The world has been taken aback by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the previous year was characterized by shutdowns and lockdowns, this year seems no different. Offices continue to function in the virtual mode. Thanks to technological innovations, businesses have sustained the devastating impacts of the pandemic. However, the pandemic does bring a host of organizational challenges. As a human resources manager, you have new hurdles to overcome and ensure the smooth functioning of the workforce.
It is undeniable that the pandemic is testing everyone’s character beyond limits. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on jobs is for real. The new workplace challenges coupled with the pandemic stress can be a major offset. But you know what true leaders are made of? They have this spectacular ability to shine brighter amidst crisis. In this blog, we look at the major HR challenges brought by the pandemic. But we believe in laying greater emphasis on solutions than the problems. So, there is also a way out to overcome each challenge. Let us get going without much ado!
- Sustaining employee engagement
Fostering positive employee engagement and keeping it consistent is one of the key roles of HR professionals. Hence, you look forward to evolving new strategies and finding unique ideas to stimulate higher engagement. However, now when employees are working from home, having everyone engaged with the same motivation has become a challenge. You can monitor engagement levels better when employees are present in a physical workplace. Doing the same in a culture of remote working becomes quite a challenge. Driving higher engagement in remote employees and keeping it persistent is far more difficult. To substantiate, Gallup concludes that the engagement in remote workers is not more than 30 percent.
How to overcome the issue
Modern problems require modern solutions, isn’t it? You have to redefine your employee engagement strategies to get the best out of your remote workers. This includes virtual team-building activities, finding ways to recognize remote workers, and addressing employees’ problems. For instance, some workers may find it difficult to use video conferencing platforms. Besides, some may find it challenging to manage the mounting stress in remote working or unplugging after work. Due to these possible reasons, their engagement may be declining. You can identify all these issues by maintaining consistent communication. The fact that communication is the key becomes even more important in virtual setups.
- Hiring the right talents
Hiring top-notch talents is one of your top priorities as an HR manager. Your aim is to bolster the organization by hiring employees who can blend into the cultural fit. As per a report by SHRM, a massive surge in employee turnover is anticipated on the other side of the pandemic. So, organizations should look to invest in new talents now and prepare them for the future. But hiring in the absence of in-person interviews can be dicey. It is difficult to evaluate a candidate through a remote interview, as is the case in the ongoing pandemic. This increases the possibility of hiring people who can be a misfit in the organization. The pandemic has made the recognition of ideal candidates a bit too difficult for you, isn’t it?
How to overcome the issue
You ought to have a different set of hiring practices altogether for remote interviews. Also, in times of the pandemic, experts suggest that you prioritize candidate experience. The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked anxiety, apprehensions, and profound stress in people. Addressing these issues and being empathetic might make them feel comfortable. Once they are comfortable, they will express themselves in a more honest and free manner. This is where you stand a great chance to evaluate them in a wholesome way. Besides, send the norms of the remote interview to them beforehand. Evaluate them for their compliance to pre-defined guidelines as a measure of their sincerity. Also, you need to assess their technological proficiency to judge productivity in remote working. At last, ask them for their opinions by smartly mentioning company core values.
- Keeping the work environment positive
Because the workplace has gone virtual, it does not mean that we can ignore the need to keep the work environment positive. The working atmosphere should stay positive even during remote working. But how can employees be positive when there is so much negativity and panic around them? Positivity is the key the performance, and productivity is the fact that you know the best. A positive work environment is defined by confident employees, a sense of direction, low absenteeism, and high morale. Keeping your workforce healthy is also your responsibility. But to keep these driving forces going in the middle of a lethal pandemic is troublesome.
How to overcome the issue
You may have to put in some extra effort to absorb the negativity from the working environment. Issue covid advisories and launch hygiene training modules for employees attending the office. Create a system of regular cleaning and disinfection of the workplace to make employees feel safe. For remote employees, offer flexibility to maintain a work-life balance. Share positive news and company updates with them regularly. Besides, involve them in workplace discussions and celebrate your people. The sense of belonging and employee feels adds to positive outcomes in multiple ways. Irrespective of whether your employees are working from home or in the office, you need to invest in positivity. There is a possibility that some of them might have lost someone dear to them in this pandemic. So, the negativity may seem too large to overcome. But you need to be a more optimistic leader and radiate positivity.
To conclude, the nature of HR challenges posed by the pandemic may be complex. But with flexibility and adaptability, you can confront these challenges and prevent them from affecting the organization. You have to step into leadership roles and keep everyone going in these challenging times. These challenges may seem too colossal, but they are not larger than your conviction. People management is always complicated, and that is why human resource management is not everyone’s cup of tea. You already know how to manage your human capital excellently. Back yourself, be innovative enough, and problems will seem much smaller.