“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein
The COVID-19 outbreak has raised serious questions on organizations’ ability to handle a crisis effectively. Furthermore, it has also forced global companies to revisit their current HR practices. Safeguarding and ensuring employee safety while focussing on business continuity can be a daunting task for any global organization. This makes the best sense for HR functions, as it is deemed their responsibility to administer the safety and welfare of organizations’ biggest assets – their employees.
Even in today’s digital day and age, instead of enforcing immediate work from home measures, the HR manager is first piled up with questions around far more basic requirements of tracking time or managing leaves/absence and their ability to provide timely HR helpdesk support to their panic-stricken workforce.
In a time where technology has reached new heights if HR functions struggle to manage employee time and absence tracking, it is implied that the HR practices and processes in use are outdated and vulnerable. This impact intensifies due to the legacy platforms and the lack of a robust HR system.
As rightly said by Robert Schuller, “Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines”, every challenge brings an opportunity for us to further improve the practices and processes and make them future-ready. Furthermore, it is imperative that processes are in line with org-wide objectives and goals.
A lot has already been discussed and spoken about how to effectively manage employees who are working from home during the COVID-19 crisis. We have now fleshed out the top HR practices/must-haves that we firmly believe can act as a strong pillar and foundation to any HR function. These are the modern-day lessons for organizations – irrespective of geography, nature, or size, that can guide them to overcome any catastrophe caused by either internal or external factors.
LESSON 1: Adopt a Flexi-Work Policy
There is nothing better than allowing employees to work from a place where they feel the safest. Often organizations, due to the lack of right technology infrastructure, are compelled to either force their employees to come to their respective offices or work from the closest physical office. This leaves employees agitated and disappointed, thereby significantly impacting overall employee experience. As the Flexjobs’ annual survey indicates, ~30% of respondents said that they have left previous jobs they were not provided with an option to work from home.
However, administering a Flexi-work policy becomes possible only when you have a robust time and absence system in place that not only helps reduce the transactional burden to HR teams but also help monitor workforce productivity and provide accurate inputs to process payroll. Features like GPS tracking, automated clock-in & clock-out, and user-friendly mobile interfaces can help run organizations seamlessly.
LESSON 2: Create a well-defined Workforce Plan
Considered as an important strategic action, a well-defined workforce planning can help companies identify key resources to act as backups to ensure continuity in business activities. Organizations with a robust workforce plan that identifies current resource gaps and solutions to fill those gaps have a higher chance of establishing business continuity amid uncertainties.
Including a detailed workforce plan as part of the company’s Business Continuity Plan (BCP) can ensure the availability of the right resources at the right time. A workforce plan should be customized keeping in mind the nature and size of the business and should be communicated to all key resources with details on their roles and responsibilities during the time of need.
The same process should be followed for your partners or vendors, in case you are working with one or more of them.. Evaluating your partner’s workforce management ability and BCP should be a crucial criterion in selecting the partner. The same should be tested from time to time to closely monitor and evaluate the precision and speed at which the crisis is managed.
LESSON 3: Select and implement the right HR systems
An HR system can either make or break your HR function. There are still organizations that either prefer using excel sheets or are using legacy platforms for all their HR transactions. It is not enough to just decide on investing in any HR technology. Depending upon the nature and size of the organization, it is important to decide on factors like legacy vs. cloud, HR suite as a whole as opposed to a set of point-solutions, and then comes the most difficult part – ensuring user adoption.
Your ability to manage any crisis rapidly improves provided you have the right technology in place. Tools for processes like employee data management, absence, time, and HR service desk can help manage any scenario smoothly and continue to provide employee satisfaction, irrespective of their location or time. Hence, one of the biggest lessons to learn is to invest not just in any technology but the right technology infrastructure.
Every situation opens doors to learn and enhance our current HR processes/practices. This pandemic has opened one such door enabling organizations to embrace work-from-home in order to ensure the safety and welfare of their workforce. Global organizations that adopt the above-stated lessons and amend their current HR policies accordingly will benefit in the long run and ensure business continuity.
Are you looking to make your organization digital and thrive amidst uncertainties? You are just an email away. Get in touch with us and we will be happy to assist you.