We are entering the new year with trepidation and anticipation of the third Covid-19 wave, which comes as no surprise given that experts have already warned us that the COVID-19 3rd wave pandemic is on its way. Only a few months ago, most businesses announced that they would be welcoming their employees back to work, but the threat of the third wave of COVID has changed everything.
According to CMIE, the COVID-19 2nd wave resulted in the loss of 10 million jobs and a 97 percent decrease in household income. We must use our previous experience to design a more sustainable future workplace this time by implementing better company policies/strategies that can fuel energy between business and people.
HR interventions are required to keep business processes running smoothly amid the threat of a third wave of the corona pandemic. We will discuss a few strategies that can help institutions survive in the face of this threat.
As we say, precaution is better than cure, so preparing adhoc situation policies in advance will help your business and people to understand the need and purpose to implement them.
Digitization of HR Process
HR can move towards digitization in the HR process with the help of the IT department. This transformation aids in evaluating employee performance, managing their virtual clocking in and out, tracking their daily performance by accessing their laptop/computer usage, monitoring their communications via official emails, and many other activities.
Digitization allows data to be stored in the cloud, which reduces paperwork and manual intervention, saving time and energy that can be put to better use. The stored data enables management to generate any required report and statistics in order to understand the pulse of the business and people, based on their current interests and needs.
HR Distractions are reduced as a result of digitization, and people are more focused on their work. Employees can view their attendance, pay-check information, performance-related reports, the status of escalated issues, and the status of any queries they have raised, among other things.
This platform can assist employees in keeping up to date with the most recent information about them issued by the HR department on their own. Using meeting tools such as MS-Office Team, Zoom, or Google Meet can help your employees more effective in front of the camera, which can help them face their client in the absence of their immediate manager, as most people are afraid of facing the camera, even if they know everything there is to know about the topic they can discuss, but they do not take initiative because they are afraid of facing the camera. It also saves time by sending out updates and meeting reminders.
HR digitization, on the other hand, aids organisations in evaluating internal people and business functions that support overall business operations.
People who work for a company must feel safe and secure. Employee well-being extends beyond Mediclaim policies for self and family, as well as approving adhoc leaves. Employee well-being-conscious companies ensure that all of their workers are treated with empathy and respect.
Employee wellbeing is a right that every employee in any organisation has, and this line should be a statement that every organisation is committed to fostering policies that prioritise physical health, mental health, emotional support, financial stability, social wellbeing, and intellectual growth, and that they are not willing to compromise in any way.
Virtual Sexual Harassment (VSH) is concerning, according to Ms. Shivani Saxena, Lecturer at the International Polytechnic for Women in Delhi, because it is harder to detect because it occurs online.
Use of abusive slang, personal comments on any female employee, or dual meaning words during meetings, whether one-on-one or in groups, wearing inappropriate garments like shorts and vest, late-night video calls, texting/calling on personal number, making fun of someone’s dressing style, and so on should all be covered by POSH policies.
To educate employees, the company should organise training sessions on work-from-home culture, which will help people understand how to react in diverse circumstances. Leaders are responsible for following and ensuring compliance with the rules so that people can follow them down the line.
The IT team can assist the HR department in tracking such communications via the official device provided to employees or in reviewing any
incidents that occur during one-on-one or group meetings. The documentation of such incidents may aid HR in analysing WFH culture in the workplace and preventing virtual sexual harassment.
Demonstration of top leadership quality
Working remotely used to be an option for many people, but it has now become a necessity. When it comes to tracking a project or any task assigned to a team, tools like Microsoft team, Slacks, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, and others can help you connect with people.
You can use these tools to spread any information at any time, or you can conduct a poll on any topic you want to discuss later to get a sense of how the majority feels. Every individual’s transition from the office to working from home can be smoothed out by the leader.
Leaders must set attainable goals in order to maintain mental, physical, and social well-being. Remote working sounds appealing and intriguing, but while the majority of them are comfortable with it, what about those who aren’t? Leaders must be empathic, and they must represent their employees’ interests to upper management.
To protect your own neck, leadership advises not to direct pressure from top management down the line team. A sense of taking on the burden of assigned responsibilities is a sign of leadership quality. Employee dissatisfaction rises when a leader treats his or her team as if they were their own servants.
Leaders should make sure that their meeting agenda is provided with their teammates ahead of time so that they can prepare to answer questions or address subjects that will help the meeting operate more smoothly. Those who are needed should attend a meeting so that the productive working hours of another employee are not disrupted.
Leaders can transcribe and write down their video call session recordings using Microsoft Word. Furthermore, as a result of the technology, the team will have more time to focus on the conversation. Clear communication will promote clarity around an individual’s goals and lessen the possibility of post-meeting dispute. This technique will help to alleviate the situation of unhappiness.
To conclude, any organization’s human resource management intervention will be critical in order to stay in business and recover from its current predicament. HR, in my opinion, should operate like Lord Krishna, who counsels management on how to act ethically and shows them the way forward. HR should go one step further and educate management about market trends and the health of the company.
Any advice or instructions from management that influence your employees should be examined by HR, and it should be discussed once before implementation, after weighing the benefits and drawbacks of management’s proposed policies and initiatives. Employees will be better able to deal with mental and physical suffering if they have access to a mental wellness programme.
Employee well-being is not confined to your employee; the inclusion of their family and social well-being will enhance their performance level; thus, HR policies and corporate standing orders should not be limited to their employee exclusively. The organization’s policy should be created in such a way that their family feels included and valued.
Conducting a competition between employees’ families, for example, will foster a healthy company culture. Properly planned solutions can be used to overcome differences amongst employees at work. These are simple gestures that go unnoticed by us but focusing on them will reduce attrition and improve team unity in the face of pandemics, resulting in a better workplace experience.
Co-Author- Shivani Saxena, Lecturer at International Polytechnic for Women, Delhi and graduate from Delhi University & M.Sc. in Textile Science.