one-person band or a team of ten associates.
HR has been the constant. The resilient force that’s been there for every single employee, helping them to maintain a work life balance while working remotely. Whether that’s through enabling employees to work atypical hours to fit around home life, encouraging them to take some time out, or supporting them during the bad days as well as the good. HR has been motivating workers to keep going even when the news is full of doom and gloom. And they have their own personal pandemic-induced issues too.
More resources on culture and mental health during covid:
HR has remained agile and switched course depending on the developing situation. Some of you might have worked all month to prepare for the new Job Support Scheme. Only for the government to extend the current Job Retention Scheme at the last minute. It’s also had to keep staff engaged, continue to support the company’s core values and all-important culture, and ensure that culture fundamentally supports internal communications.
More on staff engagement:
We’ll remember 2020 for putting the ‘human’ back into human resources. We must not undo all the hard work we’ve done in making such progress, albeit during a time of great duress.
Leaders have finally woken up to the importance of supporting employee wellbeing, and that every single employee much be reached, and regularly. Through HR, leaders can continue to demonstrate transparency, foster trust and help to mobilise employees while ensuring their safety and wellbeing.
Of course, driving and maintaining productivity will remain a challenge. So providing this through personalised and supportive ways, where each employee is genuinely valued and counted for, is the way forward.
More articles on the future of leadership and HR roles:
HR continues to weather one of the worst storms in history. It’s vital that every company, no matter how small, has a HR and internal communications function.
To discuss how this function can look and work for your business or organisation, please do get in touch on 07947 756 842 or email Sarah@Sarahmckennahr.co.uk