Let’s face it, it’s your people who are helping your company thrive.
And right now, during these crazy times of economic uncertainty – to thrive is to survive.
Quickly kicking out a timely survey recently, The Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA, Toronto) spoke to 1,107 HR professionals from organizations of varied sizes, sectors and industries from across Ontario. Their goal was to track the scale of change HR professionals are dealing with because of Covid-19.
- 40% were able to provide work-from-home options
- 34% introduced policies and expectations about workload for remote workers
- 48% are providing unique mental health supports
- 53% have implemented a hiring freeze
- 52% have changed approaches to on-boarding
Another survey in the United States found that, “HR professionals are facing COVID-19 related challenges head-on by navigating an unfamiliar legal landscape, new technologies, and safety concerns to ensure their company and employees stay afloat.”
- 44% of HR professionals say their company is still hiring new employees
- 15% reported positive outcomes of the pandemic, such as increased demand for a product or service
- 26% report feeling little to no effect of the pandemic on their business operations (wow, lucky them! LOL)
- BUT, 60% report experiencing anywhere from negative effects to “devastation” as a result of the pandemic.
What those surveys show is that long before a crisis strikes, you’d better have your HR ducks in a row, the right people running the department, and plans and policies signed off on and ready to run with.
We talk a lot about building out corporate infrastructure, most importantly digital infrastructure, that sort of thing. But more and more companies, large AND small, are realizing just how important it is to invest time, energy, and real emotional intelligence in your people.
Let’s hear more from Life Works Well’s Helen Patterson.
HR and Small Business – Errors, Blocks and Taking a Pause
“When I worked with some entrepreneurs that are just starting out, they’re so focused on the day to day business and growing sales. And whether it’s developing product or providing services, they’re so into the weeds and wearing a lot of hats as business owners. So, I think what’s happening is they’re making these decisions on the fly. Then they realize, ‘Wow, we’re getting all this revenue, and we’re growing and oh, maybe we better hire someone to help out because I can’t do it all.’ There’s that little bit of panic mode. In a way it’s exhilarating. But it’s exhausting at the same time, trying to be the finance person and the HR person and the tech person, right? I think what happens is they forget to take a little bit of a pause. And say, ‘Okay, well, where are we going with the business? Have I taken the time as a leader to think through not only what my business plans are for growth, but how I’m going to hire people?’ or ‘What am I going to do on my ‘people side’ to help me grow and do it in a methodical way.’ So that’s what I see often. And then they come to the point of who is the first person I hire? And they don’t often even know the whole hiring process! They’re trying to do it and figure it out on their own and maybe that’s not always a good use of their time and energy.”
Let the Pros Do Their Thing!
“There’s just not a lot of knowledge about human resources. What’s human relations? And I think that often what happens is that there isn’t the thought process that goes into ‘how do I align people I’m going to bring into what my growth plans are in my vision?’ And so what usually happens is it’s only when something terrible occurs or you get a human rights complaint or you botch hiring an employee or you’re just not able to retain people as you’re growing. Then leaders all of a sudden are saying, ‘Oh, wait a minute, something’s off here – Why is this not working out for me? And then you might see some conflict. What I tried to do is really have these leaders think about what’s going to help them grow? Not just financially but reputation wise, and to ‘How do I make this experience less painful for me?’ Because there is reputation, and there’s liability associated with the ‘people side’, right. And often, we don’t even see that unless there’s a lawsuit. A lot of things get settled behind closed doors. There’s a lot of time and energy wasted. There’s a lot of lack of productivity, and then there’s the financial expense that goes into poor employee relations.”
Good, Actionable Ideas
“If I was to list things that you could look at, one would be really making sure that you understand your business mission, vision values, whether you want to call it. How are you going to align that people strategy and who you’re bringing in, methodically, like you said, to your growth strategy. Make sure you have Action Plans for people. So they know what their role is, how they contribute set goals quarterly, monthly, weekly – but they can be flexible. We’re in an agile world, you might have to shift it the next quarter, but you’re having dialogue about it and process around that. People do like to have an idea of where they’re going. Get back to some basics – how are you communicating? I mean, it’s pretty tough right now if there’s work from home and hopefully you have some zoom or phone calls, but even when we return back to work physically – what’s the communication like? Often internal communications are lacking. Walk the talk, be open and transparent. Plus, technology – emailing someone at 10 o’clock and expecting them to answer? Well, maybe in a crisis, if you had certain rules or you’re on 24/7, but don’t expect everybody to respond. This whole zoom fatigue people are talking about right now, where it is like from a neuroscience perspective, your brain can be impacted – all that eye contact is actually not normal, right? Like in a physical meeting, you can see cues. It’s kind of interesting. But you know, definitely looking at how tech can be an enabler and help the business versus something that’s creating more stress.”
Oh. Yes. We KNOW Zoom fatigue! LOL
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