Our top three insight pieces unpack remote working, employee wellbeing, and crisis strategy
CHRO thought leaders shared their thoughts and insights to keep the community focused on the future of people management.
Leaders and partners in the CHRO community shared their thoughts and insights on various pertinent human resources issues. These were our top three thought leadership pieces in 2021.
1. Tamara Parker and Nick Zaranyika explain how to put employee wellbeing first
By Tamara Parker, CEO, and Nick Zaranyika, multinational business leader: Africa, at Mercer.
The approval of many vaccines around the world resulted in us breathing a collective sigh of relief. With this, comes the need for governments and organisations to work together in the roll-out of vaccines and ensure that people receive them.
This requires time to plan and execute well in tandem with business operations and economic growth. There are seven main priorities that African employers should consider now that vaccines are being rolled out:
Preparing the employer’s role
The main objective of companies at the moment should be to protect their people. As such, employers need to prioritise employee wellbeing and safety. Companies must consider the support employees will receive in the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccines.
Some examples of support that organisations can offer their staff: paid time off or paid sick leave to have time to recover from side effects. Also consider how customer-facing employees who do not want to be vaccinated will be managed.
According to a study by Mercer, almost 50 percent of European, Middle Eastern and African companies will offer their staff time off to get vaccinated. However 80 percent of companies think that people should use existing sick leave days to recover from side effects if they experience any.
Organisations should set up steering committees made up of representatives from the HR, risk management, legal and communications departments to lead the planning and execution of a vaccination strategy. This will ensure that both the interest of employees and those of the business are catered to while ensuring that the strategy is successfully executed.
Prioritise health education
Communication and education are crucial in order for employees and their employers to understand each other, especially when it comes to matters of health and safety. Organisations need to have reliable and up-to-date information about the coronavirus and the vaccines available in order to issue accurate information and educate employees accordingly.
2. Reinventing people management to manage remote working well
By Ian McAlister, general manager at CRS Technologies.
The rate at which remote working policies and procedures have had to be adopted has caught many organisations off guard.
Ian McAlister believes that the resultant disruption to traditional working methods is not necessarily a bad thing. This is especially the case if it brings about a reinvention of people management and appraising the effectiveness of employees.
“Despite the pressure to embrace a distributed working environment, companies still need to apply solid change management strategies to facilitate as smooth a transition as possible. In our experience, doing so with easily digestible chunks of new innovations can go a long way towards ensuring minimal disruption for employees and managers alike,” he says.
This highlights how human resource processes within the organisation must involve everyone. It is therefore the responsibility of senior managers to explain the reasons for change to employees, as well as demonstrate why this will be good for the business in the long term.
According to Ian, obtaining buy-in from employees will ensure that the transition to a remote working environment, driven by cloud-based solutions, is more readily accepted. “It is about making sure everything works for the good of the business and its employees. After all, strip away the technology, processes, and procedures, and all the company has is its people.”
He says that even though traditionalists will be more risk-averse to fully adopting a remote work culture, a company has the responsibility to slowly build their comfort levels unless they want them to simply fall back to the old way of working.
“To do this effectively means that the organisation must be aware of the psychological impact that remote working can have on an employee. Suddenly there are no boundaries between work and personal life.
“In the past, commuting to the office provided a useful and much-needed buffer to get thoughts ready for the day ahead. The same applied on the way back home – a person could disengage and start thinking about family. Remote working all but eliminates this. The risk is burning out employees who feel that they cannot afford to take time off and be with their family while at home.”
3. Facing a crisis head-on: Strategy, empathy and embracing change
By Tom Marsicano, CEO of And Change, a global advisory and change management consultancy.
Change in times of crisis is unavoidable. For many of us who run organisations, when everything around us is in flux, the instinct is to cling to what already works. But nothing can sink a business like being blind to the eco-systems around us. As the world changes, we too must adapt.
It’s a tough lesson to learn, even within the change management sector, where the entire point of our industry is to focus on adaptability and easing businesses through their transitions.
The Covid-19 pandemic has obviously been a time of significant upheaval for many people. Retrenchments, salary cuts, anxiety and stress are skyrocketing. Change is becoming a part of daily life. But for businesses to survive and mitigate the effects of a crisis, it is up to their leaders to seize opportunities and embrace new systems and processes.
For many of our clients, there’s usually time to implement strategies for change. We had the luxury of up to a year previously, before major decisions had to be made, meaning that we could be thorough. But when the pandemic arrived with little warning, there was no time to plan.
We had to be thorough and quick, meaning less time for hesitation, and decisiveness became integral to lessening the damage.Read more: https://chro.co.za/articles/facing-a-crisis-head-on-strategy-empathy-and-embracing-change/