“At the end of the day, you bet on people, not on strategies.” – Lawrence Bossidy
In the last few months, your team has probably surprised you. Some reacted to this crisis in unexpected ways and others have risen to the occasion with remarkable purpose and clarity.
Now, and in times ahead, you need to nurture the bonds that are holding your business together: you need to take care of your people. And, to do this well, a strong HR group is vital. From safety standards, to reassurance, to a sense of community, well-deployed HR will help you get through.
Adapting Your Culture
HR has always focused on safety, but COVID brings a whole new set of safety expectations well above last year’s standards. Now, keeping your team safe is more than merely good management; it’s essential for both them and your business.
If COVID-19 sweeps through your business, you lose on many levels. The way to avoid this is to build a culture of transparency and disclosure.
Take the time to document your business processes regarding COVID prevention and control in the workplace. Don’t wait until an employee gets exposed or infected – we’ve already seen how quickly those consequences can get out of hand.
If your team knows exactly what will happen if they’re exposed (whether they come back to work after testing or after a negative result, for example), it will make it easier for them to disclose any potential exposures. And you need to know about those exposures to keep your team safe.
COVID has been an emotional and—for those scrambling to keep their businesses afloat—intellectual rollercoaster. And it’s not nearly over.
You’re exhausted, and so is your team. One of HR’s urgent tasks this year is to watch for signs of staff burnout and act to remedy it.
In a time of isolation, the workplace can offer a valuable sense of community. You’ll need to enforce physical distancing in the office, but that doesn’t mean you can’t build up the connections between your people.
Take the time for physically-distanced events. Include yourself, even if “the boss” hasn’t always joined in. Don’t be distant; be present so that they know you’re in this with them.
Listen to their concerns. If they have fewer concerns than usual, talk to them about it. Anxiety is running high right now and we need more communication rather than less.
The Future of Hiring
The COVID crisis has had the side effect of accelerating the digitization of our workplaces. The explosion of e-commerce, remote workspaces, and having to do business without travelling will have real implications for how we hire going forward.
Accelerated digitalization means more machine learning. In other words, the easy stuff is being done automatically or remotely at a rapid pace. Competing post-COVID will focus on the abilities that computers don’t have. Expect future hiring to be about skills and adaptability more than ever before.
In a recovering economy, business survival is about efficiency and innovation: the company that can adapt to new footholds will stay on the mountain. It will be the managers who have invested in their people that stand back and watch their teams confidently scale the cliffs ahead.