Building employee engagement models through virtual modes, the next big thing for HR leaders to explore


The world has witnessed radical changes because of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. This disruption has made all companies to keep the health and safety of their employees as a top priority. Whether the situation is a setback or an opportunity to reboot, depends upon the levels of insulation that the organisations have secured.

TimesJobs spoke to
Satyanarayanan Visvanathan; SVP & Head – HR (Global), Corporate Quality & SSQA, CSS Corp on how COVID-19 pandemic is changing the HR landscape.

What dramatic shifts has COVID-19 pandemic caused in the HR landscape?

A major shift witnessed during this period is the overarching work from home policy. None of us had imagined that remote working will be feasible in such a short span, that too worldwide. However, there are significant challenges and the industry needs to be equipped to handle them tactfully. According to a recent survey by Ernst & Young, 72% of organisations believe that the impact of this pandemic will be felt beyond six months or even more. The single biggest concern for continued remote working is a potential fall in productivity. It is time for HR leadership to recalibrate their priorities and communication. Building collaborative workspaces, digital HR practices, and deeper connections with employees based on trust and empathy are essential.

In the wake of COVID-19, what are the three ways that the future of jobs will change?

Companies across the globe have already integrated collaborative work tools across virtual environments in several business functions. This is one way to leverage talent pool that cuts across geographical boundaries. The second way is through increasing the adoption of collaborative tools, virtual meetings, and online work platforms. The third way would be enterprises seeking to enhance their agility in dealing with business continuity situations in the future.

What kind of professionals and skills will be in demand by organisations post COVID-19 lockdown?

Organisations place a weightage on good communication skills of employees. Now, there will be more emphasis on virtual communication skills. Along with technical skills, employees should enhance their soft skills considering that a lot of interactions are going to be virtual. High levels of familiarity and expertise with digital and collaborative tools will be critical. Apart from IQ levels, a focus on EQs levels will also be important so that leaders can interact with the employees at that level. Professionals will be evaluated based on their priorities toward team collaboration and work-life balance.

Mention the key trends that will drive the HR space in the coming years?
The HR space is constantly evolving, and it is evident that digital technologies will be playing an integral role. The lockdown and social distancing regulations have forced organisations to quickly switch over to a work-from-home model, which they would not have envisaged earlier. This model would gain further momentum in the future. Video conferencing would be further leveraged considering the time and cost gains. The broadening of talent pool availability because of the offsetting of geographical constraints will be a significant advantage to look for. Companies will pioneer engagements and foster connections that are more online, social, and virtual. Building employee engagement models as well as identifying behavioral and operational issues through virtual modes will be another avenue that HR teams will explore.



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