Are you avoiding common HR pitfalls amid the pandemic?

With many employees still working remotely, it can be easy for employee matters to be ‘out of sight, out of mind’.

However, despite the current circumstances, and sometimes due to them, staying on top of HR matters is more important now than it may have been in the past.

Here are some key considerations for employers.

New staff

Despite the troubling economic times, companies have been and will continue to need to take on new staff. This process is likely to take a different shape to normal, perhaps even with remote interviews by phone or video. Despite this, employers must ensure that due process is followed, for example in the keeping of records in relation to CV reviews and interview notes. Even where new staff joining a company are to work remotely, employers will need to ensure that a written statement of particulars of employment setting out certain key employment terms is issued on the first day of employment.

Training

Businesses that are struggling to keep on top of things may be tempted to let the training and development of staff fall to the bottom of the agenda. However, it is important that employers maintain training programmes amongst their staff. Continuing to invest in staff can be a way to boost morale, and in some industries, training is an essential way for employees to stay protected, and for employers to meet their obligations in relation to health and safety.

Employee handbooks

We previously blogged about the ways in which you may wish to update your Employee Handbook amidst Covid times. Businesses that have staff working remotely will also need to consider how they allow employees access to the Employee Handbook. Having an online version of this is advisable, so that employees can access it whether they are working in the workplace or from home. Where a physical and digital version are both kept, employers will need to ensure that both mirror each other, and both are updated in line with any changes made.

Effective communication

Poor communication is a common pitfall in any event but is even more likely to result in issues where employees are working from various locations. Technology is extremely useful provided it is deployed effectively and video calls / conferencing platforms have been some of the biggest winners of the Covid-19 pandemic as businesses have adopted their usage to replace face to face meetings.  In addition to regular meetings between teams to discuss progress and plan the coming schedule, employers should also ensure that one to one’s between employees and their line managers are being undertaken. Many staff that have been working remotely since the start of the pandemic may miss the social interaction between them and their colleagues, and employers should encourage, and where appropriate facilitate, remote social events.

Good communication is not only vital for the flow of productivity, it is also one of the best techniques employers can use to maintain morale. Poor communication is a breeding ground for discontent as staff feel they are being ‘left out of the loop’ or otherwise feel they do not know what is going on, which can lead to the development of poor attitudes towards other individuals and the work itself.

These are just some of the many aspects of HR that employers need to be especially mindful of during Covid-19 times. For a more detailed discussion of practices you may be able to implement to improve your HR and employee management, please get in touch for a free of charge initial consultation.