HR’s Compelling New Role In Response To The Coronavirus

  • -

HR’s Compelling New Role In Response To The Coronavirus

Tracy Brower Contributor, Forbes

June 7, 2020

Hand holding big tree growing on green background with sunshine. HR new role amidst the coronavirus--to drive business success and the work experience.
HR has a new role amidst the coronavirus–to drive business success and the work experience. GETTY

The coronavirus pandemic has caused tremendous disruption in lives and in business, and human resources (HR) is key to supporting companies and catalyzing changes in the workplace. Organizations must rethink, reimagine and reconsider how they foster talent, deliver services and strengthen their organizations through a forward-thinking HR strategy—how they deliver the most compelling work experience.

The issues are complex—including employee support, leadership development, pay and benefits and shifts and strategic partnerships across the organization. Here are some of the most important ways HR can lead, partner and drive for the best in their organizations.

Reimagining The Organization

Systemic thinking. To survive, businesses must adapt to the future of work, and the capability to move with speed and agility is a critical capability HR can influence. HR is in arguably the best position to see overall processes and offer a systemic viewpoint, ensuring coordination, communication and collaboration across units, functions, business groups and silos. HR can facilitate dialogues that help ensure the right amounts of reinvention, re-proportioning and re-prioritizing of business goals to adapt to shifting customer demands and markets in response to the crisis created by Covid-19.

Company cultureOrganizational culture, too, is a critical contribution area for HR. With employees who have been sent home, culture is context for decisions and work ethic. It guides choices and actions—and must be managed intentionally. Julie Stich, CEBS, Vice President, Content, at the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP) agrees, “As we create a working environment—be it in the office or home offices—employers need to consider how the company culture is impacting their teams.” HR can conduct culture assessments and close gaps between current culture and desired culture—helping to manage the myriad variables that affect culture. They can help prioritize where to focus and how to sustain culture through disruptive times. Change is significant, and HR is in the best place to catalyze transformation and motivate shifts that will reinvent organizations.

Leadership. Brilliant leadership will ensure success for organizations and there is no room for mediocre leadership during difficult times. HR has a key role to play in developing leaders, ensuring they are successful and holding them accountable. According to Amy Leschke-Kahle, vice president of performance acceleration at The Marcus Buckingham Company, an ADP Company, “As stewards of the organization’s talent, HR has a responsibility to create the practices that maintain focus, create connectivity and ensure continuity between the most critical partnership in the world of work: that between the team leader and the team member.” Leaders require new and enhanced skills in managing from a distance, motivating employees toward a vision in the midst of ambiguity, providing calm and clarity, aligning work among team members and building community.  Read more