In response to the rapidly developing coronavirus outbreak and its unprecedented impact to business and employers,
i4cp has launched a series of weekly standing calls specifically for challenges facing CHROs and other senior HR leaders.
Just how different remains to be seen, but there’s no question that work will look much different when business returns to “normal,” and employees begin to return to the workplace. And organizations still have many questions to answer: Who will return to the workplace and when? Who will remain at home and why? What type of flexible work arrangements will persist and under what circumstances? And how must we look at ‘work’ differently in order to enables our companies to compete and win in this era of continuous disruption?
HR leaders discussed their strategies for answering these and many other questions on i4cp’s May 15, 2020 CHRO Action – COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Series call, where companies such as Prudential, McKesson, Wayfair and many more shared their approach to return-to-work efforts, and the lessons they’ve learned in the two months since the coronavirus pandemic arrived to fundamentally change the workplace going forward. Some highlights:
- More organizations are determining that there must be compelling reasons to bring certain employees back to the workplace, as opposed to letting these employees continue to work from home once COVID-19-related restrictions are lifted. Today’s guest speaker, Lucien Alziari, executive vice president and chief human resources officer at Prudential, addressed this topic during today’s Q&A. At Prudential, the executive leadership team is looking at how if at all the organization would benefit by bringing certain employee populations back to a physical office/work environment, and rethinking how and where work should be done, and how technology can be used differently to enable more remote work.
- Companies are working to equip leaders differently in order to lead in what is a new, highly personalized work experience. In addition to providing people-leader training focused on managing a remote team, for example, organizations are emphasizing the importance of leading with empathy, and utilizing “soft” skills to a greater degree. At Prudential, for example, “it’s humanity that’s making things right now,” says Alziari. “I might spend the first 20 minutes of a call or a meeting just asking everyone how they’re doing, how they’re really doing.”
- Organizations are evaluating how this crisis will allow them to enhance the impact that CHROs can have on their companies. In an instant poll, 89 of the more than 150 call participants answered how they are or should be using the pandemic for this purpose. The largest number (83%) said “thinking differently about how work gets done in the future,” with 67% saying the same about “taking care of our people,” and 61% indicating that “making sure we exit this crisis phase to ensure we survive and thrive” would be the biggest way to boost the impact of CHROs on their companies.
- While employers continue to evaluate which employees will be required to return to the workplace, when and why, there is an appetite among the workforce for a hybrid approach to work going forward, combining remote options with time at the office. Multiple HR leaders on today’s call noted that their HR teams are conducting employee pulse surveys designed to gauge employee sentiment around returning to the workplace and other coronavirus-related issues, and are finding that many employees would like to move forward with hybrid remote schedules.
In addition to this recording, please see these resources: