Industry Voice: HR leaders need to be empathetic towards their workforce amid the COVID crisis


The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the entire economy to the back foot. These unprecedented times have caused ripples in various business models and, challenged some of the most well established workplaces policies and processes.

TimesJobs spoke to
Shailesh Singla, Country Head & Senior Director – HCM Business, Oracle India about the how HR leaders are leading the transformations amid the COVID crisis.

Ques: What advice would you give to the HR leaders to cope up with the impact of the current difficult times?
Ans:
We all are living in unprecedented circumstances. My first and foremost advice for HR leaders is to trust their teams and try to be more empathetic towards the workforce. Be available for them at a pre-designated time and lend a sympathetic ear to their problems. The second piece of advice will be to work the right technology is in place to enable people to carry out their work seamlessly in a collaborative environment. This situation is like a litmus test for HR teams, they need to work closely with the management and the employees and to play the role of the cohesive force that can keep an organisation together in today’s trying times.

Ques: What investments in HR are most necessary in terms of technology that will allow a company to thrive in the next normal?
Ans:
We do not know how the next normal will look like. However, we can one thing with surety is that the next normal will be more technology heavy. I do not foresee people going back to old ways of working – working remotely will be more prevalent and there will be more demand for technology which can ease whole HR processes starting from the first round of interviews, onboarding, applying for leave, appraisals till exit interview. The end to end digitisation of HR function would also mean, that HR will have more time on their hands to do more value-adding activities, instead of doing reams of paperwork.


Ques:What have you found to be the single toughest challenge in this situation?


Ans:The single toughest challenge in current situation is to be persevering and wait for the new normal to emerge, while dealing with the new situations emerging almost on daily basis. With everyone working remotely, the lack of physical proximity has added to the gravity of the problem. Since, we all are working and meeting virtually, we need to find solace with technology only. One of our customers, UST Global wanted to implement a complete incident tracking and prevention set up for their employees. They are using Workforce Health and Safety solution in extending support to their employees.

Ques:How should an organisation rethink its talent strategy so that it has the people it will need when the recovery starts?

Ans: There is an old adage – Nothing is constant, but change. The changing times call for change in the way we live our lives. People will continue to be the most valuable asset for any business. No business can survive without dedicated and qualified workforce. However, technology will also be a part of the workforce in the form of AI, RPAs etc. So, the new talent strategy will be a re-aligned amalgamation of technology and people, with more tilt towards the former. This is the time, when organisations need to sit together to chalk out a plan, to survive and thrive in the new normal. The new normal will be with more remote working or gig economy – where people work at more than one place. The only strategy right now, is to sit tight with a well thought, yet fluid plan and sail through the difficult times.



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