By Simon Kent
The most challenging aspect of “the new normal” for businesses is that “normal” is really an ever-changing scenario rather than a firm and steady prospect. The easing of the COVID-19 lockdown is certainly not a linear experience—there are differences between countries and fluctuations in the level of restrictions imposed. This presents HR with yet more challenge, particularly in identifying the talent it needs and how that talent can work, as well as ensuring every employee, whether an old hand or new start, feels a part of the dispersed workplace.
In this issue of HRO Today EMEA, we have started the process of identifying which aspects of HR have changed for good and which are perhaps the more temporary, adaptable issues for the function. Where can stability be found for businesses and the people who work for them? What will be the ongoing challenges for employers and how will HR maintain its sometimes newfound and certainly newly appreciated role as the guide and strategist for the business?
The impact of COVID-19 has been so devastating and so encompassing that there can surely be no silver lining. But the crisis has shown that people are what makes a company. They don’t just contribute to its success or mediocrity—they are the company. As such, HR should not need to argue over the importance of its role ever again.
But if that is true, HR must also step up to the challenge. It cannot deliver anything less than what its businesses and people need, whether that’s health support programmes, technology, or strategy for the future. Concerned with both the general, broad brush issues of their businesses and the personal, individual requirements of every employee, the challenge for HR is immense, but it can and will be done.