What Will HR Processes Look Like in the Post-COVID-19 Economy?

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Jul 6, 2020
This article is part of a series called COVID-19 Coverage.

The current pandemic is quickly becoming the catalyst for one of the most momentous workplace transformations ever. How we work, keep fit, buy groceries, communicate — and of course — where we work, will be revolutionized forever.

It’s difficult at the moment to look into the future and resume a state of normality while COVID-19 rages, flooding our personal and professional lives. But, when things go back to a new normal and employees return to employment, there are specific human resources stances that businesses can take into account.

Here’s a list of some HR processes that can benefit your staff and the organization’s outcome. When evaluating them, think about how your own business may gain by applying similar processes. 

Implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI) Technology

As employers look to cut costs in a potentially down economy, AI-driven technology will likely be an ongoing trend for the foreseeable future.

Thanks to AI, companies will be able to achieve more than ever before, with minimal effort. Generally, AI is being utilized by human resources to aid in administering their human capital.

Several companies are employing AI systems to independently screen applicants and move potential employees through the application process, saving HR teams uncountable hours. Other companies are utilizing AI to supervise workers so they can tactically tackle performance issues on an individual basis.

In terms of logging complicated data sets, this innovative technology is exactly what HR needs.

Re-Examine the Way a Company Functions

One of the main outcomes of COVID-19 is that remote working does actually work — it’s become the new norm. HR will have to think about whether they need quite as much office space, as reducing it can also decrease their physical property footprint.

The current pandemic has been a major digital transformation in workplaces, and companies have utilized software such as Slack, e-learning platforms, and programs. We’re entering an age of new tools, rules, and norms to make digital work flourish — a new norm that’ll be with us for generations.

Human resources must develop new strategies, practices, and cultural norms that enable staff to work from home.

For example, HR teams can consider the following:

  • When an employee is interrupted at home, can they miss a meeting?
  • When are cameras switched on and when are they switched off?
  • What should remote workers wear?
  • For how many hours a day are they supposed to stay in work mode?

Recognizing Employees As Individuals

Staff don’t want to be regarded as nameless cogs in a big machine – they want to be acknowledged as individuals that bring value to a business. This individuality is something employers are starting to recognize, too.

Many organizations are beginning to bring more personalized benefits and online tools into the workplace. Rather than offering one benefits package, employers are creating a varied net with niche choices, such as pet insurance and tuition compensation.

In offering an extensive range of choices, this will suit the specific needs of employees, whatever their background, whatever their career stage.

Several companies are taking things up a notch by matching these benefits with unique online portals. Inside these portals, employees can evaluate their benefits, organize doctor appointments, and deal with other needs, tailored to them.

More Focus on Employee Mental Health

Following the angst and trauma of the current pandemic, employers will need to put more effort into concentrating on the mental health and general wellness of its staff.

One of the most common ways of introducing wellness to an organization is via holistic benefits, that tackle financial security and mental health. Granted, these plans will vary in the way they’re delivered, but essentially, it’s about providing workers with benefits that aid in enhancing their well-being, beyond regular health coverage.

After all, surely employees will be more interested in working for a company that provides holistic benefits than for one that doesn’t? Perhaps workers would also be more loyal to an organization that offers these benefits, not to mention, be more productive in their work and personal lives.

Flexible Working

Even before the coronavirus crisis struck, a shifting workplace environment was beginning to emerge. After working remotely for months, several employees may well be less than enthusiastic about returning to the regular office environment and working the nine-five shift.

Some companies may choose to be more flexible than others, but the general inclination is that workers aren’t needed in the office eight hours each day. A few organizations allow flexitime — enabling workers to leave early one day and make up the time another day while others merely let workers perform their job in their own hours every week, as long as they total 40.

While procedures will vary by company, the main objective is that workers require a little workplace flexibility when their personal lives need it. Something as simple as letting an employee work remotely every so often would suffice.

Whichever way you choose to handle flexibility in your business, chances are this will continue beyond 2020 and possibly expand its frequency as the popularity of remote working rises.

Ramp Up Employee Training

As well as wanting to be recognized on a personal level, employees also want to be valued on an individual level. Employers can think about showing their appreciation to staff through training them.

As well as helping workers feel appreciated, upskilling also helps fill knowledge gaps within an organization.

In fact, one of the main reasons why employees leave their companies is down to the inability to learn and grow. As such, an invaluable HR process would be to upskill employees and encourage them to grow internally to save staff looking to other businesses for career progression.

Beyond COVID-19

While these HR processes are advised, they may not necessarily work for every organization. But, in a post-COVID-19 landscape, where workers have to amend how they work, all HR teams should move towards a more personalized approach.

These HR proposals are worth keeping in mind when considering how your staff may gain from similar programs. Even if companies execute a smaller-scale adaptation of these processes, it may give them an advantage when it comes to employee productivity and self-confidence.

This article is part of a series called COVID-19 Coverage.
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