COVID-19 pandemic has certainly transformed the way of life for most which influences countries, societies, companies and individuals to reconsider about the way they live and work. Today, crisis is not new situation for any organization, however Covid-19 pandemic created unexpected challenges of unequalled proportion even for adaptive and crisis -preparedness organizations. Throughout the world, organizations that more specifically affected hard with the hit of pandemic are experiencing threats to their survival and vivacity.
Human resource management (HRM) is mostly placed at the fundamental of this chaos due to the impact of COVID-19 towards employees and the need of organization to ensure priority of employees’ health and safety as well as the need to adapt employees in a new setting. Health and safety of employees will contribute to better productivity, higher quality of work, improved workforce morale and decreased employee turnover rates and overall leads to quality of life (Ahmad, Saltar and Nawaz, 2016).
As HR deal with dilemmas on how to keep employees safe and informed, there are some takeaways that can be guide the employers to navigate this pandemic situation;
Practice up to date with accurate information
It is tough for an employer to develop proper decisions due to huge numbers of inaccurate information based on fake news, rumours, individual assumptions and perceptions. Therefore, it is essential for an employer to stay up to date with current news and facts which helps to make a better decision. So, employers should monitor official information platform such as government advisories and the World Health Organization (“WHO”) website and make sure the information retrieved is correct with the right facts. Besides, employers also need to be updated their employees with accurate information regarding benefits, pay, work situation and etc.
Speak up with your employees
Employers should speak up openly and frequently with their employees so that they have the proper needed information which helps to keep themselves updated and aware about the covid-19 issues. It should not assume that all the employees will be educated with proper channel of reliable information. Putting everyone in the same page will reduce uncertainty message or information provided from reliable sources. Furthermore, employees need to know about their work condition, salary, benefits and how the organization will protect and support their well -being. Open and timely information will help to build trust and decreases spread of fake information that may leads to anxiety in the workplace.
Employers should understand that this pandemic added stressful situation for all parties including employees. Therefore, it is essential to identify that employee have different needs based on their conditions such as those working parents with school -age children may need more time off as classes are shifted to online platforms. This time of ambiguous circumstances will pass but employees will remember how they have been treated by their employers after the hazard of virus disappeared. A dissatisfied employee may try to spread negativity to the world on the way of employer treated them badly. This may affect the organization image and reduce the chances to attract and retain talent.
Provide employees with emotional support to work remotely and raise concerns
Employers should provide a safe platform in order to support employees concern about their aspects related to work from emotional strain and mental health to the danger of having contracted Covid-19. This is not only to develop a good employee relation but also helps to diagnose early detection and finding ways to curb the spread of virus and also overcome mental health issues due to emotional strain. Further, when remote work and family life collides, employees face difficulties to handle stress that comes from both roles. According to Cecilia Tse, Wellbeing Strategy Leader, PwC stated, “We are committed to helping build our people’s wellbeing and we define this to include their physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. This statement demonstrates the importance of employees’ well-being since they are dealing with anxiety due to pressure of work life balance and Covid-19 pandemic.
Successful employees are trusted by their employers
For decades, employees succeed in a situation where they are supported by employers by given the authority in how they perform work and provided regular constructive feedback. As transition from traditional way of working in the office to work from home has put much pressure towards employees which leads to insecure condition due to trust related issues. It is important for employers instil confidence towards their employee and care about their work and understand that they will perform to the best of ability even there is no one monitor over their shoulder. So, employers should prevent micromanage their employees and start to trust and support through effective collaborations.
The bottom line is that the Covid-19 pandemic is shifting the nature of work as we know it and these transition will likely to be continue even after the virus disappeared from this world. Therefore, HR professionals and employers need to prepare their employees to embrace the work-related opportunities provided by the organization in order to curb the Covid-19 pandemic situation.
Head of Programme (HRM), Lecturer, Albukhary International University, Malaysia
Malaysia, Penang, Bombuflat
Below is details about myself :
Name : Dr. Kamalesh d/o Ravesangar
Country : Malaysia
Area of Expertise : Human Resource Management, Human Resource Development, Organizational Behavior
University : Albukhary International University
Short Biography : Dr.Kamalesh Ravesangar is a Lecturer with over seven years of experience in teaching Certificate, Diploma, Degree, and MBA students from various social and cultural backgrounds at private colleges and universities. Currently, she works as Head of Programme (HRM) and Lecturer at Albukhary International University in Malaysia. Moreover, she has a total of three years of experience in industries related to educational, manufacturing, recruitment, and engineering. A subject matter expert in human resource management, human resource development, management and organisational behavior studies. She has published articles and reviewed articles in online journal publications. She has excellent administrative, verbal communication, research, and written skills, along with creative and effective teaching methods that develop stimulating learning environments. She holds a Phd (doctorate) and a Master’s degree in Organisational Behavior and Human Resource Management.