Following easing of the coronavirus measures, normal operations are returning in many areas, although many employees are still working from home. That is presenting HR departments, in particular staff development, with some big challenges.
The coronavirus pandemic and the measures imposed in response to it have given working from home a huge boost. After initial easing of the social distancing and lockdown rules, many employees are returning to the office with varying degrees of apprehension. But even after three months, half of Germany is still working from home. Many companies continue to have difficulties in providing their employees with the secure equipment they require – starting with notebooks.
Challenges for and during working from home
There are other challenges that HR decision-makers and departments must face when working from home becomes inescapable. One is to ensure, in the closest consultation possible with the works council and HR council, that employees still have a sense of belonging and direction at home and do not become isolated. Now that the measures have been eased, many are suffering from the effects of the flight to teleworking. Young people starting out on their careers, who usually fit in more quickly, suffer particularly when they must work in the narrow confines of their own four walls and long to be back in the office, as they miss the personal interaction with their colleagues.
Virtual meetings for cohesion
Many HR managers see their actual role as recruitment, talent management and staff development – areas in which the coronavirus crisis has hindered them. This often starts with the impossibility of personal meetings, since most of the workforce is working from home or unable to come in for an interview. Many of the talented people waiting to be promoted or appointed avoid the risk of coming in but would be of great benefit to the company. The pressing issue of the lack of qualified employees will not go away, even though it has been temporarily shifted a little into the background by having over eleven million employees on short-time work at the moment.
Talent searches reinvented – from the get-go
Seeking constant contact with employees is a top priority. Monitoring should not be in the foreground; the aim, rather, should be to instil a feeling that colleagues working from home are not alone and are still a valued part of the team. Teams is an important keyword here, as video chat solutions and video recruitment provide good opportunities to maintain contact with employees. This can take the form of virtual all-hand meetings or coffee breaks.
As with normal coffee, lunch or cigarette breaks, business should be less of a priority here. Rather, these virtual breaks should be an opportunity to interact in a relaxed way, about leisure activities, hobbies or even career dreams as a child.
For employee interaction, knowledge transfer and simple exchange of information in the company or the team, rexx systems has created an Enterprise Social Network, as part of the rexx suite, with portal stream, portal blog and portal chatfunctions. The tools are also independent of location and can be used on the go and in the home office. In the context of the current situation and for training courses, surveys can be drawn up and evaluated very easily. Documents can also be appended to messages in a way that complies with the GDPR. The portal chat function promotes transparency and understanding in the company and mutual interaction, and surveys reveal that it has been used extensively during the coronavirus crisis.
Online courses for staff development
As with public educational establishments, most staff development and training locations have had to shut down or switch to e-learning and webinars. The Internet hosts a very wide range of training courses and learning materials. The advantages of online courses, e-learning and webinars are that they are not usually restricted to a time and place. But they can also be run at a fixed time for some training, examination situations, interactive coaching and seminars in which here-and-now interaction is required.
Digital recruitment not only to overcome coronavirus fears
In line with the motto “If Mohammed will not come to the mountain, the mountain must come to Mohammed”, companies now increasingly must attract potential candidates, rather than leave the candidates to find them. Younger technical and management employees of generations Y and Z are much more self-confident and can usually choose their employer.
Many applicants consider sample work and interview tests to be beneath their dignity nowadays, but assessments for skilled employees and managers continue to be routine and can be completed just as effectively using software tools such as those from rexx systems. In general, many observers see an opportunity in the coronavirus lockdown to drive forward digitisation in companies, public bodies and educational establishments. In recruitment and talent management, HR software providers like rexx systems make an important contribution to this.
In line with the motto “HR goes agile”, the Hamburg-based software company has integrated a new online task tool into the rexx suite in the form of “My Task” and included it in the rexx applicant management system. In a way similar to kanban cards, this tool is used to allocate tasks to individual employees or teams with a planning period, which are transparent for all to see. This simplifies onboarding and offboarding in the company and facilitates self-organisation in the respective team and company.