How the Pandemic Changed the Way Human Resources Function

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Before the pandemic, Human Resources departments had already been preparing for the “future of work.” They had seen a more digitalized workplace becoming the norm in time, so they’d been scouring talent pools for candidates that possessed the necessary skills and backgrounds for such a work environment. But this future had always seemed far ahead. Nobody thought that we’d actually see it in March 2020.

The abrupt shift in the working environment overwhelmed many businesses, forcing them to lay off numerous workers. And the HR struggled to provide support, leadership development, and benefits for their remaining employees.

Under normal circumstances, HR will handle these issues by defining the problem, addressing the variables that complicate it, and agreeing on the best way forward. But the pandemic has proven that these issues are something we’ve never faced before. They aren’t just complicated, but complex. And the traditional way of solving problems is designed for complicated problems only.

COVID-19 And the Hiring Process

Social distancing measures have increased the demands for online applicant tracking software, which helps recruiters streamline the hiring process remotely. This tech advancement has improved the five stages of hiring:

  • Candidate Sourcing

Manually sourcing candidates is time-consuming and challenging. But thanks to digital technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), candidate sourcing can now be automated, and the task of sorting talents have fallen into computers. As a result, companies saved on labor and increased their productivity, as the HR no longer needs to advertise job postings and review thousands of applications.

  • Candidate Screening

AI and Machine Learning (ML) have replaced multiple human recruiters in assessing and shortlisting thousands of resumes. Instead of having a remote human interviewer, the HR may just use an AI-chatbot, which will ask a series of predefined questions to an applicant, then decide if they’re going to be shortlisted.

  • Candidate Assessment

AI tools have also replaced humans in assessing an applicant’s ability to execute job duties. It allows companies to acquire the best talents despite sourcing them remotely.

  • Interviewing

Recruiters no longer have to call applicants to set an interview schedule with them, which usually involves a back-and-forth exchange of “Is this a good time for you?” Thanks to automation, the candidates themselves can now select a slot for an interview schedule, saving the HR time and hassle.

  • Candidate Engagement

One of the applicant’s biggest frustration is not hearing back from their potential employers. Even HR feels bad about it, which motivated the development of AI-chatbots who can respond to applicants’ follow-up messages. It reduced the administrative tasks of interacting with potential hires and keeping all applicants engaged.

Despite COVID-19’s disastrous effects in some businesses, it changed the hiring process for the better. Now more than ever, saving time, resources, and money is crucial, making recruitment technologies indispensable.

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HR’s New Role

In these trying times, HR is a company’s greatest pillar of strength. It’s up to them to see the overall processes and offer a systematic viewpoint. They must ensure coordination, communication, and collaboration across different departments. They should also lead dialogues that will help reinvent, re-proportion, and re-prioritize business goals to make it fit the current consumer demands and markets.

HR should also strive to establish a healthy company culture that will empower work-from-home employees. They can conduct culture assessments and close gaps between the current culture and what employees desire. They must also continue developing leaders and instilling accountability, ensuring connectivity and continuity between team leaders and team members.

The new work setup has also emphasized the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion, all of which the HR has to implement in an organization. They should understand the realities of diverse experiences, take steps in equalizing the playing field, and engage the employees in discussing important social issues.

If there’s any silver lining in the pandemic, it is the opportunity for HR to improve working environments. In the middle of the crisis, we’re able to experience a healthier and more competent workforce.

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