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HR In Times of Crisis: A Guide to Available Solutions

It’s not an easy time to be an HR leader.  COVID-19 abruptly and unexpectedly disrupted the workforce, driving drastic and immediate changes to the way business is done.  George Floyd’s shocking death has sparked overdue and tough conversations about racial inequalities.  HR leaders’ minds are spinning with questions:

  • How do we support employee well-being during crises?
  • What are the best ways to address race and inequality at work?
  • How do I plan for my employees to safely return to the workplace?
  • How do I communicate and engage with my dispersed team?
  • What should I consider when evaluation long-term work from home options?
  • What does the “new normal” look like?

These only begin to touch on all the considerations that employers and HR leaders must address.  There certainly aren’t simple answers to these challenges, and needs vary widely based on company demographics, location, industry, and many other factors 

Here at Shortlister, we are passionate about understanding the solutions available to address needs in the HR and employee benefits market.  We have the privilege to partner with solution providers, insurance brokers, HR consultants and employers of all sizes.  Through this unique lens we’ve identified a number of solutions which have emerged to address these challenges or resurged in importance due to recent events.   

COVID-19/Return to Work Solutions: 

The number one priority for most employers when contemplating a return to the workplace is safety. Beyond the immediate COVID-19 health concerns, employers need to ensure their employees remain healthy – both physically and emotionally – as we continue to navigate the “new normal.  Many solutions exist to support these efforts: 

  • onsite temperature screenings 
  • antigen & antibody testing
  • self-reporting symptom checker apps 
  • childcare support resources 
  • EAP and mental well-being tools 
  • flu vaccinations 
  • healthcare/benefit concierge services 

Long-Term WorkfromHome Tools: 

While the novelty of WFH may have worn off, the reality is that this grand experiment of forced remote work will have a permanent impact on the way many of us do our jobs. There are myriad considerations for employers, from engaging a dispersed workforce to ensuring productivity to accomplishing hiring and performance management activities from afar.  We’re seeing a high demand for solutions such as: 

  • employee engagement and collaboration platforms 
  • employee monitoring and tracking software 
  • ergonomic and musculoskeletal solutions 
  • virtual training and coaching procedures 
  • learning & development and performance management technology 
  • video interviewing solutions 
  • virtual event capabilities and video conferencing  
  • cloud storage platforms 

Social Justice Education & Resources: 

A historic number of corporations and business leaders are speaking out in the wake of our country’s most recent crisis over racism and police brutality.  The messages are seemingly heartfelt, with promises to address issues within their own workforce as well as working to effect change in society. It’s time to move beyond vague promises and focus on real systemic change.  Companies are considering: 

  • diversity & inclusion training and workshops 
  • analytics tools such as pay equity tests and representation assessments  
  • talent acquisition solutions focused on diversity and removing unconscious bias 
  • volunteer time allowance 
  • employee charitable giving programs 
  • ethics hotlines 
  • Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) consulting 

We don’t have a crystal ball to see how the workforce will change as a result of this extraordinary time in our history.  However, we firmly believe that organizations that deliver strong leadership with empathytransparency, and honesty will be best positioned to lead their businesses out of crisis.