HR Practices of the New Normal

Dec 15, 2020 | Trends

Overview:– The new normal of 2021 needs us to be creative with our processes and HR teams are prepping for it already. Soyirindhi Hore, HR Business Partner, Verizon Media, with 13 years of domain experience, tells us, what in her informed opinion will be the practices that will be the trend in the coming year.   

HCMG:– Hello, Welcome. 

Soyirindhi Hore:– Hi! 

HCMG:– Thank you so much for joining us today. To introduce you to our viewers once. Soyirindhi has been associated with Verizon media for the last year, and she has 13 years of experience in the HR domain. Prior to this, she has been associated with Oracle for eight years as HR business partner. Thank you so much for joining us today. 

If I can jump into our discussion for today’s session. So, what according to you, is the most significant HR practice change that has happened due to the pandemic? 

Soyirindhi Hore:- Yeah, so firstly, thank you everybody for deciding to have me here and interview me for the session. So when we talk about the current pandemic situation, and what has been the most important development in this current situation, I would have to say that it has been the upgradation of our HR systems and processes, mainly to support our virtual teams and remote working arrangements that we see all over all over the place today.  

By this, I don’t just imply the HCM or ERP implementations, I mean, the whole virtual setup. See, currently there has been a huge shift, which begins right from hiring. So, we have developed processes now to onboard employees virtually. No one could have imagined this a year before. But obviously business contingencies and the need for business continuity has compelled HR teams to look at various software’s that enable virtual onboarding, then when it comes to the employee lifecycle, like in terms of tracking performance.  

So today, we coach managers on how to handle such a huge change, as for managing teams, which were right across the room, to now working with them remotely. And also, it involves restructuring your remote working policies, also around the needs of different employees, because everybody today has their personal situations. With children at home and managing other personal commitments. Also, given the medical situation, hospitals are not accessible to everybody. So, it’s a completely different kind of a scenario today.  

So how, as an organization, we can develop arrangements, which provides things like work hours flexibility, leaves when you need it, also have backups within your own teams in case anyone falls ill. So, I would say the most significant development at its most significant chain that we have seen is, it’s not just one part, it’s the entire employee lifecycle, which has undergone all these changes.  

HCMG:- So, you just told us about how HR processes have changed for the last months due to the pandemic. What, according to you has been the change in the last decade? Like, as far as technology implementation, adaptation, or policy-wise what have been the changes in the last decade? 

Soyirindhi Hore:- So actually, this is a question which takes pages and pages of responses, but I’ll keep it brief. See, HR practices have also undergone numerous shifts, obviously. So gone are the days when, HR was just looked at as an administration job where you just recruit, and you process salaries.  

I believe over the last 10 years HR has a seat at the table. As every business decision today is aligned to what strategy is best for the workforce as people are our biggest assets. For business leaders today, the focus has shifted on high potential employees, on training and development of your top talent. Managing change is also a focus area. HR practices have evolved from what it was to what it is today, but the business is also undergoing such dynamic changes. At the drop of a hat, your technology changes. We were at product development a few years ago, and today we talk of cloud and everything is on the cloud.  

In HR we had traditional practices like performance appraisal practice where we had stack ranking, etc. But today, businesses have moved models like the instantaneous feedback model. Continuous feedback is a kind of process which many organizations are implementing. We no longer believe in that old process of ranking and things like that. Also, I would have to say in terms of our benefits, earlier we would just have one type of benefit for everybody, we wouldn’t customize it. While today the benefit is attuned to the needs of different employees. 

Also, HR analytics is taken such a huge leap. We believe that data is very important to make workplace decisions, workforce decisions. So, we depend on lot on analytics. In case of career development, there has been a keen interest in the upward development, upward career path. How do you build that career path? How do you do things like talent development? So, all this is obviously because of the rapidly changing and dynamic business environment. And obviously look at what the world is going through today with COVID. We will again have a new normal of ways of working, which was completely unimaginable before.  

HCMG:- So, what according to you are the practices that will go into the new normal?  

Soyirindhi Hore:- Yes, interesting question, again. I think experts across the industry are deep diving into this question of what could be some of the best practices and implementations? If you ask me, for me, I think the number one priority today would definitely be health and safety. We always want to be able to explore options on how to ensure our employee’s safety and well-being. It’s the need of the hour.  

Thus, the earlier health insurance schemes may not be adequate. Maybe today, we incentivize our schemes differently. We provide more facilities, which includes home critical care benefits. Secondly, I would say maybe some of our leave policies. You would probably see a lot of that getting revamped. So, in a work from anywhere set up today, people do not focus that much on taking a holiday. Because we have that conditioning of being in office leave means not being in office. Which they are anyway not in the real typical sense, but you are working even though you’re at home.  

So various categories of leaves are necessary. We may need to look at critical care leaves, which is again, something which my organization has implemented. So critical care leaves, it’s not just to endorse, but also, to give it to them if they need to care for someone in their homes. So, the whole concept of an annual leave which was prevalent before pandemic, where every month you get some certain leaves credited to your account might change. We may just have a quota system today amongst the team members. We may ask people to share values with each other. So, there are there are billion and millions of things which you can do with that. 

Thirdly, of course, the biggest chunk would be the remote working policy. Like I said earlier in the beginning. We need to revamp things like who needs get how much time, having a flexible worker policy or maybe like a pay by the hour policy. So, there are plenty of options. It just depends on what kind of you know, business setup, the organization is in what are some of the immediate strategies or goals of the organization and then tuning some of your policies in the post pandemic or the current pandemic situations, this is what I think would be some of the changes that you would see.  

HCMG:- Thank you so much Soyirindhi. Thank you for joining us. Thank you for sharing your ideas and opinions and also your insight. And we have this thing called Ask a guru there. We will invite questions for a leader who has come on an interview with us. And if we get questions for you, we are going to come back with those questions to you. 

Soyirindhi Hore:- No problem! Anytime. Thank you so much for having me. Thank you.  

HCMG:- Thank you. 

Key Takeaway:- 

  • Need for business continuity has forced human resource practices to go virtual to facilitate remote working and also employee life cycle in an organization.  
  • Coaching managers to manage remote teams is an important part of enabling remote employees.  
  • HR policies should now focus more on employee health and safety measures and benefits.  
  • Creating varied leave types is necessary in a work from home situation.  
  • Flexibility and customization to help employees manage home and take care of caregiving roles is necessary.