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An open and empathetic letter to Human Resource professionals

Before COVID-19, you were often lonely, over-worked, underpaid, and unappreciated; but now that these crises have hit, the pain from your role is off the charts. Some days you feel like a therapist, but most other times – a punch bag!

The vast majority of your employees are stressed – some about the dirt-loads of work they are expected to do, and others about their lack of work and possible redundancy. Some are concerned that the company might be going out of business, and are spending 80% of their work time searching and applying for new jobs. How are you supposed to manage the performance of a workforce in this state? How are you to ensure their productivity when the business pipeline is at an all-time low? How are you to manage online training options under these conditions?

You need to support and assist management and projects with less staff, lower office utilization, and remote work as the “new norm”. You need to pre-emptively provide remote work strategies that are motivating and energizing staff to deliver their best.

You need to keep on top of the news, on top of the numbers, delivering relevant safety and diversity communication and actionable items, in an unfolding crisis.

Do you know your employees’ attitudes about returning to work? You might be working on a Pulse Survey to deliver insights into this. You’ll need to know about employee’s attitudes to social distancing, wearing masks, their family commitments, work/life balance, cleanliness of the office, personal health, and communal spaces.

And all of this, whilst managing children’s studies and attitudes and a partner’s growing depression and COVID-19 cabin-fever.

Very few people who have not been in HR actually “get it”. You are the scapegoat for management and employees alike. You’ve had to hold the corporate propaganda line of “we are a family” and “we look after our own” while you lay people off! You’ve had to clean up the mess around all management levels while they disregard your advice. You’ve had to be candidly tactful when employees who’ve landed in trouble with management, misrepresent you by saying “HR authorized this”, and you’ve had to swallow your own corporate grievances because your senior managers believe raising issues will disturb your cordial relationships with others, rendering you ineffective in HR – you can’t win!

If this is you, please share your stories… let’s work together, encourage each other, and share our tears and solutions below…

Potential Solutions for HR during these Trying Times:

1. Suggest a restructuring of your teams in an agile manner – use 15-minute stand-up meetings every morning. For more information on how to restructure for agility – click on Agile training.
2. Make sure everyone is looking after social, financial, and physical fitness. Develop and maintain relationships inside and outside your company – we all need networks to support us in times of trial. Don’t compromise too much on your pay, rather, keep an eye open for new work opportunities. Don’t get so wound up with work, that you don’t take breaks for physical activity. Provide social, mental, and physical budgets for yourself and your teams.
3. Transform key employees into leaders – set clear expectations on what good performance looks like, what delivery is expected, and what quality should be achieved. For more assistance with employee transformation, click on Leadership training.
4. Campaign for budgets to empower autonomy – this will facilitate leadership growth and development.
5. Leverage technology to facilitate new levels of productivity – choose the right tool for the job; request that management reassess these tools frequently.

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