Points of frustration for HR during COVID-19
XpertHR Survey Results 2021
The response of the HR community to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been to put people first, while also supporting business continuity during exceptional circumstances. It is unsurprising then, that wellbeing tops the priority poll for the profession for the coming year, coupled with employee engagement.
HR professionals told us that they had to deal with many frustrations when trying to drive their response to the pandemic. These have centred on four areas:
- Lack of clarity on the complex guidance issued by the Government, sometimes at short notice. HR had to interpret, implement and be the point of information for this within the organisation.
- Increased workload as a result of having to juggle existing tasks on top of responding to COVID-19, with no appreciation of the extra work created and covered.
- Concerns around the consequences of a lack of day-to-day interaction with colleagues and employees as a result of remote working or social distancing while in the workplace.
- Tensions between HR and senior management teams around priorities. HR told us that leaders were, at times, lacking in concern around the impact of the pandemic on employees, which has led to more issues around engagement, wellbeing and productivity.
Looking forward for 2021 and beyond, the participants anticipated their focus being on:
– a continuing emphasis on employee wellbeing and dealing with Covid;
– addressing the future balance of flexible and hybrid home/office working, as more people returned to the office through the Autumn and early Winter; and
– with rapidly emerging and widespread, intensifying labour shortages, a greater emphasis on and investment in learning and development, so as to ‘grow more of our own’.
They also foresee a stronger future emphasis on diversity and inclusion policies, so as to better meet their staffing needs for growth and to address the growing emphasis on fairness emerging from the highly unequal health and economic experiences of the pandemic.
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