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  • In uncertain times, have you considered virtual HR?

In uncertain times, have you considered virtual HR?

31 March 2020

Original content provided by BDO Australia

For many business owners, these are uncertain times. The unplanned diaspora of entire workforces to remote communities – and worse, partial or whole closure of business, has turned upside-down current business strategies and people planning.

Currently, business owners are in the eye of the storm. Not only are they facing the prospect of a real economic downturn, they are also having to ensure the physical and mental wellbeing of their staff; the maintenance of internal and external productivity; whilst wondering how long their business will be grounded. Furthermore, the disruption and isolation of people requires change management strategies, new policies and an emphasis on culture. 

So, how do business owners find the balance between careful strategies to save the business while also trying to stay connected and retain key talent when business bounces back again? And, what should they be focusing on when current Human Resource strategies are no longer relevant?

These are the top four considerations that should be top-of-mind for business owners, aimed at improving productivity, retaining talent, lessening administrative burden and minimising risk.

1. Strong leadership and people management

Successfully managing a crisis comes down to solid leadership that adapts, is agile and makes decisions in the best interests of all their people. There’s no doubt that leaders have been called to make rapid decisions and lead their organisations in what is unchartered territory. These uncertain times mean leaders are having to adapt day-by-day. At the same time, there are a number of people management issues that can arise during a crisis. Ensuring there is an alignment of culture is critical at this time.

If you’re experiencing people management issues or are struggling to find the right time to lead – or need to upskill your current leaders, our Virtual HR team can assist with your leadership and management requirements.

2. Sounding Board

During an intensive and stressful time, sometimes you need someone to listen, or bounce ideas off. Rather than working alone, it’s critical you reach out to others who are sharing your experiences, or benchmark yourself so that you are meeting the expectations of your people.

While the coronavirus may mean we are more isolated, business owners can still access expert advice.  If you need to talk to someone, we can offer HR insights and advice through our Virtual HR service. This can be for stand-alone issues, such as HR Managers wanting to understand what other businesses are doing throughout this time, and what may be best practice in these circumstances.

3. Leave Policies and Entitlements

The coronavirus has meant government directives are impacting workplace laws - such as hospitality awards and extra leave for carers. The closure or partial closure of business also means that to ensure longevity, businesses need to reinvent the way they resource staff. It’s also opened up the question as to the rights of employees to force leave, or find new options and ideas for implementing leave policies during this time. The right advice at this time is critical. Our virtual HR team can offer advice and if needed, work together with an employment lawyer to assist with in-depth legal aspects.

4. Working from Home policies and practices

Just as you have polices to ensure the health, safety and productivity of your people onsite, the same goes when they work from home. Work from home policies are imperative to ensure teams are successful in this new work environment. We recommend that a work from home policy is revisited to reflect the current pandemic situation, to be used alongside the current policy you have. If you don’t have a work from home policy and are unsure how to approach it, our Virtual HR team can assist you. There are a number of considerations such as how workflows will be managed, communication practices, resource requirements, insurances and health concerns, which all must be addressed in the policy - while some of your people may be adept in flexible arrangements, others will need more advice and support.

If you’re trying to determine how to mobilise your workforce right now, our Virtual HR Team is available to provide advice on any people management concerns you may be dealing with due to the coronavirus, including policy development and general information. Contact Kally Mitchell, or Jenine Waters today, for a confidential discussion.

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