COVID-19 disrupted the professional status quo essentially overnight. For those working in human resources, a lot of decisions had to be made on how to best support employees through such a difficult time while adjusting policies to determine how to keep working in a safe, effective manner. As the world enters another transition period as circumstances begin to return to a “new normal,” here are the top HR challenges to look out for:
Many employees are struggling with their mental health and emotional wellbeing after more than a year of trying to juggle their work expectations and dealing with the ramifications of quarantining, such as childcare and virtual schooling for working parents, or isolation and loneliness for employees who live alone. Even as external situations change and start to improve, the low morale of employees is likely to linger and require resources to help improve it. If not addressed, there is a significant risk of burnout, which lowers overall productivity and retention.
The economic impact of the pandemic has continued into 2021. Even if your organization didn’t struggle outright financially, budgets were likely slashed as a precaution. HR professionals have the challenge of trying to attract and retain top talent with a tighter budget or reduced in-house staff.
Post-COVID Work Models
If employees have been working remotely, there is the question of how HR should handle post-COVID-19 working models. Determining official policies on remote work, such as going fully remote, completely back to the office, or embracing a hybrid model, and the details of how that will work will need to be addressed. There is also the risk of significant turnover if employees do not agree with the implemented work models, which may increase the workload of HR to fill positions.
The pandemic wasn’t the only cause of cultural upheaval – racial justice was a major issue in 2020 and continues to be. Many organizations took a stand and let it be known that diversity was of the utmost importance to their workplace culture, and now is the time to nail down actionable steps to put these diversity initiatives into effect. This may require changing recruitment processes to be as blind and objective as possible and training hiring managers on recognizing and overcoming bias.
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