Changing Role of HR During a Pandemic

Pudhil station Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus.

Krupaya gaditun utartana gadiche paydaan wa falatamadhil antaravar laksha theva.

This is the sweet voice we used to hear every morning while travelling to work everyday. Don’t you guys remember? Sure you do and now miss it like anything.

Hello everyone! Let me introduce myself to you before we jump to the main topic of this blog.

My name is Rasika Gaonkar and I am an Assistant Manager in the Human Resources Department with Lemon Yellow LLP. By now you must have figured out the connection between me and the topic of the blog. Without further ado let’s get to our topic.

As we all know, change is an inevitable and unavoidable part of life. It will keep taking place in some or the other way, internally or externally, whether we are ready for it or not.

The biggest change we are facing right now is the COVID-19 pandemic. It certainly has affected everyone from kids to working professionals and has forced us to change the way we live and work. There is literally a 360 degree turn that life has taken. And we couldn’t handle the googly that life threw at us.

Now let’s look at this from an organizational perspective.

No organisation, industry, sector or profession has been left untouched by the impact of this pandemic. May it be the education system or the manufacturing giants or the local shops to the vegetable vendor of our gully.

Businesses are facing the heat and wrath of the pandemic and the Human Resource cannot stay unaffected; as an organisation is like a 4 wheeler vehicle and everything is interconnected and interdependent.

Let’s understand how and what changes the HR Department will have to undergo during these Covid times.

Work From Home is now the new normal! Yes!

The work from home culture is here to stay for a long long time. This culture will be followed in many organisations post the Covid 19 crisis as well.
The new ways of doing work will pose new challenges for the HR Department.

1.  How to monitor and enforce attendance?
2.  How will the recruitment take place?
3.  How will the Job Description change to accommodate full time remote work?
4.  How to keep a check of productivity?
5.  How to manage employee performance?
6.  How to go ahead conducting employee engagement activities?

What about the jobs that cannot be done in a work from home situation?

Apart from these, there is a more pressing issue that the HR department needs to focus on – the wellbeing of the teammates.

It will become an important function of the Human Resource department to keep checking on the employees now and then if they are feeling stressed or if they are having any other issues which may hamper their productivity. 

Also, this will not only be followed for the Covid situation but also even after things get back to normal.

Maintaining the culture of the organisation plays quite a big role here according to me.

I cannot emphasize enough on the fact that it is the culture of the organisation which attracts us to an organisation. We millennials are attracted more towards a company that has a good culture and that is what helps us choose between two organisations.

Culture is a glue that binds the organisation together and gives its teammates a sense of purpose in their work.

I feel very proud and privileged to be a part of one of such organisations that gives utmost importance to Culture. At Lemon Yellow, our founders Mr. Sameer Bhambere and Mr. Amit Bhambere during our induction tell us that Lemon Yellow is all about two Cs: Colour and Culture. Colour as we are a Design agency and we must always be creative, innovative and work in alignment with design aesthetics. Culture because as I said, it is the glue that binds the teammates together and gives their work a sense of purpose.

We at Lemon Yellow follow a different culture which helps us grow on the personal and professional front as well.

As we know that all the organisations have been hit and affected by this pandemic situation and it is the culture of the company that helped us get through these tough times.

We had an everyday morning routine that we used to follow when we used to meet in the office, which included our national anthem, prayer, a motivational video, saying the company’s vision, mission, and values, LY Oath and one HR policy. We were initially worried how we will be doing that online without affecting our culture. After giving much thought to this we innovated a way of doing our morning routine in a very innovative way by incorporating everything in a PPT and we play the PPT everyday over a zoom call displaying some nostalgic pictures of our teammates and also some videos from the past office activities. This brings back the good memories and we tend to remember the fun things that we used to do in the office. 

Next on were the celebrations – Lemon Yellow LLP will always be associated with fun and innovation. We used to celebrate a lot of small milestones; be it our teammate’s birthday, farewells or any festivals in a different and innovative way. But we found a solution to continue the same virtually. We started conducting some fun games for every small occasion or festival that came in during this pandemic and we will continue to do the same in future. 

These activities help our team mates release their stress and also maintain the work life balance of having fun and working together. We also have a concept called Learning Saturday which we kept on going where one of our teammates can explain a topic that will help us learn something new. After all as we know, sharing is caring and when you share knowledge it doubles.

In the situation of remote working it becomes even more important for the HR to take care of the well being of the teammates. Frequent one on one conversations, giving extra attention to everyone, rewarding our fellow teammates for their consistent performance even while working remotely can go a long way to keep them motivated and engaged with the entire team. Which we do and were doing before this pandemic situation is LOM – Lemon of the Month reward system.

I would also like to give credit to the Covid situation for making us more process driven and following a particular process and onboarding some new and helpful project management tools and remote working tools which help us stay organised and updated and connected. 

Last but not the least, communication is the key to everything. Effective and clear communication can take any organisation to new levels. To have effective communication between our team mates so that everyone is aligned with the team and company we have an evening meeting that helps everyone understand what they have been doing and what they have been working on.

According to the WHO (World Health Organisation) Chief, COVID-19 crisis will not end anytime soon. All we can do during this period is change the way we live, adapt to the situation, dust ourselves up and be ready to face the situation.

Lastly, I would like to thank my fellow teammates from the HR and Admin department for always supporting and coming up with new ideas, solutions with the same enthusiasm for any small celebration or difficult situation we had in front of us.

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