HR needs to consider how employees will readjust to working together again


HR should already be thinking about how it will help employees bounce back and readjust to working together again, according to former cabinet minister Justine Greening.

In response to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, Greening and entrepreneur David Harrison have launched a COVID-19 business pledge to pool resources and encourage businesses to support their employees, customers and the wider community.

Employers signed up agree to providing practical support and advice on financial security, mental health, personal wellbeing and reintegration back into work for those who have had an extended period away from the workplace.

The initiative has already received the backing of companies including BP, Everton Football Club and National Grid, representing 900,000 staff and students.

As a result of the pledge, Everton Football Club and Everton in the Community has committed to paying all directly engaged matchday and non-matchday casual workers who are currently unable to work.

BP has also donated fuel to emergency service vehicles and Morrisons agreed to pay all small suppliers immediately to ensure businesses do not collapse due to Coronavirus.

Speaking to HR magazine, Greening said the businesses that will thrive under these conditions are the ones who recognise their people as their greatest assets.

She said: “The role of HR has never been so important over the coming months. We have seen an amazing response that has seen companies thinking more carefully from a HR perspective on what they can do to support employees.

“Reintroduction will feel like new teams coming back together- there will be challenges but also opportunities. Teams who have worked remotely and feel they’ve nailed it will realise they did a great job showing that home working is more effective than we realise.”

Greening also argued that the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic will have major implications on how employers think about recruiting new talent.

“When we’re looking at where we need to live to do jobs, maybe we can be more flexible. People might not have to move to London and companies will think where they recruit their staff from.

“Business will also need to create opportunities to think how their talent pool will be spread more widely. If there is going to be less opportunity after COVID-19, it’s more important that opportunity is accessed as fairly as possible.”

With businesses taking a crucial role in how the country responds to the many challenges of the virus, Greening is certain that business can be a force for good.

“If you can keep businesses from going bust it helps the economy bounce back. I don’t think government realised the network of business and public services keeping us all running. Covid-19 will certainly redefine who keyworkers are in this country,” she adds.

“You don’t always need to wait for a law to change for Whitehall to decide to do something positive. Coronavirus is showing we can all make a difference and should all feel empowered to make an impact.”

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