Communications has become the most critical element to survive in today’s volatile, uncertain, ambiguous environment

Communications has become the most critical element to survive in today’s
26 Oct 2020

With the ongoing virus epidemic, everything in the business ecosystem is undergoing a dramatic transformation. More and more hours of remote work are leaving employees isolated and disconnected for their goals causing larger productivity and performance gaps. We ask S.J Chong, Human Resources Manager on actions that can help in overcoming this as we start realigning, restructuring and replanning budgets, KPIs and KRA’s for the coming year.

1: How do you think the pandemic has changed the workplace and HR Roles?

The role of HR has a direct impact on the business performance. During the lockdowns, we had very little time to plan, hence the priority was to quickly ensure that everyone was given the right tools and training from software to remote access and clear instructions on reporting so that they can be productive at home. However, with the extended work from home now, there is tremendous uncertainty that is causing mental and emotional stress. People have started feeling disconnected, demotivated and disengaged.

2. How do you engage with a remote workforce?

Aligning and engaging employees is highly important today. For us, it is all about creating exciting experiences- moving from just another on-line town hall to strategically align our efforts in the workplace to current issues. We have put together various campaigns aligned with #SheMatters Women's Empowerment, Breast Cancer Awareness as part of a global alignment, while other themes are aligned with the company direction to drive further conversations, discussions, and engagements.

First of all, it is important that everyone remembers and understands the company’s vision, strategy, products, processes, culture and especially core values – so we have reactivated this through employee endorsement campaigns where healthy eating and wellness centric work practices are emphasised, we have organised weekend online yoga to increase focus, we have been running online surveys on how to improve the workplace and consistent in organising regular  video meet where everybody including the complete leadership team come together from across geographies to celebrate the company’s achievements during the month, expectations, introductions to new hires, celebrate milestones and work anniversaries.

3. How can the remote workforce be more productive?

Firstly, people have to be held accountable for deliverables, following clear guidelines set by the company on work hours, picking up calls and responding to emails as agreed. These lines can become blurred very easily not just through lack of discipline but in most cases when a workday lacks structure. So, Managers and Supervisors need to do more frequent, smaller evaluations such as weekly one-on-one check-ins to help employees overcome or ease into the above challenges. Work through specific project timelines with start to end dates - this allows them to provide feedback, and it offers employees a chance to make adjustments and ensure course corrections immediately. Next is to create project milestones and checklists. Then, evaluate the work done through data-driven analytics to see quantifiable progress. Never forget to celebrate the small wins.