When it comes to Human Resources Management, it all boils down to one thought of having the right mix of motivated employees having to deliver their best in any circumstance. However, the enormity of this statement came into focus when the Covid-19 pandemic hit countries across the globe. Amongst the many uncertainties which this phase is putting into our lives, employee performance is a prominent one.
Despite being a part of one of the most affected industries, we chose to look at Covid-19 as an opportunity to reconfigure our future strategies and probe into fast-tracking trends like automation, digitalization, and future proof innovations.
Companies are at crossroads, those that quickly accustom themselves with the evolving dynamics will make the cut in the post Covid world. While the laggards will crumble, exposing their employees to increased risk of financial distress, layoffs, and closures.
So what priorities should be on an HR’s radar . . .
If employees are taught how to build a learning mindset, it will prepare them well for dealing with a constantly, even sometimes abruptly, changing environment.The quick adoption of new, advanced technology is the central catalyst and is likely to lead to an acceleration in the creation of new roles. Changes in workload during the pandemic have sometimes resulted in an imbalance of resource allocation. Reskilling and upskilling can help employees move from one part of the business to another.
Now that the market has been undetermined, it is important for us to move from being specialist to generalist. So as part of the HR strategy, creating specialist as well as generalist training programmes for employees will help closing the skill gap that Covid-19 has surfaced.
Strengthening trust and maintaining transparency
In turbulent times like these where the news is all about organisations cutting down on costs, sacking people, salary cuts etc. it is natural for an employee to feel restless and anxious. So apart from regular communication, it is imperative to listen to the sentiments through surveys and put the negatives ones to rest. This helps in building trust and eventually boosts productivity.
The coronavirus pandemic has led to sweeping changes and disruptions in nearly every aspect of daily life. With mandates and guidelines changing all the time, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by our own anxieties. It is important to practice empathy during this time, not only for others but for yourself as well.
Building cognitive empathy helps us make educated guesses. We often misinterpret physical movements and facial expressions; a smile can mean joy or exuberance, but many a times it can also signal sadness. So, before you engage with another person, consider what you know about them, and be willing to learn. And during such times when you are not physically present to experience how the other person feels it becomes very crucial that you talk to the other person with cognitive empathy and try to be in their shoes before we build assumptions about their change in behavior or temperament.
Few Steps which you can follow while building Empathy with your employees:
- Stay Connected
- Be Aware
- Be a good listener
- Be Kind
- Be Considerate
Mental health problems affect many employees — a fact that is usually overlooked because these disorders tend to be hidden at the workplace.
Poor mental health and stress can negatively affect an employee’s–
- Job performance and productivity
- Engagement with one’s work
- Communication with coworkers
- Physical capability and daily functioning
Mental illnesses such as depression are associated with higher rates of disability and unemployment
- Depression interferes with a person’s ability to complete physical job tasks about 20% of the time and reduces cognitive performance about 35% of the time.
- Only 57% of employees who report moderate depression and 40% of those who report severe depression receive treatment to control depression symptoms.
Looking at the effects of Mental Health, it is our responsibility to take good care of our employee’s mental health by educating employees on self-awareness and urging managers to empathize with their teams. Apart from this, timely sessions on Yoga and meditation could be apart of the wellness program.
Ensure undisrupted workflow
Automation and digitalization are the key drivers for any business today. With the new and restructured workforce, companies are also looking to digitize the workplace and automating various processes and workflows to increase efficiency. Thus, HR solutions for automated employee onboarding, automated helpdesk, and productivity tools, along with communication and collaboration tools, are gaining toehold in the market. For instance, the adoption of Microsoft Teams and Zoom have dramatically increased, and the uptake will continue.
Hosting online meetings and presentations is the new normal. Though people have faced difficulties getting the process right initially, today 4 months into the lockdown it has become a common phenomenon. I guess the phrase, “The show must go on” was invented during tough times like these.
Authored article by Karishma Khedekar, HRBP – Posterscope Group