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The Impact COVID-19 Has Had on the HR Industry in 2021

There is no doubt that the HR industry was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst many departments will return to work largely the same as they left it, HR has had its workload added to drastically.

In many ways, a HR department is the backbone of any business, and as such, crucial to their ongoing success. Here’s how the role has changed over the last year and how it has adapted to all the new technology in the digital age.

The Change in an HR Role

Whereas before, HR literally just was for inner company management, the role has evolved more in the last year than it had over the previous decade.

More than ever, leaders within business expect HR to be on top of their game, even if they’re already at max capacity.

Even issues and roles that were common within HR and 2019, have become almost irrelevant from 2020. Likewise, advancements and trends that were seen as a future point, have been brought forward to the current.

These days, the role of a HR worker has changed drastically, and seems to have gotten to the point of no return, in terms of business working practices.

More Virtual Recruitment and Onboarding

Although a lot of workplaces had to close for a while, not all did. Some of those that closed were still operating in some capacity too. What this meant, was that new employees still needed to be hired.

Due to government rules and restrictions, you couldn’t simply invite someone into your workplace, if it was open, for an interview. Of course, this was for safety reasons, but they had to find ways around it.

One of these ways was via virtual video calls. Platforms such as Zoom were the preferred choice when it came to interviewing applicants, as they offered stable connections and easy invites via email.

Even when they were then offered the job, oftentimes HR also then had to complete the onboarding process once they were brought in. Traditionally, it may have been the departments they were joining that would take part in the onboarding process, but HR has had to takeover a lot of roles recently.

Dealing with Outgoing Employees

Of course, as well as dealing with incoming employees, HR departments also have to deal with outgoing employees. This can be handled in a number of different ways, but we have seen an increase in outgoing employees over the last year.

For a lot of employees, they didn’t have much say in how this was handled, as the financial crisis and impact of COVID-19 affected businesses across the UK. As such HR departments often had to be the first point of contact for employees in regards to business update.

In some cases, employees spoke more with HR about developments to help them return to work than they did their own bosses.

HR also had to find ways to handle the mass outgoings. One of the kindest and most effective ways to do so, was to use an outplacement support business, such as Randstad RiseSmart. They provide businesses with a clear line of sight for results, aimed to empower HR. For them, they believe in using the fees paid effectively, investing 100% of them into services that pay off.

Becoming IT Experts

With many HR professionals having to work at home, sometimes even out of their kitchen, they had to be able to adapt. What this led to, was HR people having to learn all things IT and technology.

Not only did they have to do this to keep up to date with a work schedule, but they had to implement technology for people within the business. Such as when they had to set up zoom meetings for departments, find new ways to send out payslips, and other such HR tasks.

Whilst becoming an expert, they’ve had to become trainers too, teaching everyone how to use the new technology, apps and adjust everyone to what became the new normal.

Returning Employees Back to Work

Usually, the task of bringing employees back into work would have been a HR department issue anyways, but it was very rare it needed doing. Usually, this only refereed to being out of the business for long periods of time, such as after conceiving a child, long-term illnesses or any other private matters.

What HR had to quickly learn, was how to bring back an entire business back into work. At some businesses, they were the only department running, which meant they had their work cut out for them.

The added complication, was that HR had to teach new safety measures and explain how the process worked. They had to relay government information and send out guides on returning to the workplace.

HR was also in charge of checking with all employees who returned if they felt safe, on a regular basis. This was done via surveys emailed out, or daily sheets that were filled out.

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