Here’s how HR teams can boost productivity during the coronavirus crisis

Financial clarity protects from fines 3 | Here’s how HR teams can boost productivity during the coronavirus crisis
By Toby Lester | 7th October 2020 | 3 min read

“The future requires you to reimagine what professional life is like.” 
– Kelly Abel, HR Director, IRIS 

Over the past few months, the responsibilites of HR managers have been turned on their head. After all, the coronavirus crisis is a crisis of human health – so it makes sense that it’s had such a huge effect on the HR sector. 

We wanted to find out how this new role of the HR manager can help to boost employee productivity, so we surveyed over 1,000 organisations to find out how HR has changed. 

The remote working productivity problem 

It’s easy for managers to assess if people are doing their jobs while they’re in the office; you only need to walk past their desk. However, short of micromanaging their workloads or outright spying on them using remote monitoring software, it’s impossible to achieve the same oversight while we’re all remote working. 

In fact, 36% of organisations we surveyed stated that they’re struggling to coordinate their remote working staff. 

So how do we get past this problem find out what people are up to? 

The simple answer is that you don’t need to. Productivity doesn’t necessarily mean forcing your employees to spend every hour of the day slaving away on their tasks. 

For many organisations, it instead means boosting employee engagement. 

Employee engagement is the solution 

Of the organisations we surveyed, 32% have struggled to maintain their employee engagement at pre-coronavirus levels. Part of the issue is that working from home brings with it unique challenges, but also unique benefits – for example, for parents, it could mean that they can split their time between work and childcare. 

This is why it’s crucial that businesses start to move away from forcing employees to work set hours in a brick-and-mortar office. If one employee produces the same excellent work as another but spent less hours toiling away on it, is that not a net benefit for everyone involved? 

An overwhelming 75% of HR professionals agree that personal employee challenges and mental health are significant challenges of the coronavirus crisis. A better work-life balance can go a long way to addressing this. 

Central to this, 58% of HR managers see tackling employee morale as their main challenge throughout the pandemic. Loosening your grip on employee working hours is how you can boost it – and these changes will have lasting benefits, both now and in the next normal. 

HR is key to boosting employee engagement 

Excellent employee engagement doesn’t hinge on a single grand gesture, nor is it earned by token attempts to force staff to interact with one another. 

Instead, organisations that are serious about boosting employee engagement need to put their HR team at the helm of employee engagement strategy and afford them the tools they need to ensure that it succeeds.  

Organisations need to put HR at the forefront to tackle poor employee engagement. An engaged employee is excited to come into work today and will commit the mental energy needed to smash through your targets. These employees are the backbone of your business, so there’s huge benefits to be had for every department. 

Tech is key to measuring engagement 

At the core of the next-normal strategy is your HR management system. Technology really is the key to measuring employee engagement – especially now that you can’t evaluate that in person.  

That’s why Brethertons Solicitors sought a trusted HR solution to help them manage their large workforce – IRIS Cascade

They’re committed to Investing in People, so they needed an outstanding HR platform to back up that commitment. IRIS Cascade was the perfect solution. You can read more about their journey here.

IRIS Cascade is ideal for businesses with 250 - 10,000 employees. For fewer employees, we have IRIS HR Professional. This flexible HR system also works in the cloud and can help HR teams who are working remotely.

For more human resources insight and the results of our nationwide survey, you can download the free insight guide today. Alternatively, contact one of our specialists directly to ask any burning questions you may have – we're always here to help.