Human Resources Manager during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Corona Virus pandemic has impacted every career and occupation worldwide. Nearly every employee has had to adapt to a different type of work environment and in many cases new roles and responsibilities.
Some careers, particularly those that involve serving or assisting people, are undergoing dramatic changes. This is particularly true of Human Resources Management. Human Resource Managers are often at the forefront of changes in policies and procedures as well as meeting the changing needs of employees.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the workplace – social distancing, remote work policies, furloughs, employee benefits and the mental health of employees are just some of the new obstacles faced by Human Resource Managers.
Fortunately, many of the characteristics that make a great Human Resources Manager are also helpful in navigating the challenges brought on by the current pandemic.
Be a people person
As a Human Resource Manager, working with people is the job. A thorough understanding of the field and the company’s procedures and policies is important, but not enough to make one a great manager during trying circumstances.
Great Human Resources Managers are not only comfortable with a wide range of people, they are able to read them well and communicate with them.
These are trying times for many and emotions may run high. It is necessary that the Human Resources Manager be someone that employees feel they can come to.
The Human Resource Manager must also be able to read between the lines; attending to verbal and non-verbal body language. Each employee will handle stress differently and experience the pandemic in their own way. It is the role of the Human Resource Manager to recognize and acknowledge these variances in a way that makes the employee comfortable.
Any managerial position requires the ability to communicate well with others. Human Resources is no exception and this skill is particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To excel as a Human Resources Manager, it is necessary to be able to clearly convey messages and information to a variety of people in different situations. It is also imperative to be a good listener.
The pandemic has put many employees out of work and has changed the roles of many more. The Human Resources Manager needs to clearly convey these changes while listening to the concerns and questions of the employees.
Changes, particularly unexpected ones, can create confusion and chaos in a company. This can lead to miscommunication between employees; combined with high emotions, emotional stress and an increase in workplace conflict.
Good communication skills also include the ability to discuss difficult subjects calmly and be able to resolve conflicts efficiently. This means not only discussing the pandemic but also the impact it has on each employee individually. A great Human Resources Manager will be able to convey the necessary information and changes, even when the information may be ill-received.
Uncompromised ethics are important in most careers. It is not uncommon for a company or governing body to have its own code of ethics. The ethics of a Human Resource Manager can define their greatness. During this time with divisiveness running rampant, it is more important than ever to maintain ethical standards.
Generally, the role of the Human Resource Manager often includes investigating complaints of a serious nature including sexual harassment, discrimination and fraudulent activity, as well as a host of other infractions. In order to effectively handle these issues, the Human Resource Manager’s ethics must be above reproach.
The current pandemic has increased the need for ethics in leaders of companies. A great Human Resource Manager will be honest and objective when sharing information and modifying employees. They will also be ethical in their decisions to open businesses, implement social distancing procedures, and discussing the virus and its impact.
Ethics includes not only maintaining objectivity and adhering to all company policies and procedures but also maintaining discretion and protecting the privacy of all employees while ensuring that everyone is safe.
Leadership skills are always beneficial, and right now in high demand, particularly in the field of Human Resources. A good leader inspires their employees, earns their trust, and is seen as objective and fair.
The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked fear and uncertainty in many. Good leadership is imperative to the success and continuation of any company. During the pandemic, leadership may include modelling and adhering to social distancing practices as well as any other changes in policies and procedures.
Great Human Resource Managers have leadership skills that set the tone for the rest of the staff. A personable leader with good communication skills will inspire action among all employees. During this time of transition and change, this is an invaluable skill.
As in any managerial position, critical thinking is always a necessary trait in a successful Human Resources Manager. The pandemic has created a great many novel problems that will need to be tackled by creative and resourceful Human Resource Managers.
Human Resource Managers may have to work out who works remotely and how, as well the best way to implement practices designed to keep employees healthy and safe.
Empathy goes hand in hand with being a people person and a communicator, and is a trait often found in the best Human Resources Manager. During these trying and difficult times, an empathic Human Resources Manager can be a source of stability in the work environment.
Employees may be experiencing a variety of new hardships brought on by the pandemic and be unsure of how to handle them, or how their work may be impacted.
It is important that the Human Resource Manager be empathic to these challenges and supportive in the employee’s attempts to overcome these new challenges. An empathetic and supportive work environment during difficult times will lead to more employee satisfaction later on.
These are hard and unprecedented times for everyone. Everyone is adjusting to a new normal and not knowing when or if the old way of working will ever return.
To be a great Human Resources Manager during the COVID-19 pandemic, putting forth the best effort will go a long way. Communicate clearly, admit that some answers are unknown, be a leader, maintain ethics, and do it all to the best of your ability.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been far-reaching and will likely be long-lasting. It has forced many to redefine their roles at work and brought about new challenges for all employees. A thoughtful, great Human Resource Manager can lead employees and the company through the new challenges being presented.
Gabe Nelson is a content specialist of over 7 years of experience, currently working with everythingbenefits.com Just out of high school he set off crab fishing on the Bering sea in Alaska. From there he went back home to finish his college degree at the University of Montana.