With the drastic changes in the workplace brought about by COVID-19, Human Resource (HR) teams have played a critical role in maintaining business continuity, driving ongoing transformation in the workplace, and supporting staffing decisions. The business terrain is not as it was at the beginning of the year, businesses have had to adjust and readjust as new changes emerge.
There are three phases in any crisis; the response phase, the recovery phase, and the thriving phase. In the response phase HR teams across companies adjusted to employees working from home, mental wellness needs among many others. HR has played a key role in maintaining business continuity, driving ongoing transformation in the workplace, and supporting staffing decisions. The next step is the recovery phase whereby HR teams are planning for the return to work. HR is now focusing on the future in terms of reassessing succession plans as we are all susceptible to Covid-19, drafting contingency plans, employment contracts, and sick leave among others. The final phase of the crisis will be thriving post-pandemic which will kick in when organizations have fully recovered and completely adapted to the new normal. The new normal may mean the workplace being a place used for bonding more than for productivity.
Speaking during a webinar hosted by Strathmore University Business School, Mr. Edward Mungai, Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) noted that there has been increased employee productivity in his organization as employees took to working remotely. He added that HR is on the frontline and that top management must acknowledge HR teams as front liners in driving employee productivity.
Emma Crompton, a Human Resources Consultant explained that HR leadership post-pandemic needs to focus more on employee experience; the perception they have, the recruiting process, and generally how the organization treats employees. “The well- being of employees, enacting health and safety measures like social distancing protocols to control the spread of the virus, work-at-home policies, financial wellness, and social wellness are among the things that HR leadership needs to look into post-COVID,” she said.
For HR leadership to see their companies through the pandemic, their teams need to make significant efforts to maintain business continuity, drive transformation and ensure the right people are in the right locations to help their companies fulfill their mission, whether that location is at home working remotely or on the front lines delivering essential services.
Human Resource teams play critical roles in developing, reinforcing, and changing the culture of an organisation. The post-pandemic workplace will add new changes to the workplace culture and HR needs to be in the front-line in reinforcing the ‘new normal’ culture.
Article by Maureen Bundi
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