With news of a mutated virus strain spreading rapidly, we are sure that COVID-19 is not going anywhere anytime soon. The policy changes that HR ushered in the areas of workforce strategy and talent management to tide over the lockdown have turned into long-term plans that will redefine work culture across industries.
So what are the key takeaways from discussions among consultants and academics regarding the changes HR practitioners need to be ready for? How can we guide both managers and talent to adapt swiftly to the new norms of engagement?
Focus on Temporary Hiring:
While investment in permanent hiring is expected to decrease*, we can instead focus on hiring people for temporary, contractual, and gig-based arrangements. For the first time, temporary workers are on an even footing with a sizeable proportion of permanent employees, all of whom will be working remotely (at least in non-essential service jobs) for the foreseeable future. Since they have the same infra available to them (a PC workstation with a high-speed net), why not offer flexible opportunities to see how well they can contribute?
Investing in Tech:
With remote talent being just as attractive as the locally available pool, as recruiters we are spoiled for choice in terms of finding the exact fit between skills and job requirements. Our aim should be to guide the business to invest heavily (and wisely) in IT and Tech that support remote working. There are also security concerns (remember the Zoom hacks?) that we need to address to prevent compromising sensitive information while managing people.
Culture-Building in a Virtual Workplace:
There is only so much that efficient software can do to seamlessly connect co-workers. The HR custodians must reach out to all stakeholders and take steps to preserve the sense of community that the pandemic has stolen from people. Virtual engagement initiatives like “pajama meetings” or “informal coffee chats” can help break the monotony.
Developing Leadership in a Crisis:
In the long haul, we can support managers in reskilling themselves in handling the challenges of remote working, enhancing diversity and inclusion of voices across identities, crisis management, and of course, paving the way for the eventual integration of AI into the talent management framework.
*Survey result from the article, “HR says talent is crucial for performance-and the pandemic proves it” by Hancock and Schaninger published on the McKinsey & Company website.