We have to change to adapt to the new normal. In our previous pulse survey, we found out the key competencies required to survive the current pandemic.

With the onset of Covid-19, everyone was compelled to acknowledge that we cannot continue the way things were done before. We have to change to adapt to the new normal. In our previous pulse survey, we found out the key competencies required to survive the current pandemic. In our 2nd pulse survey, we focused on the priorities and policies that HR function should concentrate on to help organizations, as well as employees, navigate through the current crisis as we gradually exit the lockdown.

Here are the top 5 priorities for the HR function to adapt to the new normal which emerged from our 2nd pulse survey:

1. Focus on reskilling and upskilling employees to prepare them to work remotely: The workforce was forced to adapt to the crisis almost overnight. Work from home became prevalent with the imposed lockdown and social distancing norms. Companies had no choice but to prepare their employees for the new normal. And there is no looking back. WFH is going to stay, even though the lockdown will end soon. So preparing their employees to work remotely will become the top priority for HR functions across industries. Moreover, a new way of working will demand new competencies.

2. Focus on Digitization of people management processes and data: Embracing technology is not a trend anymore, it is more of a necessity. Today, HR is becoming a pioneer of change as it ensures the safety of its employees while also supports in the continuity of business and deliverables. Ensuring digitization of people processes will ensure that the employee life cycle at every stage is managed effectively even in a remote working setup. Managing people remotely, keeping them engaged and motivated and yet maintaining the flow of business is something HR functions will have to include in their forte.

3. Build a future-ready workforce by building behavioral competencies like resilience, psychological safety, agility, collaboration in employees: Apart from functional skills, key behavioral competencies need to be built in the workforce to help it cope with today’s challenging times. In the current remote working scenario competenicies like collaborative relationships within teams, with clients have become critical. Building Psychological safety, emotional resilience, and agility in teams are key for employees to survive the crisis and HR functions across industries have started to focus on building a future-ready workforce.

4. Leadership training on managing teams virtually: How the leader reacts to a crisis paves a way to effective leadership. Especially when organizations are facing the current pandemic, leadership needs to help their employees to navigate through the new normal. Keeping this in mind, HR will now have to focus more on training leadership on managing teams virtually. Preparing them to be open, empathetic and transparent will become very important going forward.

5. Focus on Employee Safety, Health & Wellness: With the impending uncertainties and lockdown measures gradually getting relaxed, HR will have a major role in taking care of employee physical well being in terms of their safety as they return to work. More stringent social distancing norms reduction in the number of employees allowed at one office, safe travel options are few aspects to be looked at.

Also, it is natural for the employees to feel stressed out and emotionally drained during such times. Hence, their mental wellbeing cannot be ignored.

Our Pulse Survey also revealed the top 3 policies, organizations are looking at revisiting in the new normal:

1. Work from Home Policy: Remote working or Work from home is here to stay in the post-COVID-19 days as many organizations are starting to see the benefits of lower infrastructure and travel costs for employees. Also, the flexibility to work from the comfort of home is both appealing and daunting. Hence, companies are updating their work from home policies to accommodate more number of employees working remotely, and to enable them to be productive.

2. Digitalization and IT Policy: With the organizations going virtual, a big emphasis is given on revising the IT policies and digitalizing its processes to help the employees with the infrastructures and tools to work remotely. Many organizations are also looking at adding IT allowances in the pay structure.

3. Rewards and Recognition Policy: With employees working virtually, the possibility for them to feel disengaged and demotivated is increasing. Also, making it difficult to gauge their performances virtually. This is leading to a shift in the way performance evaluations are done post-COVID crisis. The value of rewards and recognition is increasing in remote working as it’ll help employees feel heard, included and also improve their engagement. Using technology to have more face to face conversations, giving recognition for different behaviors and actions, sending appreciation mails are few ways in which these changes can be incorporated.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors’ and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house