PhD Mateusz Grzesiak, psychologist, university lecturer, coach, advisor to many corporations tells us how HR departments can effectively influence the well-being of employees in the company, which transfers into stability and growth of the company in difficult times of pandemic.
The pandemic has put an end to the debate about the importance of HR departments. Previously often underfunded and in line behind production or marketing, during the crisis they have become the be-all and end-all for a company that needs its employees to be motivated to work instead of afraid of losing their jobs, to adapt to new conditions instead of blocking statement that “it all will pass”, to accept difficulties instead of resisting.
It was the responsibility of HR to prepare and deliver training on remote working, to provide emotional support to a hard-pressed pandemic crew. It was HRs who organized work in chaotic and unpredictable conditions. Not only have HR professionals had to guide their companies and employees through the transformation to a more digital and distributed work environment, but they have also had to learn how to be productive and meet goals while working from home.
Already, it’s clear that HR will be expanding into caring for employee mental health, which has been in serious decline over the past year. Research shows that such care positively impacts their well-being, finances, sleep and physical health. A happy employee makes more money for the company, has less conflict, less often quits the job, has more commitment, and is more effective at work.
HRs will return to their humanistic roots of human-centeredness. This means closer contact, focusing on the individual career path, taking into account personality aspects and individual needs, focusing on strengths rather than deficiencies.
The role of human resources departments in the new formula of companies’ operations is also important. HRs will be focused on creating a hybrid culture of the organization where the challenge will be to properly onboard the employee, build their relationships with other team members, how communicate difficult issues, resolve conflicts, and motivate them to perform. Essential to this is soft skills training, or the ability to manage thoughts, emotions, and behaviours to help achieve personal and professional goals. Their catalogue includes, but is not limited to delegating, selling, giving and taking feedback, meeting needs, regulating self-esteem, networking (the ability to build professional relationships), therapy, verbal and non-verbal communication, changing habits, organizing time and tasks, audience profiling and segmentation, assertiveness, negotiating, teamwork, stress management, managing cultural/generational/gender diversity, leadership, cognitive flexibility and behavioural, self-control, persuasion, analyzing, reasoning, empathy, personal branding, public speaking, planning, emotion management, relationship building, communication, behaviour change, coaching, motivating and many other more or less complex skills. Each of these, like cycling, is to be learned theoretically and mastered practically.
Besides, HR needs to take into account the rapid changes related to health regulations that will keep employees and the company safe. Employees returning to offices expect a suitable work environment. Therefore, changes such as managing work schedules, separating employee desks, mapping routes through offices, and dissecting mask and disinfection policies should be implemented. HRs must also communicate these policies to employees and monitor compliance. More regulations related to potentially mandatory vaccinations are also coming soon.