The year 2020 was a difficult time for every industry. Business leaders have had to wonder if their companies could even survive the storm of this global pandemic.
When the novelty of working at home was implemented, psychological problems such as loneliness, anxiety, and stress took over many people due to prolonged isolation. In such a scenario, the role of HR managers became critical more than ever.
HR managers across all the sectors of every industry implemented several changes, which in turn helped companies to keep their employees safe and informed, maintain social distancing, quell fears and limit disruptions to company operations.
They have been at the forefront to tackle this pandemic, and they have taken new roles and responsibilities to guide employees and organizational leadership through the changes brought on by this pandemic.
In this blog, we will tell you the top three changes that happened in HR roles and responsibilities during the pandemic. Let’s dive in.
1. They were Emotionally Independent
After the outbreak of COVID-19, the business world went through an unprecedented series of changes. The sudden transformation in the work model put every working individual in a place where they had no idea what to do.
This even led to job insecurity among employees triggering depression, anxiety, and more. As a result, employee productivity and engagement saw a drastic decline across industries.
This was the time when HR managers took a step ahead and decided to prioritize emotional intelligence.
And, they were successful in developing this skill by patient listening, promoting open communication, and empowering employees in their journeys.
2. They were Ambitious
We can find two kinds of people in every field- the hustlers and the settlers. Although people who make peace with what they have and know how to be satisfied with it are the best example of survival, the hustlers are always eager to learn new things and grow.
Now, when an individual is ambitious, s/he can acquire excellent results along the way. This was the second skill HR managers developed last year.
They even helped other employees to develop this skill as well. And, being ambitious helped a number of HR professionals to motivate and drive the performance of their workforce tremendously.
3. They Were Collaborators
The global COVID-19 pandemic also brought out a splendid side of HR managers.
We all know that an HR executive has always been the head of a company who managed all administrative operations on their own. But, during the pandemic, they got an opportunity to be a collaborator, which is the third skill they developed lately.
Today, HR leaders are no longer limited to people and routine operations. On the contrary, they are now taking part in decision-making related to utilities, cost, profit, and several other organizational functions.
In addition, they even have a big role in maintaining engagement among remote employees. In companies, the role of human resources is now of strategic importance. With their activities, HR managers can increase motivation, thereby enhancing the quality of work-life balance for the employees.
The Role of Technology
As mentioned earlier, the HR department has always been the heart of every organization. HR professionals are the people-friendly ones, who know how to manage the workflow of the company by making sure that every individual is productive and the company’s policies are updated on a regular basis.
For the longest time, this role normally involved carrying out important tasks such as attendance, payroll management, etc, and in-person interactions with employees throughout the day.
Over time, the sphere of human resources has evolved from being limited to administration, to have a larger impact on the employee engagement and the company’s overall growth.
Now, technology has a huge part in this transformation. The influence of technology has not just brought changes but also has made HR a vital enabler for any workplace.
According to a recent study, about 75 percent of the HRs around the world use technologies such as HR systems and online payroll software efficiently.
The fortunate partnership of technology and human resources during the pandemic reaped a number of advantageous results such as effective performance management, payroll processing, attendance tracking, and recruitment assessments.
Most importantly, the integration of automated software within HR teams has also given rise to smart HR programs as well as effective leadership.
That said, let’s move forward and learn how companies blended technology into human resources in 2020:
- Embraced Automation- HR executives were able to automate and streamline time-consuming operations in just a few clicks.
This in turn helped HRs to concentrate on other strategic tasks of their businesses.
- Promote Robust Communication- Automated HR systems played a key role in effecting seamless communication among remote workforces through chatbots and video-conferencing tools.
Chatbots helped companies to make communication collaborative as well as informal. With the help of chatbots, HR professionals effectively conveyed their objectives to employees and helped them feel connected to each other.
- Ensure Compliance- Online payroll software helped organizations in India to stay compliant with the latest laws and regulations during this pandemic.
Since such systems send automated alerts to HRs in a timely manner, businesses were able to easily meet every legal requirement and prevent non-compliance in this crisis time.
How Do Technology Helped HR Managers During Role Transformation
Working from home has become normal now. But, a few months back, it was a completely new concept for many of us.
At that point, a key challenge before HR departments was to leverage smart technology to create inclusive online work setups to ensure productivity and improve the remote employee experience.
Employers had no other option but to provide their HRs and employees with digital tools to ensure that there are no communication gaps.
While the roles and responsibilities of HR managers were going through major changes, here is how technological advancements have supported those changes:
- It Provided Scalability to Meet Employee Needs: When HR professionals were trying their level best to handle a distributed workforce in a challenging business environment, cloud-based HR software offered scalability and flexibility to them.
This helped HR managers to easily take a proactive lead in strengthening employee trust as well as maintain team relationships during pandemics.
