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After the COVID-19 Crisis: The Inevitable Evolution of HR [#WorkTrends]

Few global events have dramatically transformed the world of work as the COVID-19 crisis. Perhaps the most critical issue to the modern workforce, its impact will be felt for some time. Along the way, the pandemic placed our HR teams in the middle of enormous change. And today, HR departments lie at the heart of the transformation. Indeed, we’re watching and living the evolution of HR — in real-time.

While keeping dispersed teams motivated and engaged, how will HR teams keep up with the change still happening in workplaces every day? How will HR work with leadership to drive oh-so-needed successful business transformations? What will we change first… and how will we make it last?

Let’s discuss…

Our Guest: Lisa Dodman, Chief People Officer at Unit4

On #WorkTrends this week, the Chief People Officer at Unit4, Lisa Dodman, joined us to talk about the change happening in workplaces across the world and what HR departments can do to lead and enable successful business transformations. Recently, Unit 4 underwent a transformation of its own, renaming its “Human Resources” department “People Success.” All because, as Lisa said, “…we are in business for people. People Success is about putting your people first.” So who better to talk to about the inevitable evolution of HR?

I asked Lisa about the most significant challenge her People Success team has faced since the pandemic began. Lisa told us, “During a pandemic, you must have a ‘people first’ value, front-and-center. We created a focus on safety and wellbeing. We safeguarded jobs while we created practical engagement solutions. And we helped our managers recognize and help employees who may be struggling.”

“Crisis does create opportunity and we were out there, for our people and their families.”

Evolution of HR: Building a Better Normal

Lisa and I talked about Unit4s award-winning work — and further about their own transformation, including programs like “Freedom of Choice” (including limitless vacation days), “Fit4u,” and “Unit4 Kids.“ I then asked Lisa what HR can do now to build, in her words, a “better normal.” As we wonder how the post-pandemic workplace will take shape, Lisa’s answer made so much sense. 

“First, we must put wellbeing at the top of the agenda, where it is needed. Then, post-pandemic, as people return to a better normal,  HR must be able to move at speed. The work environment is still rapidly changing; this is not an easy journey.”

“Our role as People Success, or Human Resources, is important: We must help people on that journey.”

Unit4 is living their “people first” value. And I couldn’t be any more impressed. 

Is your company, as it looks ahead to a post-pandemic workplace and the evolution of HR, ready to put people first? If not, perhaps you should connect with Lisa on LinkedIn — and start a conversation of your own.

 

We thank Unit4 for sponsoring this episode of #WorkTrends!

 

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Strategies for Managing Workplace Reintegration [#WorkTrends]

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, one question has been on everyone’s minds: When can we go back to normal? Of course, many areas are seeing cases and hospitalizations drop. And more of us are getting vaccinated. So that question has become: When can we go back to work? Or, from the perspective of employers: How will the best companies safely begin the workplace reintegration process while reducing risk and taking good care of employees?

Unfortunately, this issue comes with a great deal of gray area — especially among workers that remain concerned for their safety. So on this episode of #WorkTrends, we set out to learn the answers to these questions. And we had just the right person to ask…

Our Guest: Phillip Maltin, Commercial & Employment Risk Control Attorney

Joining us on #WorkTrends this week is Phillip Maltin, a trial lawyer for litigation powerhouse Raines Feldman LLP. Phil is Chair of the firm’s Commercial & Employment Risk Control Department, which provides advice, counseling and trial representation in employment and commercial matters. 

Early in our conversation, I asked Phil a question on the minds of many business and HR leaders: Can an employee — perhaps due to a fear of catching the virus — refuse to come back to work? Phil’s answer shows us just how carefully companies must approach this and other sensitive issues:

“The employer gets to control the workplace. If they need the employee to come back, that person’s got to come back. But if the employee has a disability — an auto-immune deficiency that puts that person at greater risk to one of the COVID variants, perhaps — the employee and employer must enter the interactive process required by state and local laws.” In other words, an employer must assume there may be no two situations exactly the same — and they must be ready to take each case one at a time. Phil’s advice: Engage directly with the employee by saying:

“Let’s talk about the things we can do for you that will help you get the job done — and help you get back here safely.”

Workplace Reintegration: Focus on Respect

Phil and I went on to talk about many other elements of a successful return to work strategy, including how to handle workers who wish to stay remote. We also discussed how the harsh political landscape and headline issues like social justice and sexual harassment might impact the workplace once we’re back in the office. Phil continued to dispense solid advice:

“We must remind folks of their obligation to treat people with respect. To honor the feelings and choices of others and to support anti-harassment and discrimination policies. Go through this with the common theme of respecting each other.”

As you know, the process of workplace reintegration won’t be easy. But after listening to this important episode of #WorkTrends, please take Phil’s advice — and treat everyone with the respect they’ve earned since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Want to follow Phil’s work and benefit from more of his wisdom? Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter

 

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Coronavirus Checklist: How to Safely Return to Work [Infographic]

Once upon a time, we assembled around the office coffee machine to discuss what antics happened over the weekend. Now, of course, COVID-19 has wholly transformed our outlook on life, work, and cleanliness — and cleanliness at work. Which means that before returning to work, your company needs a Coronavirus checklist.

Returning Safely to Work: First Steps

The last year has been unsettling enough, and for many going back to work can be just as nerve-wracking. Coupled with waiting our turn for a vaccination, it’s a lot to take in.

“It’s important to know that while vaccine administration is underway, businesses still need to make sure their workplace is ready for staff to return, whenever that may be,” says Carlos Garcia, Managing Director at Total Clean. “The safety of the workforce during — and beyond — this pandemic should be at the forefront of any business owner or leader’s mind.” 

If you’re a business leader, now is the time to think about a recommissioning plan, including having a system (and when we say “system,” a checklist should do the trick) in place for recording which areas have been cleaned and at which times. Also, have qualified contractors on the ready should you have systems that need servicing. Bonus tip: Consider keeping those contractors on standby should you require emergency decontamination should someone becoming ill with Coronavirus. 

A Coronavirus Checklist

To be as prepared as possible, check out this infographic from Total Clean. Here, you’ll see what to do when it is finally time to go back to work — even if that is in shifts or cohorts to start. As many organizations have already learned, re-acclimation starts with the systems (HVAC, fire, and water) that need your attention first. You’ll also learn how to:

  • Level up on cleaning procedures
  • Look after employees
  • Reduce risk
  • Reduce touch points
  • Reinforce social distancing (even after people start to feel safe)

For even more information on preparing your workplace and workforce for the inevitable return to work, check out this guide from Total Clean. Then, make sure your company is completely ready for the return to work.

 

return to work infographic