Banking Article, Banking Finance 2022, Banking Finance March 2022

Role of HR in Building Organizational Resilience

The Corona virus pandemic has taught us many lessons & one of the most important lessons for the organization is to assess regularly “How prepared are we to bounce back”.Individual resilient behavior is needed when an organization is in crises or in transformation. Without individual resilient behavior, it is difficult for an organization to be resilient. This article highlight the role of human resource department in building individual resilient behavior which in turn result in Organizational Resilience.

The Pandemic has taught us many lessons & one of the most important lessons for the organization is to assess regularly “How prepared are we to bounce back”.

Introduction

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from difficulty.  An organization’s resilient behavior or ability to respond to challenging situation is a strategic aspect of the organization. Resilient organizations do not only respond to specific crises, they can also anticipate upcoming changes and prevent their business from being adversely affected by those changes. Individual resilient behavior is needed when an organization is in crises or in transformation. Without individual resilient behavior, it is difficult for an organization to be resilient. The role of human resource department is very important for developing an employee’s resilience, which in turn will result in organizational resilience and organizational sustainability.

When business impacted adversely, it is the people that make recovery and victory possible. What the organizations are giving to their people, it revert back to the organizations in terms of better output and better productivity. We have learnt this lesson from the widespread pandemic Covid 19. The industries and organizations, those has taken proactive measure to protect their people in this pandemic, has recovered early and moved on the growth trajectory once again. This pandemic has impacted all the industries. Pandemic has hit the employee’s physical, mental and emotional well being. People are working in fear and worries. The outbreak of corona virus disease, has adversely affected the moral of the employees. Many people have lost their life in this unprecedented disaster, many have suffered financially due to high expenditure on medical treatment and many are still struggling for their mental and emotional wellbeing.

In this rapidly changing environment, when the people are facing many challenges; the role of the HR department has become extremely important.Keeping workforce happy, healthy and productive amidst all these challenges is one of the prime concerns before the HR department.HR has to find the innovative ways to keep the workforce align to the organizational objectives and has to make a bigger impact to boost the morale of the workforce.

Employees Wellbeing& Individual Resilient behavior: –

The employees have shown the tremendouscourage and dedication in this unprecedented time to provide the uninterrupted service to their customers. But the virus is more fatal this time. Many employees are infected by this deadly virus while performing their duty causing severe health issues. We have lost many our friends and colleagues. This is uncertain time for employees and their family members and we are seeing a major surge in panic, depression and anxiety among employees. These unprecedented times has raised the stress levels of the employees and the onus is on the HR department to channel these emotions in order to keep their employees safe, motivated and productive.

Firmshas taken various measures to protect their employees. From ‘work from anywhere’ to ‘limited working hour’, firms are adopting all measures to protect the employees from this deadly virus. Still there is need to adopt the innovative ways to provide safe & healthy work environment to the employees. Some of things that the HR should do on a continuous basis are as follows:-

  • HR is responsible for building safe space for employees to perform their role to the best of their abilities and provide them with self-care tools and resources.
  • HR has to ensure regular test and screening that are becoming norms in the new normal.
  • There is need of employee’s education on how to prevent, identify and manage issues like depression, anxiety and low self- esteem.
  • HR has to step up and support their employees and prioritize their mental and emotional wellbeing.
  • HR has to encourage employees to take time for self-care and for caring their friends & family members.
  • HR needs to offer expanded support in everything from employee’s assistance programs to programs for mindfulness, exercise, nutrition and financial counseling on continuous basis and adopt these programs as a routine exercise.
  • To inculcate mindfulness in the workforce, HR will have to go beyond the annual retreat and make programs that not only support team building but also provide employees with emotional and psychological strength to deal with an increasing uncertain world.
  • Most importantly, during this exceptionally stressful time, keep lines ofcommunication open and regularly keeping them informedabout the resources and benefits available to them.
  • Employees with a greater sense of holistic wellbeing can contribute more fully and bring their best to their work.

Employees well being have a direct impact of their resilient behavior and consequently on the business results. In the situation like this, HR, in addition to handling the business requirements, is also responsible for managing concerns and apprehensions of their employees.

Power of Human Connection- Facilitating communications among employees

The one thing that is incredibly important is the power of human connection. For developing individual resilient behavior, communication plays a very important role. HR needs toencourage open conversation among the employees to share their problems & concerns. This will help in building a good relationship among the employees and they will come forward to help each other at this time of crisis. HR will also need to create opportunities for regular and continuous communication among employees. These interactions will help employees to come out with the new ideas to solve the problems. To nurture these kinds of workplace relationship, HR needs to make continuous efforts to build bond between the employees. This culture of healthy relationship will be reflected in the resilient behavior of the employees and also in the organization.

Communication in crisis-

Communication in crisis is very critical element. How HR communicates in the time of crisis means a lot for the employees. A message which shows that theour organizationisnot going to leave any room to protect our people in this time difficult time will boost the moral and enhance the faith of the employees on the HR. The magical words like “we are here for you” is a like panacea which can infuse the new energy in the workforce.The continuous communication from HR will help to understand what kind of challenges employees are facing while performing their duty, what are their concerns, what need and support they require to perform their duty effectively. This continuous communication from the HR will build trust among the employees and will encourage them to perform better under any circumstances.

