In a nutshell, HR industry and Professionals are the generals who will lead our corporate armies to success.
While it might still be very early days, and there might be several hurdles to overcome, It is clear that India Inc is slowly yet surely beginning it’s journey to recovery. Today itself, there has been news of a company that has reversed their decision of salary cuts, and this itself is a sign of hope that they see.
As we all make our way back into building our businesses, reclaiming those sales revenues and business success, the role of HR will be more critical than ever. HR teams have worked hard during the lockdown to support business leaders and employees to get through the challenges of work from home, supported with enabling policies, learning opportunities, seamless and transparent communication, health and wellness support and so on. Now the HR team will play an even more critical role that will help business restart economic activity.
Some of the areas where HR will need to focus on-
1. Help business identify who needs to come back to work from office and who can continue work from home
This is an ideal time to make work from home a part of normal work life and benefit from the savings resulting from this. It will require revamping of policies and way of working, but some of them would have already happened during the lockdown.
2. For those who come back to work from office, ensure that office space is completely sanitised and norms of social distancing are maintained.
HR will need to work closely with administration and facilities teams to ensure deep sanitisation, implementation of testing methodologies at entry and exit, installation of air purifiers and making office self-sufficient in terms of pantry etc so that employees do not have to leave office boundaries while at work.
3. Upskilling, reskilling and building a workforce that is ready to take challenges head on-
This will be a time for HR to push L&D from good to do to a must to do in order to have competitive advantage. Having a resilient, motivated and competent workforce will differentiate between companies who succeed in making a successful comeback vs those that struggle.
4. Continue with transparent and empathetic communication through the different stages of recovery, the decisions that get taken, and continue to build an employer brand.
For those in the HR industry who support businesses from outside, it will be critical to help organisations and individuals recovers through the following-
1. Employee health and wellness during this entire crisis-
Not just physical, but emotional and mental and well, will be a focus area. Helping organisations implement medical assistance policies that cover all facets of employees’ health, covering family members and making wellbeing a part of every day life will be a critical support that will be needed.
There is a possibility that a large number of people might find themselves in need of jobs. The role of recruitment agencies would be not to just ensure that they help candidates find employment, but to ensure that such candidates are not squeezed for lower compensation by opportunistic employers.
3. Restructuring, reorganising and revisiting way of working around good cost and bad costs-
Help organisations answer questions like- how do I restructure so that I use the competencies and skills of my workforce to maximum business advantage. What are the overhead costs (Like real estate, international travel) that we can significantly cut down on and re-channelize the funds in building long term sustainable capability?
4. Help build capability suitable for the new reality-
Ability to handle crisis, uncertainty, ambiguity, maintain emotional resilience, learning new things- in the current VUCA world, building agility, nimbleness and a learning mindset will differentiate those who rise to the top from one time wonders.
In a nutshell, HR industry and Professionals are the generals who will lead our corporate armies to success. They will need to motivate, align, develop and lead with transparency, authenticity and fairness, be the right arm of business as we march forward
–Article by Sonica Aron, Managing Partner of Marching Sheep