With offices moving to home, HR teams had a huge onus to restructure existing-working strategies and ensure that employees stay connected, engaged, motivated and productive during the large-scale shift.
By Malcolm Dsouza,
The ongoing pandemic has pushed business leaders to rethink and rediscover their sense of purpose. With offices moving to home, HR teams had a huge onus to restructure existing-working strategies and ensure that employees stay connected, engaged, motivated and productive during the large-scale shift.
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While we are already aware of the “new normal” transitions, we can’t ignore the fact that this sudden shift has also sparked innovation in businesses. By leveraging technologies, HR leaders have not only made this transition smooth and seamless for employees but also helped them stay safe, fit and result-oriented in their new home-office setup.
Against this backdrop, here are some innovative HR practices that both new-age and established corporates have adopted to run successfully in the new world order:
Look after your mental health!
WFH has been the safest approach adopted by companies to continue their operations amidst the pandemic. However, in many cases, it has also led to increased stress as employees had to balance both office deadlines and home chores. Frequent burnouts have had an adverse effect on employees’ mental wellbeing, preventing them from contributing meaningfully to their personal and professional lives.
According to a survey, work-related stress from WFH has affected the personal lives of 59% of men and 56% of women. To address this problem, several companies have partnered with healthcare experts to provide employees with timely assistance if they are going through emotional traumas. All they have to do is connect with an expert via the EAP toll-free Helpline number and get instant help for free.
Upskilling is the new necessity!
One of the biggest pandemic repercussions so far is job layoffs & salary reductions. While employees are struggling to prove their capabilities, numerous companies have come forward to reskill and upskill their workforce. The increasing adoption of mentorship programs by leaders for driving self-development and helping employees gain competitive skill-sets, as a measure to bridge the talent-skill gap is a testimony.
These learning initiatives include both hard skills and soft skills such as leadership, communication, team management, problem-solving, and logical thinking, among others. Not only have these support programs helped employees upgrade their existing abilities in line with the evolving market demand but have also bolstered collaboration, diversity, equality and inclusion within the organization.
Financial backing is equally important!
The ongoing pandemic has also engendered financial hardships to a major part of the world population, making it difficult for people to manage even their daily expenses. Hence, to offer financial support during these hard times, various companies have created cash grants for employees that are based on specific events like loss of household income, housing damage, fire, illness, etc.
For instance, Edwards Lifesciences has started providing employees in all their global locations with grants ranging from $500 to $4,000 through application depending on any adverse event and the employees’ place of residence. Employers are also offering life insurance covers with corporate buffers to help employees with additional funds in case they exceed their insurance coverage limit. Other measures include vaccine reimbursement, bereavement leaves, ensuring no salary cuts, hiring more candidates, etc.
Stay engaged, stay motivated!
While the pandemic has put a full stop to our social lives, by restricting us to Zoom and MS Teams meetings, it has become essential for leaders to keep employees connected and engaged across all levels. Ensuring that the employee and employer remain intact and inclined towards a common goal, companies have come up with various engagement initiatives.
For instance, organizing virtual contests around various topics such as fitness, talent, comedy, and much more. These programs play a pivotal role in building and strengthening the relationship between colleagues, and keeping them entertained as well as competitive at the same time. After all, healthy competition can genuinely motivate employees to perform better and excel in their respective domains.
As we advance in the post-COVID era, companies must continue to focus on health, prevention, nutrition, community service, finance and education. These factors will decide whether a company would thrive or perish. Moreover, there is another aspect that leaders should keep in mind – women empowerment – to stand out from the pack. Supporting women employees to reach leadership positions should be a top priority in an organization’s agenda. These are some of the key takeaways that leaders must consider while ushering in the new normal, without which, they would be a thing of the past, sooner or later.
(The author is Head – Human Resource, Edwards Lifesciences (India) Private Limited. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)