Changing role of HR in the new normal

Prof. Reema Basfore, Lecturer, IQ City United World School of Business, Kolkata The Covid – 19 pandemic has thrown employees and employer into chaos and uncertainity with no clear end insight as people could not work ,consume and live normally .Entire world came to a halt . The above mentioned situation itself ended the discussion on the role of HR in organisation . But instead there was a greater responsibility on HR department to understand this unique challenge that the organization and employees were struggling with .HR has to operate in a crisis mode in order to figure out how the organization could be kept in their functioning mode and they came up with the viable option of Work from home that resulted in stress and lack of social connection among employees but  it became necessary to ensure safety of the employees . As the crisis was primarily a human crisis, HR functions across organisations was to re-establish the confidence and faith of employees and, at the same time,  accelerating the business value for which thry had to redefine and develop new skills and processes to optimize what is expected out of them . . So, in the process of making the organisation adapt to working in the new normal , the role of HR has fundamentally and drastically changed .Now the emphasis was more on the peoples part of HR Job rather than on technology , policies and procedures .They became responsible for ensuring where and how people work  and include coaching them on ways to minimize distractions , how to set boundaries so that they donot end up working too much . Employees hired in the past year may have never come into the office or met their boss and co-workers in person, this reality is calling out for new kinds of mentorship programs, like matching new hires with an established employee they can talk with every day to become better acclimated to the company’s culture. HR Professionals have long tended to employees physical and mental health , but now they are being more proactive on employees health and well being on multiple levels – how workers feel , where they sit , whether they are vaccinated etc . “HR is now in charge of vaccine strategy,” That’s critical and central to business strategy.”They  had to keep up with fast changing health guidance and requirement . Moreover , HR manager has to think on lines as to how remote working affect organisational culture and day – to – day operation , and the  social implications of such a transformation on employee engagement . Employee engagement has emerged to be the top parameter to analyze the efficacy of the HR function . This has accentuated the role of HR in the new normal . HR has now become strategic partners of the business organisation .