What is the current role of HR?

April 25, 2020

What is the current role of HR?

In this current climate, there are challenging times for many of us ahead but I feel it will also have a strong positive influence on the new way we do business within this new way of working. One thing we do have to take in consideration is that the world is not going to be the same anymore – the new ‘normal’ as we hear it being dubbed. We are already experiencing a vast majority of us working from home, travel bans and mental health programmes for people who are struggling. The past couple of weeks have been testing, to say the least, both on our capabilities and the way we transact business.

What is the role of HR?

After speaking to many of my network, one thing is clear; HR has got a very clear voice in the future of business. Not only is retaining talent an even more essential part of keeping a business going but also post Covid-19 the speed of adaptation to the new market setting will be driven by them.

Some key pointers to consider within your HR teams:

Driving the outcome of government schemes

In these times many governments are compensating for the loss of revenue or profit with several schemes. This means that the HR function, together with legal, has been responsible for implementing several schemes (like Furlough in UK or the NOW scheme in the Netherlands) and making sure that the people on these schemes don’t feel left out. You don’t want your staff to return demotivated.

Driving a supportive culture

Creating a supportive culture is key for the success. Many companies need to do what is necessary to cut costs or to save their market position. These actions are affecting employees in many ways: pay cuts, reduced hours, cutting bonus schemes, cutting benefits and even redundancies. How do you make sure your staff understands these actions and support these decisions? Keeping employees centralised, giving them accurate information and being open/transparent throughout will help.

Organisational design for a resilient company

HR in these times are at the forefront of the strategy needed to survive and to even come well equipped out a crisis. In markets that are really struggling like the retail sector, it is very important to look at vital staff and to train the these people to coordinate and facilitate. Backing decision up with data and selecting leaders who care and can create a community sense.

What will we learn from this?

I have read many articles about working remotely post Covid-19. What used to be seen as a benefit is now becoming the standard. I have noticed that in the market many of our clients and prospects see the added value of this. Ways to positively look at it are:

  1. Diverse your talent pools despite of geographical location.
  2. Managing (labour) cost: less spend on commuting allowances, less travel cost between locations and better work-life balance to boost productivity.
  3. More communication: working remotely breaks down barriers for office communication. People feel they are closer to each other more than ever before. From my own experience I can say that I have never been this close to my staff. Not only am I more available for a quick chat, I can offer to opportunity to have deeper conversations around sensitive topics like mental health outside of an office environment.

Over the past years, HR has made a big transition already from being a source of information to driving and facilitating leadership and I see that resource we call our people are being seen even more as a vital asset. If you want to know more about what HR can do for your organisation or if you have any questions about the market in the BeNelux or globally, I am open for a discussion or I can facilitate getting you in touch with peers who can discuss and share experiences.