HR Personnel and Their Role During the Pandemic

The pandemic is a puzzling time. Many people lost their jobs. There are also a lot of people facing uncertainty. This COVID-19 crisis seems to bring the best and the worst out of different situations, yet people still appear to be able to manage.

This pandemic has created conditions where companies had to make changes to protect their employees from the virus. For one, instead of cramped carports or garages, employees have to park in an area where there’s ventilation. Most companies who could afford it made their employees take remote work positions or work from home arrangements. There are also people who needed to be tested for the virus, lest they spread it to others.

HR is the one who disseminates all of these and passes them on from employers to the employees. Here are a few tips for the HR personnel out there who are struggling with the pandemic.

The Employee Pulse: How Personnel are Reacting

These are special times, so HR would not be out of line if they decide to do a survey for COVID-19. The survey would have to cover what the company’s response to COVID-19 will be. It would also cover the personnel’s response to the processes which employees had to undergo, whether they would feel comfortable continuing to work from home or whether they felt safe to come to work.

This way, HR could see whether they’re doing the right thing with their processes. If the survey returns with an overwhelming ‘no’ reply, then they would have to re-think their COVID-19 strategies.

Be Sensitive with How Personnel Feels About the Situation

A good HR professional would listen to the people and hear the suggestions made by them. Employee sentiment might be at an all-time low during the pandemic and without a sure avenue of communication, the employers might never know at all.

Some of the worst cases of the COVID-19 spread happened in offices, where it wasn’t controlled because no processes for containing it were done. There are also a lot of dramatic changes that the workforce might have trouble adjusting to.

Employee engagement during this time reached an all-time high in some places, according to surveys. While this was probably because of the mass layoff, there are some who believed it was because of the improved communication stemming from work-from-home arrangements.

Foster Employee Relations Through Focus Groups and Social Media

Focus groups and social media interactions may seem cheesy to some employees, but these are actually helpful in establishing legit communications. If your office isn’t running one, then right now may be the best time to establish it, even when there’s a pandemic.

Focus groups are great if you’re gathering data from your employees. This is a kind of employee feedback system which presents opinions on different office direction. You might conduct different study groups but at this time, one-on-one interviews are most effective.

Social media platform, on the other hand, is to understand staff morale from a purely personal perspective. Here, staff may send their messages and concerns through private PMs, indicating a more private way of letting their voices be heard by the management.

A Few Mistakes to Avoid

There are companies who can’t help but always monitor their people on their activities throughout the day. That’s what the office HR app or time logger is for. This could be a familiar occurrence during the pandemic, but it’s not recommended and for certain reasons.

Having a program that monitors whether you’re typing on your keyboard or not or installing cameras to see whether people are really at their desks, will not go over well with most employees. Even the most diligent, productive employee will cry foul when monitored too much.

Especially when they’re home, consider letting your employees work how they want. Sometimes, your employee might have quirks in their most productive state. Learn to trust them.

Support When There are Layoffs

Company layoffs are messy affairs, and HR should be at the forefront of employee engagement during this time. If you have to offer a choice, try to think of a solution that will fit the company’s narrative and the employees.

Instead of laying them off, offer them reduced hours. Do not take away their benefits or at least, lessen them without the employees feeling that these are removed. The HR is a partner of both the company and the employee, after all.

Bridging the gap between the company and employees should be the role of the HR professional right now. Review your processes. Offer insight to the company when you can. During this time of the pandemic, HR’s role should be more defined than ever.

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