It's more than fair to say the novel coronavirus pandemic threw individuals and businesses alike for a major loop, and it's only now — months after the initial outbreak in the U.S. — that some companies are getting back to something resembling normalcy. However, there's a broad acknowledgement among human resources professionals that it may take a lot more work than some might have initially believed to truly recover.
For instance, while 100% of HR workers polled say their companies are requiring face coverings and similar safety measures in returning to in-person work, fewer firms are taking other reasonable precautions, according to a recent survey from Appian and LTM Research. For example, fewer than 4 in 5 will limit office capacity or increase cleaning and sanitizing, and only slightly more than 7 in 10 will initiate daily health screenings for employees.
Those are certainly vast majorities, and only a little more than half of companies are even getting back to in-person work right now, the survey showed. However, about 1 in 4 HR workers say they are personally concerned that their companies are not properly investing in technology to conduct effective contact tracing. The good news, however, is that 98% said their companies are going to become more flexible about remote work on a permanent basis.
The arrival of the coronavirus in the U.S. was, in many ways, a game-changer for companies regardless of their size or industry, especially because 70% of HR respondents said their firms didn't have a crisis plan in place when the outbreak began, according to a Lattice survey. As such, many scrambled to make decisions that would help them navigate this trying time as effectively as possible. Indeed, 57% of those polled said their companies are now re-evaluating their overall organizational goals, and also those of individuals or entire departments.
"The reality is, we are going to have to be more flexible," one respondent told the company. "The workforce has changed because of this and it won't be the same."
Impacting HR specifically
The pandemic also brought new challenges for the HR department, specifically, according to a Littler survey conducted earlier this year. For example, a total of 85% of respondents said they were at least slightly worried about maintaining confidential medical records and leave details for employees, and nearly as many felt similarly concerned about their companies' ability to implement policies that were not unintentionally discriminatory. Even more — 91% — said they were worried about dealing with staffing shortages.
Whether these concerns are fully addressed weeks, months or years from now, the role of every employee in your HR department will continue to evolve — even after the pandemic is over. You need to be able to hire the professionals who can rise to meet those new challenges head on, and YES Partners can help. To see some of the roles that we have already successfully placed, click here.
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