We are all going to remember the year that turned our lives into a whirlwind, 2020. The year a pandemic called COVID-19 changed everything from how we socialize to how we do business. The year that a simple virus turned the world into a single voice of pain, financial loss and uncertainty. A time where our freedom was limited, government restrictions and curfews were an everyday discussion on the news and mortality rates were discussed as averages and numbers on a spreadsheet and graphs. Needless to say, this year has been difficult for all, but one area that has had the most challenging job duties during this pandemic has been Human Resources.
You see, Human Resources, is the team the company goes to for guidance and support when things go array with employees and management. And, as the normal process, the door to the HR office was knocked on many times during this crisis, but this time, human resources did not have all the answers readily available. They struggled with obtaining information on what to do next. Learning what the new best practices were and how they should be implemented. They had to do everything possible to keep updated with the daily changes issued from the government while having discussions with employees about what it meant to be furloughed or why they were being terminated. They needed to serve as advisors to management and counselors to employees going through difficult moments. They needed to quickly learn about medical terms and where to find hand sanitizer all while ensuring people were still working and getting paid. Ensuring benefits for employees were still being processed and putting a plan to mobilize the company for alternative work solutions. Reading and understanding government guidance that changed daily and paying attention to news reports that would share information which would cause employees to be sucked in a wind storm of questions leading them to call with even more questions for which they didn’t have the answers. On top of all that they were being asked by management to pull together payroll reports for loans or governmental credits, ensuring they were accurate and keeping up with them every time an employee status changed. This list goes on and on and on with descriptions on all the elements Human Resources had to manage, and is still managing, through under this crisis.
It has been very hard for many and although there were many lessons learned throughout this crisis, one of the more important ones is the lesson of the value of Human Resources. Through this difficult time, more than ever, leadership have had to rely on their Human Resources professional to guide them through these complex circumstances. It has been an exceptional awakening for many leaders of organizations in understanding the value of their Human Resources team. As a professional in Human Resources myself, I understand how there are times Human Resources is viewed as an “expense” to an organization because you are not a revenue generating department. Nothing has proven them more wrong with this pandemic.
Not only is the Human Resources team responsible for keeping everyone safe, happy, engaged and paid during this crisis, they have been responsible in keeping everyone safe, happy, engaged and paid, as well as, keeping the company in compliance and operational by mobilizing everything quickly to keep the business going. Coordinating equipment needs with IT, coordinating with managers employees’ schedules and working from home situations, coordinating with legal to ensure letters and documents are being processed correctly and serving as the advocate employees can go to and share their anxiety. They have become the most valuable asset the organization has by being the person that has been keeping it all together.
This crisis has put Human Resources professionals through the ringer and then some but, we have shown that there is nothing that we cannot tackle. We have the multi-tasking skills needed to complete any task, the social skills of calming anyone down during their moment of crisis, the intellect to read government policies and interpret what they mean all while ensuring people get paid and have their anniversary and birthday celebration. This is why my heart goes out to all of those Human Resources professionals, like myself, that at times feel like they are not valued, I just want to let you know YOU ROCK!!!! Not even COVID-19 can knock us down!!