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Don't lose touch: HR units must adapt quickly to stay connected to workforce

Alvin R. Cabral/Dubai
Filed on September 27, 2020 | Last updated on September 27, 2020 at 09.29 pm
HR leaders would have to consider a number of things, including authentic and thoughtful leadership engagement and interventions among employees.

(File photo)

Current pandemic situation will accelerate how organisations develop, redesign manpower

The impact of Covid-19 is affecting the way we live and work, and adapting to this new normal will be key especially for human resource units at organisations to ensure their ecosystems continue to function smoothly even if workers and management are far apart.

"The key challenge for all of us will be trying to get to grips with the new norm. This new norm has no timeline, and we do not fully understand the medium or long-term impact yet," an opinion piece from US tech giant Oracle sent to Khaleej Times said.

It was authored by Anton Whitefoot, HCM sales leader public sector for the UK and Ireland, and Mike Fadel, principal HCM architect.

Organisations will now be faced with several challenges, which may include how to stay connected when staff are fully remote; how to plan for returning to work in a way that maintains the health and safety of staff; how to assess the long-term impact on works patterns and setups; and how to join up and maintain connectivity where there are some groups of staff working full remotely, some fully back in the office and some doing a mixture of both remote and office.

Accelerating organisational change

The challenges outlined above are now front and centre considerations in light of Covid-19. But they were also relevant pre-Covid-19, too; in many ways, the current situation will accelerate how organisations were already developing and redesigning their workforces.

"Digital platforms that are agile are able to service employees through multiple channels, support managers and extend the ability of HR to drive insight and support organisational development whilst enabling different modes of work will be differentiators," Whitefoot and Fadel said.

In a recent Covid-19 CFO Pulse Survey undertaken by PwC, 68 per cent of CFOs who completed the survey stated that crisis-driven transformation to remote working would make their company "better in the long run". The majority of respondents (72 per cent) also believed their companies will be more agile going forward, with PwC predicting that a "hybrid at-home/on-premise model that's taken hold as a contingency is likely here to stay".

The title of this blog, Staying connected to your local workforce, is therefore likely to be a key driver in maintaining organisational performance. If remote working accelerates as highlighted by CFOs in the PwC survey, then staying connected will be a major organisational development challenge for HR functions.

To stay connected in the best way, HR leaders would have to consider a number of things, including authentic and thoughtful leadership engagement and interventions; maintaining purpose at the heart of engagement that can support maintaining connections; providing tools and different channels to access information; and recognising efforts.

Meanwhile, effective digital platforms to support work and accessibility to HR assets will also help. Learning and development, advancement and career development, and measuring performance will also be key.

- alvin@khaleejtimes.com

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