- It Redesigned Employee Experience: After the implementation of the remote work model, homes were reorganized to accommodate the home office.
As a result, the overlap between work and personal lives increased like never before. While working remotely required fundamental changes in the employee attribute such as higher empathy, the model also called for various policy changes.
This was made possible with the help of cloud-based digital tools. Such systems provided the necessary infrastructure to HR managers to deliver a good experience to employees.
In essence, when companies invested in the right technologies, HR managers were able to prioritize and enhance engagement and experience along the way.
- It Provided Seamless Collaboration for Increased Efficiency: One of the primary challenges to the adoption of remote working was the inability of dispersed workforces to communicate and collaborate seamlessly.
This not just impacted their productivity and utilization but also harmed many organizational cultures. However, HR managers were fortunate as the right technologies and tools helped them to solve this problem.
They were able to ensure higher productivity due to cloud-based HR software tools. Such systems offered a far superior, interactive, and immersive experience that aided teams to function exceptionally even in a virtual environment.
- It Provided Both security & access: While working from homes, employee access to data became acutely critical especially, for organizations that deal with sensitive data.
Business leaders faced the challenge to find a balance between access and security. This was again a challenging task for HR professionals.
However, technology came as a ray of light for such companies. HR and payroll software provided a centralized platform that enabled employees to perform various work-related tasks in a single window located within the extended security perimeter.
Since it is predicted that the future belongs to the hybrid work model, technologies such as HR systems, online payroll software will play a significant role in facilitating workplace transformation and supporting HR managers to build a smart workplace.
5 Key Areas Every HR Manager Should Work On
The changes in HR roles and responsibilities are commendable but there are some softer areas that every HR manager should work towards in 2021:
- Training mindset: The future HR role is all about acting as trainers. That means HR managers should guide and help employees as well as managers to become better leaders.
- Relationship-building: A successful coaching intervention stems from a strong and healthy relationship. Taking this into account, HR managers must learn to build trust among employees.
- Agility: Responsiveness and readiness towards changing business needs are necessary to navigate new situations.
- Learning: Continuous learning is a must-have attitude for HR managers to accept and respond to new business needs.
- Curiosity: HR managers should have a watchful and curious attitude to stay updated about the trends.
3 ways Covid-19 will continue to Impact and Change HR
Many companies are going through a lot of changes during this Coronavirus Pandemic. Here are 3 things that HR's should anticipate after the Covid-19 Pandemic is over
1. Employee Appreciation will be done differently
It is difficult for employees to work in their homes without any sort of interaction with their colleagues. Work from home can be isolating and a disorienting experience who are used to seeing their peers everyday.
The impact on employees working from home has been different for each. This is why employers need to show their gratitude differently.
Whether that includes virtual meetings, or sending gift cards, or giving them perks of any sort, you need to choose how you can show appreciation of their work.
2. Recruitment and Hiring will gain momentum
Many analysts made the prediction that remote hiring and recruiting will come into the picture before the pandemic itself. They were right since many HR experienced a lot of benefits after they started the recruitment process remotely.
Because of the current crisis, the HR team has been recruiting online thus realizing the advantages of it. There are no travel arrangement hassles and they can carry the process with candidates outside the immediate area.
Resource allocation in such cases is properly identified and assigned resulting in zero waste.
3. More Training of the Employees
In this current situation, the employees are being told o work from home to follow the safety protocols. HR in such cases deem it necessary to carry out safety practice sessions online and seminars on how to stay productive.
Regular training session for the entire employees is important to make sure they know how to cope with the new working environment.
As an HR you cannot remove all the obstacles. But you can try to give your employees insight on how to relieve the stresses they feel. A positive employee behavior is crucial for the success of any organization.
That is it.
The pandemic has, undoubtedly, placed a huge burden on HR managers but most of them have responded exceptionally well due to the changes in HR roles and responsibilities.
These changes are surely going to help companies to strike out a new path to achieve excellence in the coming times.
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Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Qs)
1. What are the 5 ways to make sure that the employees stay productive?
With the remote working becoming the "new normal", HR professionals have been looking for ways to make sure that their employees stay productive even while working from home.
So here are 5 ways you can use to make sure your employees are always on track
- Focus on your employees' health, well-being and safety
- Build a business plan to continue
- Social Distance should not mean employees are not "social"
- Two way communication and listening to the feedback of employees.
- Ease in cross-functional collaboration.
2. How can we prepare the workforce for the post pandemic world?
During the pandemic all of us learned to cope.
Post the pandemic we need to learn to thrive.
Employees need new capabilities to face the future of digital market. Companies need a new set of skills for their employees. Talent management will be the highest if the current employees in any company our given the training first priority.
It’s time for companies to strategize talent development and identify the most effective options, including digital learning and in-person workshops.