Strategy & LeadershipCOVID-19: how HR can go ‘back to better’ post-pandemic

COVID-19: how HR can go 'back to better' post-pandemic

For many, recovery and a return to business as usual is the post-pandemic goal. But what if there was a way to improve during the crisis and return even stronger than before? For HRD Thought Leader Jill Christensen, this has to be the aim for HR professionals.

A recent Bloomberg article chronicled that lay-offs are starting to turn from temporary to permanent across the globe. In the United States, the head of Local 9305 of the United Steelworkers Union was one of 210 people laid-off at a plant near Pittsburgh, PA, which manufactures tubes and pipes for the oil industry. The company idled the facility in March, citing a sharp decline in oil prices.

So, as a leader, how is he responding? “I’m not doing anything,” he said. “There’s nothing we can do but wait.” Excuse me? Did I really hear that? The truth is, there are many other things you can do besides wait. If you are an HR professional, this is the perfect time to plan how you can bounce back stronger than ever once the COVID-19 pandemonium settles down.

Can you control what is going on in the world right now? No, but you can control how you respond. What you need to do more than anything is take a step back, breathe, figure out how to reinvent yourself and your function, and then execute.

And, I have an idea about where you should focus your efforts. One of the most common complaints I hear from HR professionals is that they do not have a seat at the table. Many HR professionals think they are marginalised, do not have a voice and are viewed as tactical rather than strategic employees.

From my experience in business, I think this happens because people choose to play it safe and act according to their job descriptions rather than taking a risk and reinventing their roles. You may have never thought about it this way, but leaders really do not want to people to just do their jobs. They would much rather have people on the team who innovate, create, pioneer and blaze new trails. Often, these are the people who get a seat at the table and get ahead.

During a crisis situation like the one we are currently experiencing, the vast majority of people choose to duck their head and hide in a foxhole in an effort to not get hit. They play it safe in the hopes that if they hide, they will be forgotten about and impacted less. And therein lies your opportunity. As your peers hide, you can focus and strategise on how you can claim a seat at the table.

But how can I action this?

Look outside of your job description and identify a major problem that your company is facing which needs to be solved. Then, formulate a plan to fix it. Designate yourself as the project lead. Define the problem, measure where you are today, analyse the cause of the problem, implement a solution and put controls in place to ensure that you maintain your progress and do not revert back. All the while, communicate your progress and ongoing results with leaders so they can see the tremendous value that you add.

And once the pandemic has run its course, do not stop operating this way. Do not go back to just acting according to your job description. Yes, there are certain things that HR professionals are responsible for that must get done, but in order for HR to go ‘back to better’ post-pandemic, it needs to reinvent itself. It needs to do things differently.

Everyone in your HR group should be tasked with operating this way in an effort to shine a light on the function, fix widespread issues that have probably plagued your company for years, and earn that seat at the table.

You and your colleagues have a choice – stay frozen in fear like the masses or rise up and take advantage of unexpected opportunities.  Instead of viewing the pandemic just as a crisis, view it as an opportunity to learn, grow, thrive and soar.

We are being shaken right now. Allow it to shift you and your function to a better place and as a bigger contributor. Some people will and others will not. I am confident that the people who are going to come out of this on top are the people who do not go back to life as they knew it pre-COVID. They are choosing to view this event as an opportunity to shift, and they are capitalising on it. It’s a choice: the status quo or a seat at the table? Which is it going to be?

What's Hot

HRD Roundtable Report: Levelling Up Onboarding for the Hybrid World

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Levelling Up Onboarding for the Hybrid World 5 May 2022

1m

HRD Roundtable Report: Levelling Up Onboarding for...

Attracting new talent is shooting up the priority list, but also proving more difficult than ever. After the effort of finding the right person, are w...

View event
HRD Roundtable Report: Redefining Company Culture in Hybrid Work Environments

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Redefining Company Culture in Hybrid Work Environments 26 May 2022

1m

HRD Roundtable Report: Redefining Company Culture ...

The process of redefining a company culture is a complex one. Culture contributes directly to the day-to-day experience of employees, and many leaders...

View event
Learning to win the talent war: how digital marketing can develop its people

Whitepaper | Talent Development Learning to win the talent war: how digital marketing can develop its people

2m

Learning to win the talent war: how digital market...

This report documents the findings of a Fireside chat held by ClickZ in the first quarter of 2022. It provides expert insight on how companies can ret...

View resource
HRD Roundtable Report: Strategies For Re-Engaging The Hybrid Workforce

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Strategies For Re-Engaging The Hybrid Workforce 5 May 2022

2m

HRD Roundtable Report: Strategies For Re-Engaging ...

We know hybrid working is here to stay, forcing many organisations to experiment with innovative and creative strategies from 4-day working weeks to u...

View event
HRD Roundtable Report: Making it ‘Worth It’ – What We Need to Reward, Engage and Retain

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Making it ‘Worth It’ – What We Need to Reward, Engage and Retain 3 March 2022

2m

HRD Roundtable Report: Making it ‘Worth It’ – What...

We know the pandemic has caused many people to revaluate their careers and relationships with work and have been seeing the impact in global trends in...

View event
Dave Ulrich: How can business and HR leaders simplify complexity?

Leadership Development Dave Ulrich: How can business and HR leaders simplify complexity?