Business Continuity& Strategic Business Partnering: –

All these things are interrelated, business is driven by the people and if the people are having problems & concerns it has a direct impact on the performance of the organization. One way, HR is the advocate of the employees for addressing the concerns, on the otherhand, HR is equally responsible for the business continuity and continuous growth of the business. HR is the true strategic business partner and a true consultant of the management on the people issues.The Covid has taught us that if organizations are ignoring the health and wellbeing of the employees it will be very difficult to ensure the business continuity to achieve the desired results.

Considering business continuity plan to deal with such exigencies, firms need to have system, procedure, policies in place. Organizations need to review policies on workplace flexibility and remote working to make them future ready to deal with such type of pandemic.

Now HR has to transform itself from an operational one to more strategic partner of the business. HR should have a fair idea about the extent that any people issue can impact the business productivity. Role of HR has changed significantly over a period of time. As a true business partner, HR needs to have an overall knowledge of business and work and on the basis of that they need to form the HR strategy. Ensuring the business continuity in such type of pandemic shows the HR’s ability to handle the crisis well.

Building Trust & Credibility

Building trust is an ongoing journey and one that has several steps. The first step is creating an environment in which care is felt. When the employees feel the organization cares for them, they have higher level of trust .HR needs to develop the culture of care, support and flexibility. Communication with employees on regular basis, listening and being responsive when they express concerns and coaching conversation will prove to be highly effective in building a culture of trust. Every small step of HR towards addressing the employees concerns make a foundation of the trust & credibility. When the employees of the organization start feeling that there is someone to take care of them that is the beginning of trustworthiness. HR proactive measures towards employee’s wellbeing at the time of pandemic will win the trust of the employees.HR needs to develop the culture of care & respect in the organization. This will ensure the continuous growth of the organization.

‘Human’ aspect at the time of Digital Push

In this era of Digitalization,most of the communications aredigital. People are communicating digitally. Most of the HR process has digitalized and the opportunities of personal engagement has reduced drastically. Digitalization is the need of the hour which is having many advantages like cost effectiveness, time saving and the transparency. But HR needs to take care that the engagement with employees at a personal level does not end. HR needs to explore the ways of engaging at a personal level and to be humane with the employees. It is all about discovering effective ways of engagement to address the challenges of the workforce. It should be the right mix of technology and personal engagement so the “Human” aspect will always be taken care.

Creating a culture of spirituality at work: –

Spirituality at work is something that HR of any organization dream to have. It is about values at individual and organization level, workplace ethics and integrity, mutual respect, caring and sharing, empathy, teamwork and social and community wellbeing. Spirituality is about getting best HR practices under one umbrella. It is not only about following values of trust, empathy, community, teamwork but also being true to the organizational ethics.The good practices at work are already there in the firms, but still there is a need to look again keeping in mind the current workplace challenges. There is a need to develop a culture of workplace spirituality that will come automatically from within and it will remain forever in the air of the organization. Such cultural initiatives should come from the top-level to lead by example., which can then percolate down to the higher and middle level management and then to the organization at large.

Particularlynew generation organizations are struggling to have spirituality at work. Firms have witnessed many workplace frauds and the involvement of the internal employees. HR has to define spirituality at work in the organization concept, within the broad frameworkof workplace spirituality, to set the standards for the organization.

The employee’s interest has to be kept at the fore front in enabling employees to have effective work life balance, flexibility at workand an open communication, citing that the benefits come at a cost and the price is worth a better living for mutual benefits. When all HR process will align with the sprit at work, firm can rediscover itself for reaching the new heights.

Way Forward

HR has to play a bigger role with more human focused approach. The change and challenge will always be there, but how HR respond to a crisis makes a difference. Care, support and respect are the things that an employee is expecting for the HR. Developing the people, empowering them with knowledge, skill and attitude, supporting and caring and respecting their individuality are things where HR needs to find innovative ways. These things along with the spirituality at workplace will result in highly motivated, inspired, happy and healthy workforce. We will see than, the tremendous result in terms of the growth in business and the economy.

Conclusion: –

Employee resilient behavior contributes to the continuous process of organizational resilient behavior. The resilient behavior can be developed through a social process led by the HR department of the organization. This process may involve valuing employees by honoring them for their contribution to the organization, facilitating the employee’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing and the employee empowerment through continuous learning & development efforts. The HR department can also appreciate employees by implementing strategic human resource management practices in the organization. In turn they will work hard for the organization and will contribute in the organizations’ sustainability in a long run.

Individual resilient behavior is fundamental in organizational, especially during crisis management, transformation and turbulent conditions to be more resilient.Individual resilient behavior impacts resilient organizational behavior and to develop resilient behavior in individual, organizations should adopt a high performance working system in which the priority being given to the health & wellbeing of the employees over business, aculture which promote healthy relationships,continuous communication, trust & credibility and spirituality at workplace, where employee can perform in their true potential even in the time of crisis.

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