As COVID-19 continues to create a climate of uncertainty, organizations across the globe are struggling with an unprecedented crisis—and most of them are still gearing up to handle the sudden impact to business. In this critical moment, HR must serve as a partner in anticipating change and plan for the future of the business.
HR’s primary focus should be to ensure the safety of employees and customers. It is also the right time for HR leaders to recalibrate their priorities, such as focusing on managing a newly remote workforce, digitalizing the HR function, and reimagining workforce models. Any new ways of working must enable employers to maintain employee productivity, comply with legislative changes introduced by various governments, and ultimately, protest the business’s bottom line revenue by optimizing costs.
What can organizations can do to handle some of these business challenges?
- Employee safety: Organizations must assess health risks that their employees face due to COVID-19 and establish ways to mitigate these risks. They need to establish a standard system where employees can flag any safety related incident in a timely fashion
- Workforce cost optimization: Companies need to rework cost structures to address the current situation. HR leaders need to come up with innovative ways to optimize cost while minimizing impact on the workforce. One key aspect: enable remote working for employees wherever possible and leverage virtual meeting tools to stay connected.
- Legislative compliance: Organizations will need to change their policies in accordance with local laws brought forth to help employees tackle the current economic downturn. Some of these scenarios include:
- Full salary payment for furlough shutdown employees and other impacted employees to cover their healthcare benefits. In the United States, for example, the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act enables companies to provide grants to employees and earn employee retention credit
- Change in absence policies as per government directive, with the ability to provide tax credit for paid sick leaves or for healthcare costs
- Revised loan policies to provide a helping hand to employees
When navigating these challenges, HR leaders can turn to IT for solutions. Oracle’s Human Capital Management (HCM) Cloud offers a wide range of features designed to help organizations resolve HR issues by:
- Enabling employees to quickly report and manage health safety concerns with the Workforce Health and Safety module. It helps track if the workplace has adequate supplies to ensure safety and notify public authorities when necessary. Oracle is offering this module to current Oracle HCM Cloud customers for free until the pandemic is over
- Enabling a Time & Labour solutions for employees to submit their attendance remotely via a timecard so they can update their daily tasks and details on work location
- Providing a quick and flexible way to execute changes in compensation plans in compliance with local laws and notifying individual employees
- Providing agility in updating loan and absence policies
These solutions help organizations ensure that impact of the pandemic is minimized–on their employees, productivity, day-to-day operations, and bottom-line. It helps businesses operate efficiently while retaining employees and providing them with the tools they need for healthcare and safety. Wipro has enabled the above-mentioned solutions with some of our customers in North America and the Middle East to address customer business challenges around the fast-changing HR landscape and newer ways of working.
To navigate this pandemic some organizations may have to undergo a major cultural overhaul, which makes the objective even more difficult to achieve. However, the journey would be simplified with a vision for the future, a scalable solution and a partner that understands the legislative and organizational workforce policy changes required to enable HR teams to successfully navigate through these tough times.