Four Ways COVID-19 is Reshaping HR

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend the entire world. Infection rates decline and surge, and official regulations change frequently. Organizations are doing their best to be agile and adapt quickly to succeed in the post-pandemic landscape. This includes HR teams who, well before the public health crisis, had to roll out fundamental workforce changes. With the help of our friends at HR360, we came up with four ways COVID-19 is reshaping HR and how HR departments can adapt to these new challenges.

1. More Mental Health Benefits

Even as a business reopens its doors, employees may still be grappling with mental health issues that can impact their performance. Also, workers who continued to work during the pandemic may be suffering from mental health issues causing burn out. According to a poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 45 percent of U.S. adults reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over COVID-19.

As a result, many employers are working to reduce the mental health burden of employees. This includes offering mental health benefits, including counseling and access to health professionals as well as enhanced employee assistance programming (EAP). Other accommodations include offering flexible scheduling, reduced work hours or other holistic approaches.

2. Greater Remote Working Opportunities

When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit in record numbers, nonessential businesses shuttered and only organizations with some remote-capable workers were able to maintain operations. As a result, business leaders allowed employees to continue working remotely after the coronavirus pandemic eases. According to an April 2020 Gallup Poll, 62 percent of employed Americans currently say they have worked from home during the crisis. In addition, 59 percent of U.S. workers said they would prefer to work remotely as much as possible if their employer left it up to them as public health restrictions are lifted.

For employers, it’s a good idea to consider whether there are areas where they can expand their own remote-working roles. If a workplace must close suddenly, having at least a portion of employees that can work from home enables adaptability. Overall, this could help reduce costs, especially if it allows a business to reduce its office footprint and pay a smaller lease.

3. Virtual Training Solutions

Virtual training can be a great way for employers to maximize virtual capabilities. Employee training can be conducted online, through an app or some other virtual platform. For employers with a remote workforce, or even no remote workforce, virtual training makes sense. It reduces face-to-face interaction, which is important while there are social distancing protocols in place, and it can save money and help learning retention.

4. Reskilled Workforces

According to McKinsey & Company, “now is the time for companies to double down on their learning budgets and commit to reskilling.” Indeed, worker reskilling is possibly the most significant way COVID-19 is reshaping HR at the moment. Employees need to learn brand new processes, workflows and standards in order to function in a post-pandemic workplace. Such measures include, but are not limited to, stricter hand-washing guidelines, social distancing protocols and updated customer-interaction policies.

Some employers, including larger corporations like Amazon or AT&T, are going beyond health protocols, instead opting for a holistic approach to training. They are investing in training solutions to ensure a more dynamic, capable workforce. These training efforts may include developing social skills, resiliency, critical thinking and other soft skills. Overall, by improving these qualities, employers are investing in their workers and, ultimately, providing a better overall product.

These are just four ways that COVID-19 is reshaping HR. If you want to discuss workplace strategies that can help keep you ahead of the curve, contact Rose & Kiernan, Inc. here or by calling 800-242-2433.

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