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Human Resources Tips During Social Distancing

Rachel Maltese
Updated March 31 2020
HR during coronavirus
Rachel Maltese
Updated March 31 2020

Coronavirus may be keeping you at home. But while COVID-19 has changed the way we live right now, it hasn’t stopped many of us from working. And with businesses still running under these new and challenging circumstances, Human Resources departments are now more important than ever. But how can you make sure all your company’s HR needs are being met in this time of working remotely?

Managing the Employee Journey… From a Distance

Just because traditional HR functions can’t happen face-to-face right now, doesn’t mean they can’t happen at all. Luckily, there are lots of different tools out there to facilitate the activities needed to address each part of the employee lifecycle.  Let’s take a look at some of the social distancing-related HR challenges you may be facing right now – along with ways to solve them.

Attraction

Attracting employees is the first phase of the employee journey and is focused on making sure your company stands out as a great place to work. While you may not be able to highlight your in-office culture or participation high-density community events during this time, there are still lots of ways to convey why your company should stand out to job seekers.

 

Demonstrating via your website and social media that your company has a strong plan for working remotely during this challenging time is key. But so is showing care for your employees — who may need more flexibility and stronger benefits than ever – and the communities you operate in.

 

Video is a fantastic and engaging way to tell the story of how you work now on your public-facing webpages. Social distancing in the workplace doesn’t have to mean isolation.

Recruiting

Recruiting is all about selection the right people for open positions at your company, and there are lots of great reasons to use video as part of recruitment regardless of what’s going on in the world. But how can you carry out the standard, interview-focused recruitment process when you can’t meet candidates in person? Luckily video-based interviews and communications can allow you to successfully complete recruiting, even from distance.

 

Virtual meetings which allow people, no matter where they are in the world, to share information and communicate in real-time can easily be used for interviews, whether your organization needs to conduct one-on-one or group session. These meetings can be recorded, allowing you to get feedback on candidates from everyone in the hiring chain, even if they aren’t available to attend. Don’t forget to leverage tools like text chats, screen sharing, whiteboards, and other features for brainstorming and problem-solving exercises if your company uses those as part of the interview process.

 

Another way to get to know candidates and to help candidates get to know you is to add a video to asynchronous email communications. Video emails represent a way to break through the noise facing highly desirable candidates by providing video messages embedded directly into a traditional email in the recipient’s inbox. They can, in turn, reply with video, which can be particularly helpful to the recruitment process if your organization is spread out over multiple time zones.

 

HR for work from home during coronavirus

Onboarding

While we generally think of onboarding as involving lots of face-to-face interaction in the form of corporate orientation meetings, there’s no reason video can’t be used for these functions. Welcome messages from corporate leadership can easily be delivered through a company’s video portal or through a tool like Pitch. Virtual meetings can be used to walk a group of new employees through paperwork, and online training tools can be used to make sure new employees are clear on policies and compliance issues. Adding quizzes to training video increases employee focus and allows for verification of understanding as your new hires complete learning units.

One of the many advantages of onboarding through video is that employees will easily be able to refer back to material whenever they need to, reducing the need to dedicate resources to questions that have already been answered. Additionally, onboarding through video increases standardization, making sure that all employees have received the same material with the same emphasis, helping to create a clearer, more unified corporate culture.

Enablement

Enablement is all about helping employees do – and get the most out of doing – their jobs. From questions about expense reports to adjusting 401K contributions, enablement is often about answering questions that may seem repetitive to you in HR, but are first-time challenges to the staff members you’re helping.

 

Moving enablement functions to video isn’t just a great choice for our current socially-distanced reality, but a positive choice for your HR department overall. By creating short videos that address frequently asked questions, you can free up your HR staff to focus on the myriad of unique and challenging individual circumstances created by the COVID-19 situation.

Development

Ongoing training to help employees develop new skills has always been a part of what HR does, and that hasn’t changed. Video-based training as a way to handle employee learning tasks has many benefits, whether your team is still together in an office or working from home during social distancing.  Online training allows learners to cover material at their own pace and on their own paths while still adhering creates standardized curriculums. Interactive features like in-video quizzes can help to keep employees engaged and provide feedback on how well they are absorbing the material. Analytics connected to video training material also allows you to see who is working on what.

 

In some companies, in-person classes are a cornerstone of training. Virtual classrooms, however, preserve much of the classroom experience, including the ability to raise a hand, talk to fellow students and instructors face-to-face, and share notes and whiteboards. For companies that typically do training (from onboarding to managerial training) in enormous in-person events, live webcasting can preserve the excitement and focus of a large live gathering, with Q&As and polls. (Plus, there’s no such thing as a bad seat!)

 

Video training isn’t just about the material you give your employees to watch. Rather, you can also enable your employees to create informal knowledge sharing videos. This can help preserve institutional knowledge and provide valuable cross-training opportunities at a time when having skill redundancies withing your organization can be a valuable part of ensuring ongoing operations at a time when employees may be more likely to take sick days or use family medical leave.

HR tips for working during social distancing

Retention

Yes, employee retention is about making sure employees have what they need to do their jobs with as little stress as possible. But it’s also about making them feel like valued members of the team, which can be particularly challenging in these socially distanced times.

Luckily, video provides ways to solve this. Video allows your HR department to make sure teams have both face-to-face meetings as well as interaction – such as through comments on a video portal – that feels like a cross between social media and the casual friendliness of an in-person workplace.

 

Video also allows employees to get their work done on a schedule that’s flexible. With many workers having to also care for children and/or older relatives during the workday right now, you can make life easier for your staff by recording townhalls and other instances of webcasting (e.g., company-wide remote events). This way, your staff can catch up with mission-critical all-hands announcements at a time that works best for them. This is a great way to keep employees feeling included, while also acknowledging the challenge of work/life balance in these unique times.

Separation

Sometimes employees move on. Just as when they join your organization, this produces a lot of paperwork, but that’s not your only concern when an employee leaves. Preserving their institutional knowledge and getting feedback on their experience is also key. Using video to conduct the separation process is an excellent way to record feedback to share with the appropriate people within the organization.

Using Video to Manage HR Tasks Means Managing Video Content

With video meetings, communications, and education so essential to HR, it’s important that this content be managed as the valuable corporate resource it is. Having a single, easy-to-navigate location where your employees can seek out what they need is essential. Making sure that content is targeted to their specific position, goals, and needs through role management is also important.

 

And, just as you want an easy-to-use experience for your employees, you want to make sure managing and organizing your video content is easy too.

 

A video portal is one way to meet these needs. It can provide you with a company-wide platform (think YouTube, but just for your organization) that contains training videos and messages from executives, while also providing ways for employees to create their own video content that adds to institutional knowledge. Your video portal can serve as the easy-to-manage centerpiece of your remote human resources efforts in this unusual time.

Conclusion

A crash course in providing HR services to a distributed workforce with dozens or hundreds of remote workers may not have been what you expected to be doing this year. But there is good news – the tools that can help make this possible, will continue to enhance what your department does even when we’re all able to be together again.

 

Video for human resources leads to increased engagement, improved employee information retention, and better preservation of institutional knowledge. Using virtual meetings, webcasting, and other video functions to help meet your HR needs today will also give you a head start on meeting the HR challenges of tomorrow.

 

With video, your human resources team can continue to bring employees together even when they’re far apart.

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