The last few weeks have thrown unprecedented challenges in front of the professional community. Organisational priorities and goals have shifted, the way employees work has been disrupted; all in a matter of few weeks. The new normal is different. The HR leadership at every organization is at the forefront facing this once-in-a-generation crisis, enabling remote work, ensuring the health and safety of employees, and helping their workforce face new challenges.
Not every business or employee can function remotely from the safety of their homes. For instance, a power generation company still must ensure that its wind turbines are well-maintained and running, that its grid is stable, and that its customers get access to uninterrupted power. Being a critical service, the energy and utility sector must continue to provide their service without interruption under drastically different operating conditions. How does an organization ensure the health and safety of the employees who must be on location to deliver their duties? Are they eligible for hazard pay because of the nature of their work?
Digitalisation will become more important than ever in the post-COVID-19 era. As cities shut down overnight, Organisations were forced to accelerate enabling remote work for their workforce whose duties could be delivered virtually. Nearly every HR leader has found the way in such short notice to enable a major part of their workforce to operate from home. Organisations are experimenting with ways to engage with their employees remotely and sustain productivity. Once this crisis blows over, we can expect organisations to accelerate new ways of working through digital upskilling and spend more on technologies that would enable their personnel to collaborate and work seamlessly irrespective of whether they are remote or in-campus.
For large organisations, it is difficult to recognize the circumstances of their employees. It is therefore critical to establish channels for employees to communicate with their peers and leadership. Responsive, empathetic communications and policies that are flexible to accommodate individual circumstances are the need of the hour. With the schools closed, a lot of employees are faced with the situation where they have to take care of their children while also working remotely from home. How does an organization help its employee to be productive while not interrupting their family life? Caring, listening, and empathy are a priority.
With COVID-19 stalling the economy, some industries were forced to lay off employees or reduce compensation, and freeze hiring. The most difficult task in front of HR leadership is how to balance the potential need to cut costs with the desire to retain as many employees as they can.
In the coming months, we will be able to get a better understand of the lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic to our economy, the way we work and live our lives. We need to share lessons learnt, what worked and what did not. The virtual conference HR in the Energy Sector in Times of COVID-19 brings together HR leaders from the leading energy sector companies to share their best practices in dealing with the crisis. Connect with us to join the discussion.