The Covid-19 pandemic has created a climate of uncertainty and instability for almost everyone, and that includes business owners and managers. While trying to deal with the impact on their business, they’re also having to manage the effect of the pandemic on their staff.
People are adjusting to work at home, dealing with family crises, coping with losing loved ones. And all of this means that HR leaders are playing a role that is more important than ever before.
So, whether you handle your HR in-house or are looking to have it outsourced, here are five ways that HR can support business stability in an uncertain world.
Keep it simple
Adjusting to the ‘new normal’ requires rapid change to the way your business is run, and that includes people processes.
For instance, switching to the latest HR software can reduce paperwork and make HR processes more consistent and transparent. You can allow employees to securely access and update their own records, such as holiday requests and absentee records.
This removes some of the burden of administration tasks from line managers and increases feelings of trust and security for employees at a time when they may be feeling more insecure than ever.
Know where the business is heading
There has been unprecedented change over the last few months, and more is sure to come in the future. With such unexpected changes happening almost daily for businesses and organizations throughout the work, planning for the unexpected and making sure you have a plan to move forward is key.
It’s vital to have a clear picture of your organization’s strategy and values, as well as the potential threats and opportunities that lie ahead. This is especially true when considering your options with HR outsourcing. By being well-prepared today, this will allow your organization to adapt quickly to the unique challenges being faced whenever they may come.
We can’t predict the future, but we can make sure we adapt to it. Understanding where the business is heading will make it easier for you to deal with HR problems and plan for any necessary changes in HR policy.
Create a strong company culture
Almost every workforce has faced massive disruption during the Covid-19 pandemic. Some businesses have had to switch to home-working, while others have had to furlough staff.
All this upheaval can make it hard to keep your staff engaged and maintain a strong company culture. This is an area where HR leadership can have a big impact on business stability.
You need to be sure that that HR processes are still aligned with how the business is run on a day-to-day basis, and that staff feel clear about how they fit into the business going forward.
Creating a strong company culture will help staff to feel part of a team and keep them engaged with your business’s goals.
Help the business evolve
Rapid change can lead to feelings of insecurity, and it’s natural for people to talk about ‘how we’ve always done things’. But it’s important not to be held back by sentimentality if your business is to adapt quickly and effectively to the new environment.
Many organizations have found that increased homeworking has boosted employee engagement and productivity. HR managers can support this by helping to streamline processes that don’t fit into the way that the business is now run. However, it’s still important to choose the right people to hire when looking to fill different positions in a company, no matter if they are in-house or virtual.
Drawing on the collective intelligence of your organization can help new solutions to emerge. So formal team meetings and long email protocols might be replaced with new ways to collaborate that are more informal and less time-consuming.
Prepare for the future
Although there are positive signs of a way out of the pandemic, uncertainty and insecurity are likely to persist in the short to medium term. Both management and staff may feel concerned about what the future may hold in terms of business growth and job security.
More than ever, HR people could find themselves caught up in fire-fighting short-term problems. But it’s important to look beyond these at what needs to be done now to prepare for the future.
While the day to day operations of most businesses and organizations might be up in the air right now as we all adjust to these changes, it’s important to focus on the immediate HR challenges that lie ahead. And unlike other areas of your business, HR may still take up most of your time, but be sure to plan the strategies now that will help to support the business’ long-term goals.