April 18, 2020

HR in Action during the Lock down period

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We all are going through a tough time – both socially and professionally. People have been asked to maintain distance to break the COVID-19 outbreak chain. Most of us have isolated ourselves for the past few weeks. As a human being we have been encouraged to work with people so this new norm of isolation and distancing is challenging to most of us – both emotionally and mentally. HR department is people focused and when people have been isolated or have been asked to work remotely then its time for HR to get into action. We at AgileWoW meetup group thought about having a discussion with HR people on how they are managing this situation and we were surprised to hear different initiatives started by HR teams. This is a consolidated list from all participants and not in any order. Thanks to all participants and the organizing team members - Amit Singh and Dinesh Saini. Participant and company name have been kept confidential.

 

1.    One of the HR member said that she is giving a call to at-least 10 employees on daily basis, having a quick chit chat, talking about professional and personal things. Sometime she even talks to family members also to build a bonding. People are feeling connected to their organization.

2.    E-learning portal has been setup and all employees are requested to spend some time on it on weekly basis, learning new skills.

3.    Organizations have setup their own Help line so that employees can give a call whenever they need help or feel anxious.

4.    Different contests have been organized –

a.    Online Quiz

b.    Photography contest – click a selfie or family photo

c.    My Recipe

5.    Organizations are inviting external speakers to have online sessions for their employees on – Leadership, Conflict Management, Communication and Presentation skills etc.

6.    Online yoga sessions are also quite popular

7.    Along with employees, their kids are also at home for quite long time and we know kids prefer to go out and play with their friends. HR team has started organizing online sessions for them as well e.g. – story telling, music session, drawing competition etc.

8.    It has been agreed and accepted that there will disturbance while the employee is on video call with his colleagues. Even people are encouraged to bring their kids while they are working. It should be a very comfortable homely environment and people are not isolated in a separate room within their house.

9.    Since employees are closer and near to their kids and have more time to share with them, parenting sessions are organized for mentoring them on better parenting skills.

10. As a team member I used to go out to my colleagues’ desk and tea/coffee break which is not possible now. Teams have come up with an agreement to have at-least one common break for a virtual tea break and talking about different things including COVID-19 situation. It is named as “Chai pe Charcha”

11. Teams have started doing virtual pot lunch which is unique in a way that you have to prepare it yourself.

12. One of the participants said that with so many new initiatives he is seeing more collaboration now within the team.

13. However, there are a few challenges also – one of the HR participants said that in her organization an employee was retired after serving 30 years in the organization however it was very unfortunate that the HR team can’t organize anything for him. It was a virtual good bye.

14. Also, for new hires, giving laptop, configuring VPN, downloading code etc. is a challenge but they are trying to manage as much as they can.

15. One of the participants shared that it seems that he is working more while at home and feels tired by end of the day which was not the case earlier :-)

16. One of the key pieces of feed back from employees to HR team was that, most of these activities are generally scheduled for Friday, but as an individual I am already winding down and looking forward to weekend. It would be great to have these activities occur in the middle of the week.

 

We may be hearing about job loss but the participants said that so far no one is asked to leave in their organization. We are trying our best to avoid such situation. Also, please treat this as a medical war situation and try to find out best way possible to fulfill your basic needs for survival. We are quite hopeful that the COVID-19 situation will not last for too long and as a community we are going to win it.

Be safe, take care of yourself and your family.

Thanks again to all participants and the organizing team members.

We are  part of the Official Scrum.org Community Meetup . You are most welcome to join our meetup group – AgileWoW Meetup.

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