Daniel Menard

New Challenges for Human Resources

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Since the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world, businesses have altered the way they operate. A significant change resulting from this is how Human Resource departments conduct themselves. 

According to Dan Menard, HR departments across industries have faced a wave of change in workforce trends. They’re tasked with rewriting policies and examining the future internal processes of their company – from creating work from home models to digitizing their hiring process. 

To learn more about the challenges Human Resources are facing and how they’re adapting, keep reading. 

The Duality of Remote Work

The need for social distance during the pandemic has led to the rapid increase in remote work. Shifting to a digital work environment has seen mixed opinions among employees and their overheads. 

The productivity of remote work can fluctuate based on the employee. On one hand, business leaders have found productivity improved when they shifted to a work from home model.

But despite increased levels of productivity, studies suggest the WFH model has led to more burnout. Employees have a more challenging time juggling their work/life balance and find it challenging to step away from their makeshift office space. 

Human Resource departments are the ones who take on employee complaints, like overworking. HR relies on clear, open communication to handle workplace issues. But leading experts say open-door policies and free-flow communication proves challenging when people cannot meet face-to-face. 

In a remote workplace, HR has had to get creative with its methods of operation. Some have turned to facilitating conversations or designing virtual tools that still give employees open access to them during the virtual workday. 

Additionally, HR managers are tasked with transitioning employees to a digital experience. They have to account for a person’s mental and physical needs from afar. This has meant creating optimized training systems, purchasing adequate equipment for remote employees, and purchasing software to improve remote workflows. 

Plus, Human Resources is now tasked with writing new policies regarding potential at-home expenses employees may incur, like internet or phone costs. 

HR Shifts Focus to Internal Hiring

In the initial phases of the pandemic, public and private spaces closed their doors in the interest of public safety. Businesses had to cut employment in order to stay afloat, resulting in record levels of unemployment. Company’s cut in other areas as well, including pay, bonus structures, vendor usage, etc.

But now, internal hiring is up. Data offered by LinkedIn states internal hiring has seen a 20% increase since the pandemic began. The same report suggests companies believe recruiting budgets will decrease while internal learning and development will receive more funding. Some leading experts believe companies will permanently shift toward internal mobility structures as opposed to external hiring. Others think businesses will move toward a project-based approach, where employees have cross-functional tasks instead of static jobs. 

Mark Lobosco, the VP of Talent Solutions at LinkedIn, says there are a few reasons companies have turned to an internal hiring structure. The shift has resulted in reduced costs, shorter interview processes, increased engagement, and a boost in employee retention. Additional data shows employees are 41% more likely to stay with a business that hires internally. 

As these mobility programs grow, HR departments continue working closely with the Leadership & Development departments. This has given companies further insight into existing skill sets and how to better address potential skill gaps. Although the initial system shift may prove challenging, the data suggests it’s worth it. 

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The Hiring Process Goes Virtual 

The same way employers turned to WFH work structures, or even hybrid models, the more commonplace virtual hiring has become. 

Making work virtual has reduced costs and saved companies time, according to Baruch Silvermann of The same benefits have been seen as HR departments turn to a virtual hiring process. 

Even for businesses that have resumed in-person work, experts predict virtual hiring is here to stay. It’s automated the interview process and helped accelerate recruitment timelines while still protecting current employee safety as they practice social distancing. 

Additionally, virtual hiring combined with remote position offers has allowed businesses to diversify and reach better talent due to a lack of geographical restrictions. The benefits have solidified remote interviewing as a talent acquisition strategy for companies around the country. 

HR faces the challenge of creating new policies and altering their hiring timelines according to the new standard.

Leading HR and recruitment experts predict that remote interviews will become more prominent, even once it’s become safe to meet with candidates in person again.  

HR Challenges May Lead to Workforce Solutions

The challenge most Human Resources departments are facing are ones of change. As work culture adapts to the times, HR departments are the people turning trends into policy. But, so far, the data shows the challenges have offered business solutions that have helped companies overall. 

By Daniel Menard

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