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What Lessons Has The Pandemic Taught HR Teams Worldwide?

Adi Kurniawan, Head Of Human Resources, Kanmo Group

Adi Kurniawan, Head Of Human Resources, Kanmo Group

Few years ago we were excited to learned new terminology of VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity) continued with lots of HR forums also discussed Internet of things (IoT) as the new disruption. Now, we just experienced another new disruption through Covid-19 pandemic where it’s really disrupting our life (another VUCA), our organization and even our normalcy. During 2020 many organizations forcefully switched their business strategy just to survive from the pandemic. I have seen many organizations collapse and some others struggling to adapt to the new normal. Here, Darwin was right. If Change is inevitable and coincidentally we can see both IoT and Covid-19 pandemic are new best friends. Now it has been almost a year we work in the abnormal situation especially since the world got impacted by Covid-19 pandemic. I can still remember when our HR communication team released the announcement to instruct all employees in the office to switch into work from home mode since March 2020. Now, work from home is the new normal for every company.

As HR leaders, we can see the pandemic has brought both positive and negative impact. I believe we already know what the negative impacts are, therefore I’d like to highlight the positive side here. There are two best things about this pandemic for the organization. Firstly, by this pandemic disruption organization has to revisit their healthiness. Have we operated in the most efficient ways? Are we lean enough to go and agile for these unpredictable changes? Do we have the best-fit team? Difficultness will lead us to see internally who we are and how we work. Something that has easily been overlooked in the normal situation.

Secondly, it is important to realize if pandemic has reset the game of employee value proposition (EVP). Previously some physical factor on EVP such as Office location, office facilities, work environment are really matters, but now seems useless as people preferred to work remotely for their safety. Now we are also in the mid of virtual organization, where new initiative setup virtually; with virtual job fair, virtual onboarding, virtual meeting, virtual training, e-separation, etc. Small company in the sub-urban location might in par with big company in the prime location now, where candidates might see them at the same level. Even for some people, they are willing to have less salary in exchange of their safety. Furthermore some company with high-end facility in their office might just empty now as employee prefer to work remotely from their preferred location. All facilities might not become people first consideration for now and company who previously was very pride with their fascinating meeting room/hall now has moved to limitless virtual meeting rooms. Are we still in the top of game? It has been reset now.

What’s next?

Aligning HR strategy with business strategy is always a mandatory action. Even in my personal opinion it is the best time for HR leaders to take a lead through various HR initiatives, change management and organization transformation.Let’s start with revisit our HR strategy where we can start with an important question; how we can operate the business in the most efficient and effective ways while in the same time we could also improving the value propositionin this post pandemic situation? Moreover we can also revisit our HR budget, allocation, spending or even revisit the organization model and manpower. Do we have the best and agile organization to face another VUCA? Have we invested in the right things? Have we competitive enough on the new normal EVP? Here the organization maturity level will also determine the need of changes, just ensure that our organization are agile to adapt the situation, not like a dinosaur.

Adapting Virtual Life

We can expect pandemic will over soon but believe me if work remotely will remain and preferable. What organizations need to do is accepting virtual life as the new normal work environment. For some industry it might not relevant for now but potentially become the game changer if you can take the first mover advantage in your industry. Virtual Job fairs, ATS and online interview will be very familiar to do, virtual onboarding experience will also become important stage of an employee journeys, LMS and virtual training also replacing the limited classroom capacity, chat-bot will relevant for HR services and self-service app with geofencing and facial recognition ability will also being use globally.The seamless employee experience will be very relevant to be discussed in any HR forums.

Work-Life Harmony

It will also become a trend, where most organization try to harmonize their employee productivity with their personal life. It will be challenging situation for employees, hence organization need to proactively support their team with some new flexibility and tolerances. In the meantimePerformance Management System will play a pivotal role to measure individual contribution and ensure the optimum productivity.As we need more people with self-starter attribute who can work with minimum supervision as per their given goals. Leadership levels also need to adopt some technology which can assist them in monitoring and controlling their team performance. With the increase of work-life harmony, the artificial Intelligent (AI) will also become basic required feature for any organization in the future.

Employee Engagement

Employee engagement will be in a risk if we are just focusing on the virtual life. As people tend to work independently, they are still a human who need social interaction and emotional touch. Here HR team need to enhance their ability and adopting some broadcasting skillset, and no wonder in the future HR event, teambuilding and year-end party will conducted via online. We can save and reallocate huge accommodation and traveling budget as we can conduct virtual event globally at the same time.Human interaction might transforminto digital format thru company social media channel where employee interaction and recognition can be delivered virtually.

At the end, we are live in a borderless world, geographically, professionally, and personally. This pandemic and the new technology might dramatically change our organizational landscape or even our personal life. One thing should remain is our sense of humanity, to prove ourselves as human being.

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