What Hr Leaders Learned From Covid-19 And The Lessons They Are Taking Into The Future
The COVID-19 crisis has been harsh for professionals and organizations across the world. The pandemic prevented people from venturing out of their homes, leading to a sharp decline in the demand for all non-essential commodities. Moreover, organizations had no other option but to operate virtually. The companies lacking digital infrastructure suffered the most, with the management having to let go of some of the valuable employees to cut their costs.
Since the summer of 2020, organizations in all major industries have been suffering from the COVID-19 crisis and struggling to bring their businesses back on track. However, the last two years have taught companies several management lessons. A range of new tools, platforms, and approaches was introduced to help existing and new organizations to manage their operations and employees in the best way possible. Now that the crisis has subsided in most countries, companies are slowly getting back on track. The lessons learned during the pandemic have helped organizations make the most of their resources and achieve all their goals.
Of all the departments hampered by the COVID-19, HR has taken the maximum hit. As it became impossible for the HR professionals to interact with the employees physically, it became increasingly difficult for them to go ahead with their processes. HR managers also faced difficulties in providing seamless support to employees when the times were tough and physical interactions were impossible.
- Onboarding Remote Employees
Arguably, one of the biggest HR management issues arising due to the COVID crisis was that of onboarding remote employees. Without physical interactions, HR managers find it challenging to provide all the required resources to the new employees and ensure they are comfortable working in a new environment.
- Providing Personalized HR Support
The COVID crisis also affected the HR support provided to the employees. Excessive dependence on support agents made it difficult for organizations to provide personalized support to employees working remotely. The generic support provided by HR managers was hardly helpful for the employees in getting their issues resolved.
The COVID crisis brought effective communication and collaboration within an organization to an unexpected halt. This made it difficult for HR professionals to reach out to employees and communicate effectively. The lack of a centralized platform led to disorganized communication within organizations, adversely affecting HR processes.
- Lack Of Employee Engagement
All the challenges discussed above disrupted the cordial work environment within the organization. This lowered employee engagement as employees lacked the genuine drive to get up and go to work every day. Reduced employee engagement only added to the existing issues tackled by HR professionals.
- Ensuring Mental Well-being Of Employees
The COVID crisis had a significant impact on the mental well-being of employees working remotely. As they were required to work within the confines of their homes without having the freedom to venture out, the mental health of several professionals across the world started taking a hit. This made it essential for HR managers to help the employees deal with psychological issues and ensure that they are not overwhelmed by any action taken by their company.
Having been through a rough patch for almost two years, HR leaders have learned several valuable lessons from the COVID crisis. The adversities resulted in the invention of new approaches to work and the handling of HR processes. These learnings have helped organizations devise effective ways of providing seamless support to their employees and taking care of their individual needs, irrespective of the locations they work from.
Here are some of the most important lessons learned by HR leaders from COVID-19 that they would take with them into the future:
- Hybrid Workplaces Are The New Normal
While the trend of remote working was initially challenging to get used to for professionals, they slowly started getting used to it. Sectors like IT and eCommerce experienced an increase in employee productivity when the team worked remotely. Despite all the challenges, COVID made organizations worldwide realize that working from the comfort of one's home was never a bad idea.
Now that the COVID crisis has subsided and businesses have started reopening their offices, many employees across the board are still willing to work remotely. This has resulted in organizations resorting to setting up hybrid workplaces.
Hybrid workplaces involve a team of employees who can work remotely as well as on-premise. This approach provides employees with the freedom to choose how they are willing to work. A single department can have some employees coming to work every day in a hybrid workplace while others work remotely.
After the COVID situation, HR leaders have realized that this new work model is here to stay. Existing, as well as new companies, are taking initiatives to turn their organizations into hybrid workplaces.
- Collaborative Platforms Leverage Effective Communication
Online collaborative platforms have helped organizations survive the pandemic effectively. They provided HR professionals and employees with centralized platforms to communicate and collaborate. Platforms like Zoom, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and many more have allowed organizations to set up virtual workspaces without hampering their business processes.
Over the last two years, HR leaders have realized that collaborative platforms can be great communication tools for interacting with remote employees. With the increasing relevance of hybrid workplaces, these platforms would help the management ensure that everyone is on the same page. Now that the pandemic is almost over, online collaborative platforms are preferred by organizations for both on-premise and remote work.
- Personalized Employee Support Can Be Provided Via Modern Help Desks
Organizations have tackled the challenge of providing personalized HR support to their employees by implementing modern help desks. These help desks are powered by technologies like AI and machine learning to tailor the solutions based on your employees' specific needs and preferences.
Irrespective of the locations they work from, the modern HR help desks understand the context of the issues raised by them and provide them with personalized assistance by scanning your enterprise knowledge base. Conversational AI allows your employees to interact with AI chatbots that provide seamless primary support within a few seconds.
The AI-driven HR help desks help you reduce the dependency on support agents as the virtual assistants resolve most primary issues. Moreover, HR leaders can leverage the functionality of these help desks by integrating them with their collaborative platforms. This way, employees can avail themselves of quick and automated HR support without switching to a different platform. The help desks also automate the complicated ticketing system by allowing employees to create and track support tickets simply by initiating a chat on their respective collaborative platforms.
Whether they are catering to remote employees or working in a hybrid environment, HR leaders can leverage the support provided to employees with the help of modern help desks.
- Microlearning Is A Sustainable Way To Train Employees
As on-premise training was not possible during the COVID crisis, organizations often resorted to microlearning to train their employees in specific skills. Microlearning is a fairly modern approach to digital learning that involves consuming limited and bite-sized content daily.
Through microlearning, HR leaders and managers can provide the employees with all the necessary training resources on a centralized platform and access them remotely. These smaller chunks of content allow your employees to get trained in specific skills without taking up their work hours. Moreover, microlearning helps your employees retain more information as the learning model caters to their limited attention span. Microlearning has proved to be a more effective and economical way of training your employees instead of enrolling for a full-time course and spending several hours attending the training sessions.
Training your employees via microlearning allows them to become increasingly self-reliant as there are no external trainers involved. This leads to boosting their morale and confidence, further increasing their engagement.
- Mental-wellbeing Of Employees Is As Important As Their Physical Well-being
The catastrophic spell of COVID-19 has made HR leaders worldwide realize that it is essential to look after employees' mental health. Over the last two years, skilled professionals have lost their jobs, young graduates have faced difficulties securing decent jobs, and working professionals have struggled to find the ideal work-life balance.
Now that the end of the COVID crisis is near, organizations across all major industries are taking measures to give equal importance to their employees' mental and physical well-being.
The Final Word
These were some of the most important lessons taught by COVID-19 to HR leaders around the world. These lessons would help them streamline their HR processes and plan for a more productive future for their organizations.