5m Dave Ulrich

Dave Ulrich: How can business and HR leaders simpl...

HR thought leader Dave Ulrich outlines ways leaders can deal with complexity in an increasingly busy world, including how to think critically and turn...

View article
HRD Roundtable Report: Using HR Data to Inform Organisational Decision Making

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Using HR Data to Inform Organisational Decision Making 5 May 2022

2m

HRD Roundtable Report: Using HR Data to Inform Org...

Historically, HR hasn’t been as effective as it could be in sharing and communicating data with wider teams. It’s paramount that we remove the self-in...

View event
Digital transformation investment grows but critical skills gaps remain - Coursera report

Digital HR Digital transformation investment grows but critical skills gaps remain - Coursera report

5m Leah Belsky

Digital transformation investment grows but critic...

Covid-19 has accelerated the rate of digital learning on a global scale. Coursera's latest report provides an update on employee proficiency in a numb...

View article
Wellbeing in the hybrid workplace: how to successfully drive engagement

Employee Engagement Wellbeing in the hybrid workplace: how to successfully drive engagement

5m Alara Basul | Sponsored

Wellbeing in the hybrid workplace: how to successf...

Remote working has impacted the way we communicate as a workforce, but striking the right balance between creating an engaged workforce and a successf...

View article
How to create a company culture capable of empowering the modern workforce

Culture How to create a company culture capable of empowering the modern workforce

5m Alara Basul | Sponsored

How to create a company culture capable of empower...

While new working patterns that emerged from the pandemic have earned a permanent spot in the workplace, creating a purpose-driven culture based ...

View article
WATCH: Connection and collaboration in a hybrid workplace

Leadership Learnings WATCH: Connection and collaboration in a hybrid workplace

6m Amy Kirkham

WATCH: Connection and collaboration in a hybrid wo...

Alison Noon-Jones, VP of People & Culture at Leidos UK & Europe, shares how crucial employee engagement and participation is when shaping the people s...

View article
Turbulence ahead: Why it’s time to be bold in your leadership

Leadership Development Turbulence ahead: Why it’s time to be bold in your leadership

6m Terence Mauri

Turbulence ahead: Why it’s time to be bold in your...

HRD thought leader and Hack Future Lab founder Terence Mauri sets out why the biggest risk to leadership is not turbulence itself, but leading with ye...

View article

Subscribe to HRD Connect for daily updates on the future of work, including thought leadership, video interviews, the HRD Live Podcast and more.

Comments are closed.

What's Hot

HRD Roundtable Report: Levelling Up Onboarding for the Hybrid World

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Levelling Up Onboarding for the Hybrid World 5 May 2022

1m

HRD Roundtable Report: Levelling Up Onboarding for...

Attracting new talent is shooting up the priority list, but also proving more difficult than ever. After the effort of finding the right person, are w...

View event
HRD Roundtable Report: Redefining Company Culture in Hybrid Work Environments

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Redefining Company Culture in Hybrid Work Environments 26 May 2022

1m

HRD Roundtable Report: Redefining Company Culture ...

The process of redefining a company culture is a complex one. Culture contributes directly to the day-to-day experience of employees, and many leaders...

View event
Learning to win the talent war: how digital marketing can develop its people

Whitepaper | Talent Development Learning to win the talent war: how digital marketing can develop its people

2m

Learning to win the talent war: how digital market...

This report documents the findings of a Fireside chat held by ClickZ in the first quarter of 2022. It provides expert insight on how companies can ret...

View resource
HRD Roundtable Report: Strategies For Re-Engaging The Hybrid Workforce

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Strategies For Re-Engaging The Hybrid Workforce 5 May 2022

2m

HRD Roundtable Report: Strategies For Re-Engaging ...

We know hybrid working is here to stay, forcing many organisations to experiment with innovative and creative strategies from 4-day working weeks to u...

View event
HRD Roundtable Report: Making it ‘Worth It’ – What We Need to Reward, Engage and Retain

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Making it ‘Worth It’ – What We Need to Reward, Engage and Retain 3 March 2022

2m

HRD Roundtable Report: Making it ‘Worth It’ – What...

We know the pandemic has caused many people to revaluate their careers and relationships with work and have been seeing the impact in global trends in...

View event
Dave Ulrich: How can business and HR leaders simplify complexity?

Leadership Development Dave Ulrich: How can business and HR leaders simplify complexity?

5m Dave Ulrich

Dave Ulrich: How can business and HR leaders simpl...

HR thought leader Dave Ulrich outlines ways leaders can deal with complexity in an increasingly busy world, including how to think critically and turn...

View article
HRD Roundtable Report: Using HR Data to Inform Organisational Decision Making

Roundtable Report HRD Roundtable Report: Using HR Data to Inform Organisational Decision Making 5 May 2022

2m

HRD Roundtable Report: Using HR Data to Inform Org...

Historically, HR hasn’t been as effective as it could be in sharing and communicating data with wider teams. It’s paramount that we remove the self-in...

View event
Digital transformation investment grows but critical skills gaps remain - Coursera report

Digital HR Digital transformation investment grows but critical skills gaps remain - Coursera report

5m Leah Belsky

Digital transformation investment grows but critic...

Covid-19 has accelerated the rate of digital learning on a global scale. Coursera's latest report provides an update on employee proficiency in a numb...

View article