Moving Forward: 3 Ways to Sustain HR Momentum After the Pandemic
Est. Read Time: 3 min.
Over the past year, leaders across every sector have persevered through difficulty with thoughtfulness and tackled unforeseen challenges with ingenuity. In the HR world specifically, countless teams were forced to rapidly roll out new policies to take care of their employees and help them work under radically different conditions.
With an end to the pandemic in sight, it may be tempting to return to the way things were before. But, despite being made during a crisis, some of these changes may have been for the better. With businesses now more comfortable in the face of organizational change, HR leaders should take this opportunity to reassess the way they support their workforce — because the old way of doing things isn’t necessarily the best.
To help you sustain momentum on making meaningful change, here are three important lessons to pull through into the post-pandemic world.
1. Creating more inclusive and equitable workplaces is paramount
Since the global Black Lives Matter protests last summer, there’s been renewed discussion around the importance of diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging in the workplace. Many organizations committed to making improvements — but without action, commitments are just words.
Even if your organization has already taken steps in the right direction, there’s no one-time fix for such a nuanced issue. For example, implementing anti-racism training for managers or employees may be a constructive step, but this can’t be the full extent of your efforts. Ongoing, intentional work is needed, and this can’t just fall to HR. Creating a more equitable and inclusive workplace is everyone’s responsibility, from the leaders who set the tone to the individual contributors who bring your culture to life.
“We realized this work needs to be embedded within all aspects of our business,” says Paige Moffat, DE&B Program Manager at UKG. “This isn’t a single team’s effort.”
2. Building flexibility into people processes is crucial
Before the pandemic, HR tended to have a reputation for being resistant to change. The events of 2020 highlighted how essential it is for the function to be flexible and responsive to emerging needs.
A one-size-fits-all approach to people processes doesn’t work because every employee’s circumstances are different and constantly evolving. In the short-term, HR leaders can respond to this by initiating serious discussions with business leaders about adopting flexible work options permanently. Moving forward, it will also be important to build flexibility into new processes and procedures, ensuring that all employees have the same experience with HR, no matter where, when, or how they work.
“Flexibility is for everyone,” says Melissa Harper, SVP of HR at Bayer, “and organizations need to ignite a different openness to how and where work gets done.”
3. Leading with empathy will change work for the better
While offering more flexible work options is one way to help employees achieve a healthier work-life balance, the past year proved that companies still need to foster an environment where people are encouraged and feel empowered to take care of themselves.
Promoting the importance of self-care, providing more stress-management resources, and removing the stigma around conversations about mental health are just a few steps that can help. When empathy is a defining feature of your culture, employees will be able to bring their best selves to work every day.
“We’ve learned how putting our people first and leading with empathy can go a long way,” says Jennifer Schwalb, Chief People Officer at Ceros. “So much of our successes can be attributed to our people.”
For more insights to help you sustain momentum after the pandemic, download our new eBook, HR, Work, and Life: A Collection of Lessons Learned From 2020.
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About Laura Zifchak (Poggi)
Laura leads the marketing team for the PeopleDoc by Ultimate Software products in North America. She joined PeopleDoc in January 2015 to help HR teams learn about HR Service Delivery technology, understand how it benefits their existing business strategies, and become expert users of our platform as customers.
Laura has experience with bringing technical software solutions to market with prior leadership positions at both IBM and RTTS. She has an MBA from CUNY Baruch Zicklin School of Business, and a BS degree in Marketing from Siena College.
With years of practice managing teams through rapid growth and constant change, Laura is passionate about employee and manager experience, and using technology to help scale and improve operations.