Udit Mittal is the Founder & Managing Director at Unison International that owns and operates the Recruitment Training Consulting firm. Unison matches Great Talent with Great Resource, from sourcing high caliber professionals to enhance a Company’s Human Resource to assisting Individuals optimise their career choices; Unison International seamlessly integrates the HR processes across business verticals. Along with Retail, Unison International boasts of an enviable clientele in E-commerce, FMCG as well as Consulting & Advisory.Unison International successfully delivers full-cycle recruiting solutions for high and mid-level talent and has constantly proved value in the recruiting process and delivering exceptional resources to Fortune 500 and cutting-edge mid-size companies.
A successful human resources (HR) department is known to assist with providing organizational structure as well as the ability to address business needs by managing the organization’s most valuable asset — employees. Needless to mention, ever since the pandemic took the world by storm, it led to several seismic disruptions across sectors and the HR department is no exception. It can be said with certainty that HRs have toiled through tough times even before, just like every other department, but the global health crisis brought a troubling new twist. Consequently, the HR professionals have had to reevaluate their strategies, renew several policies and help organizations in forging a new way forward, all because the times have changed dramatically.
When it comes to the retail sector specifically, the pressure lies on retailers to evolve the in-store experience, improve their employee satisfaction as well as expand e-commerce options. As a result of which the HR practitioners have had to launch a slew of initiatives to engage their employees profitably without hampering their and company’s productivity, while simultaneously keeping safety a priority. At the core, it’s the technology that has been acting as the key enabler for solving every roadblock and bringing teams together. Here are a few policies that various retail firms adopted to meet uncertainty presented by the pandemic:
- Health and safety: Ensuring the health and safety of the employees is the foremost priority. To achieve the same, the companies built a comprehensive set of policies that included proper hygiene measures. They established a flexible environment that encouraged working professionals to remain inside their homes as much as possible and provided them necessary information at regular intervals. They turned all the in-person activities, such as talent interviewing and the onboarding process into digital engagements. Moreover, several organizations extended support beyond work as they believe that employees are one of the most critical resources for any company. When needed, the HRs also embraced the hybrid working model to maintain the workflow.
- Enhanced communication: Building up internal communications is imperative, especially now more than ever. Hence, various firms incorporated regular sharing of updated facts and knowledge on the global health crisis, proposed safety measures, sent motivational messages directly from the senior administration, and also shared measures executed to guarantee how the company intended to protect employees. Crisp, to the point, positive, and at the same time, forward-looking messages are the dire need of the hour. Similarly fundamental is consistency combined with frequency because the workforce looks up to administrations as a solitary source of truth with all, or possibly, the majority of the responses to the puzzling circumstance on the ground.
- Upskill from home: To recuperate from the after-effects of the health crisis, organizations even put resources in learning and upskilling of the workforce. They pushed employees to digitally, remotely, and immediately complete compliance training as well as professional development. Furthermore, urged them to utilize various training platforms to become familiar with a new skill or polish an existing one. Many organizations also replaced the on-premise training sessions with virtual ones to keep the professionals productive. Fun, on-the-go learning was already positioning up in the new learning models, now, it’s gradually receiving more appreciation.
- Performance and outcomes matter: In several companies, performance used to be managed in an in-person setting usually, using daily shift briefings or Gemba walk, which allowed supervisors/ HRs to observe the actual work process, engage with employees, and explore opportunities for continuous improvement. However, adopting the physical distancing and remote working route due to the pandemic guaranteed that these approaches would not work anymore. The global health crisis led to the change in the metrics and targets used to gauge and upgrade performance. Now, there’s an increased emphasis on productivity, performance, quality along with a greater focus on flexibility.
- Digital adoption: The pandemic accelerated the adoption of technology in everything. It has become one of the primary modes of operation for every other business. The leaders focused on digital engagement for every little aspect, right from directing virtual evaluations to discussing project expectations. To keep up with business coherence, HR can work with online transitions and virtual onboardings.
The bottom line
The outbreak of Coronavirus pushed the whole world into unchartered territory. And since there is no reasonable indicator of when this pandemic may end, the HR professionals of the retail sector are modifying policies that will prepare them for the long haul because the new normal will accompany its own share of challenges. The behavior of the consumer, especially during the crisis has transformed in ways that cannot be reversed. Hence, the retail organizations as well as the employees of such firms will have to adjust along with them. History has been a shred of evidence that people have always counted on each other and triumphed over crises together. Thus, this situation is no different. The HRs of today will need to cheerlead the teams to deliver what they in an effortless and efficient manner.