The coronavirus pandemic has altered the world quicker and more significantly than any of us could have ever predicted. At the end of 2019, the landscape of human resource management was severely different. The more visionary business leaders were deep in the throes of shaping their own company cultures. The goal was to retain the best employees and attract valuable new talent. Simultaneously, small businesses were attempting to stay relevant in the race for top talent and fulfill their other goals. However, all of this was changed once COVID-19 spread beyond Wuhan and China.
During March, the executive of small companies drastically altered their HR plans. Namely, a huge majority of them decided to halt any plans for hiring new talent immediately. The percentage of CEOs willing to consider new hires for non-essential positions continued to drop through April and beyond. This is only understandable, seeing as all metrics pointed towards the workforce decreases in the following period. Most consumer-facing companies that aren’t online vendors faced severe revenue drops, and small businesses were forced to make reductions in their workforce instead of thinking about new employees.
Another big change that’s happened in the past six months is the switch to remote positions for practically every employee who works on a computer and doesn’t need to be physically present to perform their job role. From being something that a fringe population of the workforce does on occasion, remote work has become the new norm. This rapidly changing business reality has forced human resource managers to think about their plans for the future. How will HR experts tackle the new challenges brought by the succeeding waves of the coronavirus before a reliable vaccine is found? And perhaps even more importantly — how will the world of HR look in the future? We will try to predict a couple of trends here below.
Adapting To Remote Work
In the previous six months, many nations have ushered in urgent legislation designed to tackle the health risks of the coronavirus pandemic. While different countries implemented a variety of solutions, there are some protocols that almost everyone has enacted at some point or another. Most notably, this is true for social distancing. The need to avoid large gatherings has pushed a majority of companies to consider remote work for their employees. Human resource managers who did not have policies for remote work in place had to develop them quickly; meaning that many solutions in this sphere are not perfect and fully tested.
In the future, HR teams will have to find the best possible technology for long-distance communication. While this will obviously still be done over the Internet, the demand for the most efficient telecommunication software has risen in the past year. Choosing the right solutions in this niche will allow HR executives to establish the proper communication channels as fast as possible. Also, maintaining the previous levels of productivity and accountability for actions in the workplace may be a challenge for entire companies that switch to remote work.
In the future, business leaders and HR managers will have to make a bigger effort to touch base with their workforce. If they want to reinforce positive messages, rewards good behavior and initiative, and set firm expectations for the future — remote communication will have to be more intensive. Leaving employees to draw vague conclusions on where the company is headed is never good; in a stressful environment — such as a global pandemic — people tend to be pessimistic. This hurts morale and the credibility of management.
With all of this in mind, establishing a firm routine is essential in regards to proper communication. While having daily meetings with leaders and other levels of management may seem superfluous and time-consuming — it’s actually necessary. Employees who are working from home need to have the feeling that they belong to a corporate collective.
Attracting New Talent
In order to keep attracting new talent to their company in the post-COVID-19 era, human resource experts and company management will have to continue working on bettering the company culture. Essentially, this culture is the company’s internal brand. It’s what gets new people to join, and what keeps the older employees satisfied. With that in mind, HR specialists will have to examine what their company culture currently is, and where improvements can be made. For example, asking the top performers about what they like and dislike about the company is not a bad idea. This is a great tactic to increase their incentive levels, but also to attract new A-players.
Getting Rid of Toxic Employees
We all know the difference between responsible people in the workplace and those who are simply disinterested and keep slacking off. And if the latter is also a toxic type of personality — these will definitely be the people to get rid of, even in a post-pandemic workplace. Once the culture and the values of the company are cemented, identifying the toxic employees won’t be that difficult. All it will take is a comparative analysis between the values and goals of the company and the behavior and job performance of individual employees. Those that don’t fit in will stand out.
This is something that would happen even without COVID-19. What’s changed now is the fact that the remote working situation may continue indefinitely in some companies. Because of this, discerning between positive and negative employee behavior will require different strategies and tactics than those used in the physical workplace.
As you can see, the post-pandemic human resource managers will have to go through an adjustment period. The essence of their job role will not change — but the standards and practices they enact and enforce in the workplace will have to be altered to fit the new reality. In most cases, remote working conditions are what will drive these changes. We hope that this guide was useful to you and that you’ve learned something new. Stay safe and have a good one, guys!