POST COVID HR CHALLENGE
The COVID lockdown compulsion saw emergence of some interesting new and old corporate vocabulary. On one hand, some old but remote concepts like ‘work from home’ became a detested reality; some new terms like ‘waist up dressing’ for zoom calls offered a undefined kick to mundane office dressing. Monday blues blew away and Friday dressing lost sense of day. The intermingling of home and office redefined the time sense already tossed up by lockdown. Where the COVID warriors at front line experienced forced unprecedented work schedules transcending physical, emotional, mental and spiritual sanity, the corporate strategists struggled with no-schedule productivity.
Amidst the chaos, confusion and confinement, communication emerged as the most commanding contraption for COVID combatants, common people, and corporates. One of the most commendable achievements that the interdisciplinary COVID combatants displayed was the light speed with which information was disseminated, on-line trainings imparted and communication was controlled in the desired direction to make sense of an unexpected crisis situation. The common person too embraced and accepted the mindboggling new terms and concepts as if they had been a part of their vocabulary of mother tongue. The learning curve of glossary of COVID-bred words like social distancing, self-isolation, quarantine, flattening the curve, community spread, contact tracing, epidemic, pandemic, patient zero, PPE defied all learning theories and made a case in favour of cognitive adaptation in crisis. Which foot forward did the corporates take? Apart from being a subset of common people and basking in the glory of social charity in testing times, what are the new learning of corporates for the new world order?
Post COVID crisis when the world returns to the new normal, the busiest department will be the Human Resource and People Management Department. The line departments like production, supply chain may start operations in old ways, the HR department will have to rethink anew. Hiring and firing may become a secondary agenda. The primary attention will be directed towards psychological health of people, rekindling faith and optimism, keeping morales high for making up losses by motivating people to compensate for the lost productive days. The corporate goals will require the maximum acceleration not from production or marketing but from people who have to deliver the results. It will also need tweaking HR policies to align with new work rules, making unprecedented decisions, devising structures and mechanisms for work from homes, dealing with insecurities and fears of employees and redefining work place socialization norms.
Perhaps, for many of the employees entering the work world in last half century, people issues were taken for granted till the universal corona knocked at homes and locked us all in. Does this all indicate a paradigm shift towards corporate spiritualism? Is this creating a ground zero for corporates to start all over again in the desired direction of rewriting business strategies by the HR? Is this an opportunity to re-wire and realign the present conscious young generation to new work principles rooted in uncertainty, and unexpected? Is this a disruption to create critical mass of awareness for orbit shifting acceleration pointing towards technology enabled jobs with least human contact? Are we, dealing with people, ready for the next wave of challenges?