Managing Human Resources in The Era of Covid-19 – What do do?
The HR industry is effected a great deal with the recent coronavirus outbreak. The entire responsibility lies on them to manage the changing workforce rules.
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused widespread disruption across the country at various levels. At the business level, companies are now confronted with new challenges of employee retention and productivity, while focusing on their safety and health in the current situation.
One of the best ways to utilize human resources in the times of coronavirus infection is to encourage employees to work from home. Wherever the nature of the job allows an individual to operate remotely, HR managers should assist them in setting up a computer at home, provide access to the company’s cloud-based programs, and help them set up video conferencing software at home.
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Online training should be provided as needed so that the employees can make maximum use of the available digital resources of the company to carry out their work responsibilities. The HR department should create an online system for employees to log-in to the number of hours that they are working for each day. In addition, employees can fill out a time-sheet on Excel and email it to the HR team on a daily or weekly basis.
Introduce Work Flexibility and Cross-Training
Chances are that many key employees may be absent due to health reasons or self-isolation. In this situation, HR experts can cross-train other employees so that they can perform critical business functions when other key staff personnel is absent. Training materials can be provided online as well as training managers can take virtual training sessions to help employees perform multiple tasks.
The company may need to prioritize clients, work with alternative supply sources, or modify some of the business operations temporarily in the prevailing situation. HR policies should be adjusted appropriately to provide sufficient flexibility to key employees to manage critical operations and adjust business practices as necessary.
Where the company operates its business out of multiple locations, the HR department should provide local managers and senior executives with special authority to adjust their business approach and take the necessary actions based on the intensity of the Covid-19 or Wuhan virus situation in their locality.
Follow the CDC Guidelines for Employers
The CDC has issued several recommendations that all employers should follow. Human resource managers have a vital role to play in ensuring that these guidelines are implemented without compromising the usual legal employer obligations under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Encourage workers who have a fever or respiratory illness to stay home until they are completely free of their illness or fever.
- Modify sick leave policies to make them consistent with the latest public health advisories and make sure that the employees are informed of these changes.
- Create flexible HR policies to allow employees to stay home if they need to take care of a sick family member.
- If any of the employees have fallen sick during travel or while on a business assignment, make sure they notify their supervisor and seek prompt medical advice if required.
Most importantly, HR managers should increase awareness among employees who are coming to work to practice social distancing at the workplace, maintain hygiene practices as advised by the CDC, and take all necessary steps to mitigate transmission risks among the staff.
Take Prudent HR Measures
Human resources are responsible for ensuring a seamless working experience during emergencies. This means changing certain policies to better match prevailing conditions. These are a few areas where the human resources department needs to take active measures for a seamless Covid-19 transition:
- Compensation restructures: Most organizations are considering reducing employee compensation until operations can resume normally. Certain companies are implementing lower fixed and higher variable packages.
- Deferring promotions: Any increments or promotions that are due should be postponed until the economy can take an upward turn. A majority of companies are deferring both promotions and increments until consistent revenue streams can be established.
- Bonus or performance pay: Depending on the financial situation, the HR department may consider deferring or completely canceling bonuses and performance pay. This should not include statutory bonuses mandated by the law.
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