2020 began with the unfortunate outbreak of COVID-19, and is turning out to be an uncertain and challenging year in every way imaginable. As health hazards soar in the pandemic, the blow is equally hard on the global economy that lost almost USD 3 trillion to the crisis.
Talent leaders are not only having to make courageous decisions everyday but are also being pushed to live by new rules and ways without losing a day in ensuring employee safety and protecting business continuity.
At Darwinbox, we realised we are not just responsible to safeguard our own business and workforce, but also our extended workforce - the 850,000 employees from our customer orgs that we support through our tech. For us the last few months have been all about helping these organisations change their ways of work, workplace along with establishing governance policies and workflows that can help closely monitor and control the situation.
In the process, we realised that sharing our learnings from the practices we implemented can help multiple other organisations prepare themselves better against the impending threat. Here are 20 changes that HRs can drive by investing in an intelligent HR tech during COVID to help you balance the interest of your business as well as the safety of your people.
Align the entire org on policy updates:
Mandate Digital Sign-off on CORONA Safety Guidelines Policy:
Create your own Corona Safety Guidelines and update it in your policies, making it mandatory for all your employees to read it thoroughly and then sign-off the policy.
Organise Your COVID Policy Folder:
Update your HR policies section to include COVID Safety Guidelines, Remote Work Guidelines, Business Continuity Process, Change in Leave Policies etc. Organise all COVID related policies in an individual folder for easy access.
Leverage digital notice boards on your intranet / org-wide social network to communicate advisory, directives prescribed and new policy changes done to ensure employee safety. Notify employees about these communications through app/web and email.
Enforce 100% Update of Personal Contact Details:
Mandate capture of employee personal contact details and emergency contact number so that you can reach them in case of any emergency. Check the current availability of this data and drive internal communications fiercely to make them update this information on your HR tech platform.
Monitor travels effectively:
Mandate Declaration of Past Travel:
Initiate a survey for your employees on a weekly basis to find out their past and planned future travel. Capture place of travel, mode of travel, accompanied by, etc to assess the need for quarantine. You can extend this to capture family members' travel as well to contain the spread of the virus by tracking your employee movements.
Add Additional Approvers for Business Travel:
Add additional approvals for business critical travel using your HR tech platform. It is highly recommended to include HODs and HRs in this approval flow to avoid running any risks and gauging the cost of damage.
Mandate Prior Approval of Face-to-Face Meetings with External Stakeholders:
Encourage employees to declare and seek approval before joining any face-to-face meetings with an external stakeholder. In a workflow capture the criticality of the meeting along with past travel history of the stakeholder before approving.
Review, revise ways of work and attendance:
Replace Biometric For Attendance Capturing:
Enable employees to mark their attendance using mobile check-in/ web-check-in / geo-check-in with facial recognition instead of using biometric to restrict contact with mass equipment and promote touch free attendance system.
Update Leave Policies:
Enable special leaves (that can be approved by the HR team upon request by employees) or additional paid leaves to cover any quarantine, isolation or unfortunate detection of cases amongst your employees under COVID.
Amend Work from Home Policies:
Change the maximum limit for work from home to let employees self-quarantine so that isolation helps in stopping the exponential spread of the virus; across locations.
Empower employees to stay productive in WFH mode:
Enable Timely Requisitions to Facilitate Uninterrupted Remote Working:
Let employees request for needed infrastructure like VPN Access/ Conference Call Inventory / Wifi Dongles through requisition workflows to facilitate uninterrupted virtual work mode. This will not only assure your employees of your intent to support them but will also ensures high levels of productivity.
Make Peer Contact Details Accessible for Better Collaboration:
Working Remotely during COVID? Make employee’s contact details visible on the HR portal to make it easy for employees to reach out and collaborate with their peers while working remotely.
Equip yourself to resolve employee needs faster:
Prioritise Resolution of COVID Queries:
Create a category for COVID queries on your HR Helpdesk and ensure faster SLA for requests received under this category. You can have a dedicated resource to work on resolving these questions.
Empower Your Workforce to Stay Healthy:
Enable a workflow or a helpdesk category for employees to request for any health supplies for their corresponding offices or teams like sanitizers, masks, etc.
Cover for Unexpected Emergency Through Salary Advances:
In the wake of COVID, support your employees in case of any unforeseen circumstances by enabling a clear and swift process for salary advance processing. Build trust and loyalty amongst your employees by having their back in uncertain times.
Engage your New Incumbent Employees digitally:
Move Your Onboarding Online:
Let your onboarding effectiveness not take a hit by going virtual on joining day formalities. Also, leverage your LMS to provide e-training to make them effective by the day that the business needs them.
Prep your Employees through LMS:
Utilise your LMS to its optimum capacity for video based learning on safety and precautions against COVID for your employees and managers. Make your managers undergo crisis management training to help them be prepared to handle any hysteria or unforseen problem.
Practice Continuous Feedback Liberally During WFH:
Empower employees to be guided and appreciated through continuous feedback while working virtually. This will ensure the day-to-day exchange of feedback on work doesn't get missed; during remote working.
Motivate & Recognise:
Enable rewards to engage and motivate employees working from home for effective communication and faster SLAs to boost business continuity while yielding high trust and productivity. This can help avoid the drop in motivation levels during prolonged virtual work mode.
Track Project Progress Remotely:
Utilise performance journals to record status of critical goals and projects to highlight employee wins as well as hurdles during the virtual work mode so that nothing goes unresolved and unrecognised. This will help assess productivity better and keep your workforce motivated to go that extra mile.
When it comes to implementing the different HR policies to businesses in India, a sound HR Tech can help you discover the best solutions to ensure business continuity while safeguarding employee wellbeing during COVID. The road is long, but we hope these pointers will help your HR leaders fight COVID bravely and effectively.
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