As the COVID-19 crisis unfolds globally, organizations across the world are dealing with an unplanned conundrum of managing talent and productivity. Read on to know how organizations can restructure and re-evaluate their existing HR handbook to test their crisis management readiness and ensure a smooth recruitment cycle from onboarding to separation.
The COVID-19 pandemic has scathed almost every corner of the Indian economy, but it has hit the job market particularly hard. There are now more job seekers than the vacancies available in the market. In addition, we have other open challenges of managing talent in times of such crisis. Here we will discuss those challenges which may create an unnecessary chase in closing positions and post joining.
The Millennial generation has a drastically different outlook on how work gets done and what they expect from their employment experience. They need more clarity about their role, growth within the organization, future path, learning & development, and compensation, etc. Baby boomers were very much flexible with offered terms and conditions of employment but millennials are more focused on extrinsic and intrinsic motivation factors. Today, candidates have complete awareness about the domain market and their own worth in this market to encash their value. This calls for the need to make major adjustments in the recruitment models. Therefore, we need to focus and re-evaluate our existing HR handbook with Covid-19 & Post Covid-19 scenario which is important for the end to end recruitment cycle.
Conventionally, we have some set of questions for the initial screening of candidates for any role which varies from industry to industry. These sets which we hand over to our recruiters or recruitment agency for shortlisting the candidates will be now more enhanced because of the Covid-19 situation. If you are from an IT industry or any industry which works in all shifts then you’ll have to be very specific with the choice of candidate for the shift. You need to clearly understand the interest of the candidate and the purpose of applying in your organization along with few terms and conditions in written with validation from candidates to avoid post joining confrontation, e.g. when hiring, a candidate should be properly informed about the type of role offered, employment conditions, job location (during Covid-19 and post Covid-19), shift timings as well as the working process so that the candidate could take the right decision, which will decrease the chances of drop out in the last moment.
Your orientation and induction strategy should be pre-written and shared with candidates and concerned team members so that they can connect over Skype, Zoom, or Microsoft team, etc. tools to complete their introduction process as per schedule. If joining is at the office, then candidates should be asked to bring the latest medical fitness certificate along with other joining documents, like the Covid-19 test report especially in the scenario where we have asymptomatic people around us. So, by practising this activity we can avoid the spread of infection in your team by new hires.
Being an HR, we must ensure such processes should be followed without fail. HR should arrange a proper notification module which should be delivered to every employee desk through email about social distancing, a list of do’s and don’ts, and various other precautions to avoid Covid-19 spread within office premises and outside the office. Such emails will create awareness in employees. We should make them understand that if someone is creating a distance from them while talking, then not to take it otherwise – maintaining this kind of distance from each other can help prevent the spread of Covid-19 between people which is good for both of them and for everyone in the office.
Applaud and cheer those people who practice social distancing. This will create harmony in the environment and motivate others to pursue the same action in the future. Our notice board should be covered with animated images that will attract employees to see them and learn from them about the Covid-19 spread and its preventions. Administration staff and HR should create a proper policy for organizing meetings in the office – client meetings and any employee’s internal group activity – while following required precautions. These policies and notifications should be properly pasted at the meeting room’s entrance door to remind the team what to do and what not to do.
Policies for issuing company assets to employees and their maintenance part and its uses should be properly documented for each role. Policy structuring is required for each department whether it’s related to compensation, statutory compliances, employee engagement activity participation, performance management systems, and exit policies in detail.
“Policies for issuing company assets to employees and their maintenance part and its uses should be properly documented for each role. Policy structuring is required for each department whether it’s related to compensation, statutory compliances, employee engagement activity participation, performance management systems, and exit policies in detail.”
Employee engagement activity should be drafted in a manner that employees working from home and employees working from office should have equal opportunities to participate in birthday celebrations, office events, etc. Office events should be broadcasted through social media channels so that remote employees who are not present in the office due to social distancing or any other reasons feel included and part of the company celebrations. This will boost the connection among cross-functional teams and keep employees engaged.
Training programs should be conducted for those who are working from home but are not much accustomed to the online conference/meeting tool’s functionality. This should be a compulsory process of training for both onsite and offsite teams. This training module will educate them with proper custom and uses of meeting tools to avoid delay in execution like sharing the screen, private chat during a group meeting, how to add a new member in the chat group and other basic things like making proper calendar invite before scheduling the meet for different time zones (if the team is connecting from different offshore locations), how to make the host of the meeting and co-host of meeting, etc.
Training for using online tools to connect with the team will help the inside team to conduct the KT process, training & development process for all employees whether they are working in an office or performing their duties from remote areas. This session can be recorded to share with those team members who could not attend due to any specific reasons. Training feedback from post online training will help employees to fill the gaps.
Exit interview process and exit formalities should be defined for work from home employees especially during the Covid-19 scenario when travel is almost stopped in the fear of the spread of the infection. So, documentation and execution of the process in which company assets handover, full and final payment, relieving documents, and other required processes are included should be well defined within turnaround time for settlement.
Employee grievances should be acknowledged on priority especially for work from home employees, any delay in response can make them feel undervalued. The HR team should be responsive enough to address employee concerns wisely and document every communication for the future course of action. Employee mental health and wellbeing is genuinely concerning matter during this pandemic situation as no one was prepared for 100% work from home environment in the pre-COVID-19 world. Some of us have accepted the new reality but most of us are still struggling since it is hard to suppress our profoundly human and evolutionarily hard-wired impulses for connection.
We, human beings, love to interact with people face to face, hanging and eating out with family and friends and now that we are bound to stay in one place for months, we still don’t know when things will get back to normal. During this period, organizations must encourage employees to eat healthily, exercise regularly, limit the intake of information pertaining to the virus, and stay in touch with their family and friends. Teams should also actively be encouraged to take collective tea/ coffee breaks while they work with each other online, just as they did during coffee and lunch breaks in the office. Organizations can also arrange online yoga classes and free counselling sessions for their employees which can help them buffer the negative effects of social isolation and stress.
By following these basic approaches especially in startups and middle-size organizations, leaders and managers can help employees to manage their day to day challenges between onboarding to the separation process with ease.