28 May 2020 16:10 IST

Key strengths to acquire in challenging times

Constant engagement and motivational strategies are significant human resource approaches now

Human resources, as a profession, has consistently ranked high on the list of best career options, taking into account the growth, financial benefits, freedom for innovation, and flexibility offered. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has caused a massive shift in how people across the globe are working.

While adapting to the new normal from home, and given the emotional stress on account of job insecurity, employees at such times require a unique way of being approached. Constant engagement and effective motivational strategies are more significant for human resources than ever before. Being in the midst of this never-seen-before event, here are a few key skill-sets that are essential for human relations at times like these.

Adopt innovative, fresh approach

Covid-19 has forced human resource leaders to re-imagine the workplace and how employees communicate with one another. This is a good time to take a fresh look at all practices and processes across the employee life cycle. It is important to think beyond the set of barriers to manage the remote workforce and design an employee experience that is relevant to the current situation, which is still evolving. For instance, finding ways to be able to do more with less, as all companies would want to optimise costs and resources during these tough times.

Understanding data and HR tech to solve people problems

Gone are the times when technology and human resources worked independently. As organisations are adapting to work remotely, human resources needs to be well-equipped with advanced technology to connect more effectively with the workforce. Right from recruitment to employee engagement and exit interviews, any employee connect is presently conducted virtually.

Human resources needs to be able to not only explore the wide range of AI solutions available but also design a process that complements the technology to suit the requirement of the workforce. These tools can also enable smart decision-making concerning resourcing and realignment of resources — who can be quickly upskilled or cross-skilled based on the detailing of their competencies.

Comfort with uncertainty and ability to adapt

In times like these, where the future is nothing short of ambiguous, human resource teams must be well-equipped to change course quickly to adapt to the diverse situations that may arise. Today, HR needs to be able to be prompt in anticipating changes and co-creating multiple scenarios in planning the future and for business continuity.

Active listening and communicating with empathy

The quality of empathy is a versatile, multi-dimensional skillset that enables human resource professionals to not only develop but also sustain positive workplace relationships in the long term. It helps them to earn and maintain the trust of employees, foster diversity and inclusion, encourage collaboration and teamwork, and address conflict management.

Today, in times where people are dealing with stress and anxiety beyond comprehension, it is important that human resources go beyond their normal role and provide them a work environment that understands their concerns and is empathic towards their feelings. In line with this, human resources needs to be able to design engagement frameworks to address a range of solutions from well-being — physical and mental — to communication touch points with leaders, easing cross-functional collaboration.

(The writer is Head, Human Resources, InterMiles.)