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Lessons From Covid-19 That Redefined The Role Of HR


The recent coronavirus pandemic has prompted stakeholders and leaders in the HR and recruitment industry to rethink the role of the company’s human resources department. At the beginning of 2020, organizations rushed to transition to a remote work model. In-person work shifted to virtual work experiences. The reality of people working remotely was previously unexplored territory for many businesses. In spite of all these adjustments, even many months after the peak of the pandemic, many still continue to work remotely in response to the virus.

HR managers have played a central role in the pandemic-triggered changes in the workplace. They had to come up with new safety and health requirements, support employees in the new normal, lower headcount, and keep up with crucial administrative tasks.

“At the moment, HR and IT are definitely the two most crucial departments to a business’s survival,” this is according to a tech expert who spoke to the Society for Human Resources. “Managers want to ensure remote employees have access to the right support and technology at home to do their work, that their sensitive work information is kept safe in remote working environments, and that they’re keeping remote employees productive and engaged.”

As companies and their HR departments forge ahead, it’s vital to take stock of what has changed and how those changes will affect the future of commerce and redefine the role of HR. The coronavirus pandemic has had many adverse consequences – social divisiveness, business closures, high unemployment, and extreme health risks, but according to Josh Bersin, a popular HR analyst, HR can still achieve some positive results.

“HR teams are coming up with new ways to reward and incentivize workers, new ways to pay, new ways to learn, new model for jobs, and new ways to work,” Bersin notes in HR Executive.

In this post, we’ll consider 6 essential changes and how HR can leverage these changes in 2022.

•	Adapt to the prevalence of remote work

•	Expand inclusion, equity, and diversity initiatives

•	Capitalize on technology to boost staff engagement

•	Integrate systems for maximum efficiency

•	Implement new approaches to time off

•	Reinforce new requirements for workplace safety and health

Covid-19 required changes to organizational structures on a large scale. While the changes and trauma affect managers and employees alike, it benefits HR to put the important lessons to use to assist the workplace to transform and evolve in new ways.

Reinforce new requirements for workplace safety and health

HR managers are being tasked with the responsibility of staying ahead of changing safety and health guidelines, and understanding the fast changing environment so that procedures and policies meet requirements. Workers, who have to keep up with frequent Covid-19 updates from national and local news, depend more and more on their HR team as a reliable source of accurate and up-to-date information about the pandemic.

Making sure that companies not only get the information they require to make key decisions, but that workers are informed about these guidelines, will continue to be an ongoing challenge for stakeholders for HR departments. Businesses that have plans to resume in-person working may also find many workers may be nervous or hesitant about physically returning to the workplace. In a recent KRC study of American workers, almost 50% said they were worried that they may be forced to return to work before it’s safe to do so.

Companies are looking to HR to make sure that workers’ concerns around safety and health are addressed in an ever-changing environment. Senior Vice President and CHRO of Ingredion Elizabeth Adefioye says, “Since the coronavirus pandemic, I have been collaborating with our CEO and key managers from the facilities, communications, finance, and technology departments to come up with a safe and phased global approach to returning to the workplace.”