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HR Lessons Learned through a Pandemic

Hello spring! It’s nice to see you. Spring always feels like a fresh start with warmer temperatures, budding flowers, and cleansing rains. That’s good because we could all use a fresh start right about now…. and that fresh start is coming.

Vaccines are rolling out, travel is picking back up, kids are going back to the classroom and companies are getting back to business. But let’s make sure we really are taking the opportunity to make the most of this fresh start and not going backwards.

To do that, you have to reflect back on the past year and discuss what happened, what didn’t happen, what could have been better, and even what could have been worse. Gathering lessons learned from such tumultuous experiences is the only way to grow and really embrace a fresh start.

As we have worked with our small business clients through the last year, here are some lessons learned that we have experienced with them and that they are embracing:

  • Employees can successfully work remotely. What some may have known as the traditional work environment is forever changed.

  • If you are putting tracking software on remote employee computers, either you hired the wrong people or you’re a micro manager. Check yourself.

  • Recruiting for remote working or hybrid companies has expanded regionally or nationally providing more opportunities for both companies and candidates.

  • Employees are people too. Expecting people to separate what happens in the world or their personal lives from their work life is unrealistic.

  • Support employee well-being and wellness. Design policies and practices to support time off and separations from work. We also talked about this in November 2020 in this blog, Things to Change in 2021. All of this still holds true.

  • Not all illnesses or injuries are physical. Mental health is a priority and should be recognized as such.

  • Cash is king – This isn’t necessarily HR related… but kind of because it could lead to retention. Having a cash reserve for your small business is imperative to weathering the storm.

  • You can’t go at it alone and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Creating a team environment is a built-in support system for everyone. Each person will have their ups and downs, so when someone has their down day(s), the team will be there for support.

  • Don’t wait until you’re forced to change, to change. Remember when some companies didn't want to let employees work from home for whatever reason and then they were forced to in 2020? Don’t fall into that trap again. Trust in the people that you hired to do their jobs and be more open to listening to the needs of employees.

We encourage small business owners and managers to sit down with your team and have an open conversation about the past year. What did you learn about the business, the team and individually? What would you do differently? and How has it changed your business going forward? This conversation can only make everyone better and stronger when moving forward.

Here’s to a fresh start!


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