Getting your house in order: How HR and operations work toward recovery

Getting house in order COVID-19 recovery building construction concept

Before COVID-19, the journey toward the future of work was well underway as employers sought to improve flexibility, connectivity, and the employee experience through technology. Though the last few months have been difficult, they’ve only accelerated these advancements, and it’s comforting to know many of us are going through the process of restructuring employee experiences and establishing plans for our next reality together.

One thing is certain, whatever comes next for us needs to start with a blueprint – similar to building a house.  So, what is the secret to designing a new, engaging employee experience and rebuilding employee productivity, all while dealing with an ever-changing landscape?

Now, more than ever before, it’s clear HR and operations teams are adaptingto ensure their house is in order, so to speak, practically overnight. How can we take these in-the-moment decisions and apply them more broadly to adjust our organizational practices in ways that balance reopening with employee engagement and safety?

To continue the analogy, just like how HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems are needed to turn a house into a home, components such as technology, teams, and leadership  are the connection points for an organization to operate smoothly.  So how can we combine these and other key elements to create a post-COVID-19 work experience?

You may have picked up on this already, but I think the best way to establish a framework for creating a revamped employee experience while also rebuilding employee productivity is to imagine building a house. Let me show you what I mean:

1. The foundation

Your strategies should start with having purpose-built leadership throughout your organization. Comparable to the foundation of a home, you need to have a resilient base that will withstand unpredictable and difficult conditions. Lean on your current leadership to help plan for post-COVID-19 strategies. They will help you deliver the core beliefs of the company to employees and show them how you’re prioritizing them.

Get leaders involved early to lay a proper foundation for positive change:

  • Set up a regular cadence of communication, and be honest – employees will appreciate even hard truths.
  • Show leaders how your HCM technology can facilitate that communication through multiple formats like email, text messages/SMS, mobile push notifications, and even embedded video.
  • Get leaders up to speed on how the organization is feeling – introduce them to employee spot survey results or the other methods you use to collect employee feedback.
  • Make sure leaders are tuned in to HR’s strategic priorities and that you can justify your plans to them in a clear way – doing this up front will keep them on board throughout the reopening and recovery process.

2. The structure

Just like the structure of a house requiring rough-ins, framing, and walls, the structure of an organization sits on top of your foundational elements and makes room to build out more. Planning for recovery means ensuring the structure you have in place will be a major asset in creating a safe and productive post-COVID work experience.

Having the right HCM technology will significantly support this framework. HR, payroll, and workforce management technologies are developed to support your organization’s needs, directly reducing stress and administrative hassle for you from an HR and operations perspective and for your employees.  These tools empower all levels of an organization to do meaningful, fulfilling work, increasing their productivity during trying times.

Some more specific benefits of having the right technology structure include:

  • Truly understanding your employees' skills at scale: The single source of truth an HCM system provides lets you know who your people are, recognize what they’re capable of and trust that information. Unified employee records catalog the skills and certifications of employees in various roles across your organization. Post-COVID-19 operations will require filling gaps and developing new talent within your organization. If you’re considering reskilling, upskilling, or talent sharing, unified employee records that stay intact across your HR, payroll, and workforce management processes will produce efficiencies in finding transferable skills from your existing employee base.
  • Powerful data insights to elevate your decision making: In a time of stress and repair, your HCM system’s single source of truth will also help you analyze your organization’s status on an ongoing basis and continuously improve. Proactive predictions, alerts and notifications, and personalized dashboards help employees and managers stay focused to do more with less. By using tracking methods and timesheets for specific tasks, you can make objective decisions across different parts of the business and recognize top performers in roles where they make a big impact.
  • Flexible communications for a consistent, trusted experience: Seamless communication offers a sense of trust during times of change, directly impacting employee well-being and mental health. Beyond that, effective communications in forms they’re familiar with (e.g. text, email, mobile notifications) confirming works schedules, time off, pay statement balances, or hours worked increase workplace efficiency and reduce the risk of unplanned absence. HCM technology offers solutions to help provide these consistent experiences both on and off the clock.

3. The roof

The roof completes the framework for a post-COVID-19 recovery strategy – just like it protects your house from outside elements. In our case, this means having an engaged and motivated workforce that helps organizations stay productive and manage change successfully.  How do you accomplish this in the next normal? 

  • Measure performance goals and ensure objectives can be achieved: Define fair, reachable goals for evaluating true productivity and engagement. Consider reviewing your current performance plans and measure actual performance for this calendar year against the goals they’ve been assigned in your HCM system. This exercise will help you better understand how to adjust your approach to the disruption we’ve all experienced.
  • Broadcast employee recognition and their stewardship of the organization: In uncertain times, recognition is certain to influence productivity and encourage a better workforce experience.  Your HR technology can help facilitate various forms of recognition, including:
    • Adjusting compensation models related to availability or performance
    • Socializing kudos and encouraging positive peer feedback
    • Newsletters showcasing employee of the month, simple acknowledgements, and other acts of kindness in the reopening and recovery stage

Conclusion: Operational and HR priorities can blend seamlessly to facilitate recovery

The recovery experience can be brought to life for your employees through personalized touches that change and evolve over time with their needs at heart. If you build a solid foundation coupled with a sound structure, just like a sturdy house you’ll be able to weather uncertainty while also supporting your employees, staying efficient, and maximizing productivity.