Until recently, our worries as HR professionals were likely centered on initiatives around organizational transformations, automation and AI, and workforce skills gaps. And suddenly, in only a few days, many of our businesses have been upended, we’re implementing new work processes and employees are worried about their jobs and the very survival of the organization. The coronavirus outbreak is first and foremost a human tragedy, affecting hundreds of thousands of people. It is also having a growing impact on the global economy. What to human resource leaders need to do now and what preparation can be make for the future requires a perspective on the evolving situation and implications for their companies. The outbreak is moving quickly, and some of the perspectives in this webinar may fall rapidly out of date.
From Alibaba to Google, companies around the globe are telling staff to work from home in a bid to stem the spread of COVID-19. Such remote working at scale is unprecedented and will leave a lasting impression on the way people live and work for many years to come.
Working from home skyrocketed in China in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis as companies told their employees to stay home. Around 200 million people were working remotely by the end of the Chinese New Year holiday.
While this arrangement has some benefits, such as avoiding long commutes, many employees and companies found it challenging. One employee at an internet company quipped his work day changed from ‘996’ to ‘007,’ meaning from nine to nine, 6 days a week, to all the time.
On the personal front, employees found it difficult to manage kids’ home-schooling via video conference while coordinating with remote colleagues. At a company level, many felt that productivity rapidly tailed off if not managed properly.
In the short term, a vast majority (88%) of employers are encouraging or requiring employees to work from home—whether they’re sick or not. They have almost universally (97%) suspended work-related travel.
When it comes to leave, policies among the respondents vary: About half mandate that employees first dip into sick leave, followed by vacation leave and then they may be able to take advantage of specific PTO programs created for the current conditions. About 20% are offering additional PTO for those who are sick or caring for a sick family member, while others have increased PTO for parents with children who are now home from school.
The organization’s health is also a priority: Many are trying to cut costs by trying to use technology more effectively, temporarily suspending new hiring, reducing consultant hours.
Fewer firms are cutting employee hours or asking employees to take unpaid leave but that may be necessary as the crisis deepens.
While HR leaders are rightfully focused on decision-making around these immediate priorities, the realities of the COVID-19 crisis are upending the traditional approach to business strategy.
Historically, business leaders haven’t made decisions in the short term that could put the long-term plan at risk.
While that is still true, there is an important difference now: To accomplish this in the past, organizations wanted to design processes and solutions that would stand the test of time, but that mentality will no longer work.
Leaders need to adopt a “default yes” mindset and as long as we are not breaking the rules, we should encourage employees to do whatever it takes to accomplish our goals.
Just as we found after 9/11, one of the critical roles of HR in times like these is to foster a sense of safety, trust and collective thinking in our people.
The coronavirus situation actually represents an opportunity. If you focus on your people in a competent and ethical way and you actively listen to their needs, you can drive up trust, teamwork and resilience.Areas Covered in the Webinar:
Dr. Chartier is the Principal of HRinfo4u, a human resource consulting firm and a well-known educator and speaker. As a consultant, he works with organizations to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their human resource function. He has worked extensively in designing, developing and implementing human resource program, procedures and systems for smaller and mid-size firms up and down the Hudson Valley.
Greg is a thought provoking professional speaker and his wisdom and insights into management and leadership make him an electrifying speaker and seminar leader. His seminars are customized to reinforce company mission, vision, values and culture and the content is practical for team leaders, managers, supervisors and executives alike.
Dr. Chartier has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, an MBA in Finance and a PhD in Human Resources. He is a National Member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and is certified by the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and a Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR) as well as a Senior Certified Professional (SCP) by SHRM.
He served on the Board of the local SHRM Chapter, the Westchester Human Resources Management Association (WHRMA), as the Treasurer for nine years. In addition, Greg served on the Board of the Business Council of Westchester in a variety of capacities and continues his service as the Chair of the Human Resources Council. Dr. Chartier also serves on the Board of the Child Care Council of Westchester.
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