The world of recruitment has been turned upside down over the past few weeks. HR as a profession is completely consumed mobilising workforces and answering queries regarding furloughed leave. Covid-19 means that Recruitment is not on their agenda right now.
However, every HR leader that I have spoken to over the past few weeks has indicated that HR will be in demand in the coming weeks and months. As businesses transition and settle into a new way of working, HR is going to face the following challenges:
1) Supporting the wellbeing of a remote workforce and ensuring connectivity;
2) Providing management and leadership development support for teams who have not managed remotely before;
3) Managing changes to the workforce depending on what happens at the end of May when the current Furlough scheme expires – this might be an extension, it might be redundancy, it might include changes to T&C’s when people do return to work;
4) ER issues that arise from this whole process.
It is most likely that these challenges will provide a need for an interim or short-term solution.
What is certain, is that the ‘normal’ we return to will not be the ‘normal’ we knew. Anticipating the changes, we need to include that people might not return to the office, some people will want to work but from home, others will be desperate to get back to the routine and structure of an office environment. Some people will decide not to work at all or have a complete career change.
We have embraced technology at such a phenomenal rate. Where resistance to change was firm before, organisations and huge numbers of employees have suddenly become expert users of MS Teams, Zoom, WhatsApp and other means of connectivity.
The resulting productivity, cut in travel time, efficient meetings (when zoom cuts off after 40 minutes) all demonstrate how we can work in a better way. This is not going to be dropped the minute we return to work.
These changes are coming – whether it is in the next 2 months, 6 months or 12 months depends on how effective social isolation is, how quickly we beat Covid-19 and how responsive we are to Government guidance. When the changes do come however, HR is going to be indispensable.