HR Strategies for a Post-COVID-19 Workplace
BHI understands how difficult it is right now to look toward the future and resuming normalcy while COVID-19 is inundating our professional and personal lives. However, when things return to normal and our employees return to work, there are certain “human resources” perspectives to take into consideration for our businesses.
Here are five HR perspectives, or strategies, that can benefit your employees and the company’s bottom line. When reviewing them, consider how your company may benefit by implementing similar strategies.
1. Employee personalization
Employees don’t want to be viewed as faceless cogs in a larger machine—they want to be recognized for the unique value each brings to the company. This uniqueness is something employers are beginning to embrace too.
Companies are starting to offer more personalized benefits and online tools. Instead of offering one benefits package, employers are casting a wide net with niche options like tuition reimbursement and pet insurance. The idea is that providing a wide array of options will suit the unique needs of employees from any background and in any stage of their careers.
Some employers are going further and pairing these benefits with individualized online portals. Within these portals, employees can review their benefits, schedule doctor appointments and handle other needs specific to them.
2. A focus on wellness
After dealing with the anxiety and stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers will need to put more focus on the mental health and overall wellness of its employees. Holistic benefits are a common way of introducing wellness to a company. These benefits address all aspects of well-being, including mental health and financial security. While these plans will differ in offerings, the idea is to provide employees with benefits that help improve their well-being beyond standard health coverage.
And employees will be happy for the effort. According to a 2019 MetLife survey, over half of respondents said they’d be more interested in working for a company that offered holistic benefits. A similar number of respondents said they would also be more loyal to a company offering these benefits and that they would likely be more successful in their work and personal lives.
3. Workplace flexibility
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, a fluctuating workplace landscape was developing. The 9-5 work shift is giving way to more novel constructions in this gig economy. After working from home for weeks, some employees may be reluctant to return to the standard in-person office hours.
Some employers may choose to be more lenient than others, but the overall trend is that employees aren’t required to be in the office for eight hours every day. Some companies allow for flextime—allowing employees to leave early one day and make up the time another day—and others simply let employees work their own hours each week, so long as they add up to 40.
While policies will differ by company, the idea is that employees want some workplace flexibility when their personal lives require it. It could be something as simple as letting them work from home once in a while. Regardless of how you choose to handle flexibility within your company, this will continue in 2020 and likely expand its prevalence as the familiarity of remote working increases.
4. Employee upskilling
As the employee personalization trend illustrates, employees want to be appreciated on an individual level. One way employers are showing their appreciation is through upskilling. Not only does this help employees feel valued, but it also helps fill knowledge gaps within the company.
And upskilling could be even more important than that. According to a report by Deloitte, the “inability to learn and grow” is the top reason why employees leave their companies. As employers catch on, you can expect more employees to be cross-trained and encouraged to look for growth opportunities internally, lest they look toward other employers for career mobility.
5. AI-driven technology
Artificial intelligence (AI) will be a continuing trend for the foreseeable future as employers look to reduce costs in a potentially down economy. AI empowers companies to achieve more than ever before, for a fraction of the effort. Commonly, AI is being used by HR to help administrate their human capital.
Some employers are using AI systems to autonomously screen candidates and move prospective hires through the application process, saving HR teams untold hours. Other employers are using AI to monitor employees so they can strategically address performance issues on an individual basis.
When it comes to tracking complex data sets, AI will be the answer for HR. Keep an eye out as this innovative technology permeates deeper into the HR realm.
While these initiatives are recommended, they might not necessarily work for every company. However, in a post-COVID-19 environment, where employees have had to adjust how they work, all companies should shift toward a more human-focused approach.
Keep these HR initiatives in mind when considering how your employees may benefit from similar programs. Implementing even a smaller-scale version of these initiatives may help give you an edge in employee productivity and morale.
Maria N. Clyde, a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and a Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) Senior Certified Professional (SCP), has almost ten years of human resources consulting experience, and joined B+H Insurance, LLC (BHI) in late 2016. Maria handles human resources for the agency and assists clients with their in-house HR needs. This includes anti-discrimination and harassment training, manager training, reviews and assessments of current policies, employee handbooks, job descriptions, compensation structures, compliance requirements, and other HR or corporate development needs. As an active board member of the Delaware Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM), Maria focuses on professional development and stays up-to-date with changing legislation affecting HR management. Before joining BHI, Maria worked as an HR Generalist for a mid-size government contractor in Washington, DC that serviced the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as well as various Department of Defense (DoD) agencies.