Right Now: Putting the Human into Human Resources (20 March 2020)

Right now, I know that you’re fire-fighting in this unprecedented situation, and I’d like to offer you some support.

I’m finding it’s important to remember that our role as Reward professionals sits in the Human Resources function. Human.

If we’re honest with ourselves, most of us chose a career in Reward because we love geeking out on spreadsheets, ratios, stats, regulations etc. In fact, pretty much anything that minimises human contact!

But now is the time to get up from behind our screens and remember we’re part of the broader HR function, working closely with colleagues and helping to reduce the stress of those that are most affected by this pandemic.

How can we do this?

Our Reward roles are split between ‘compensation’ and ‘benefits’. We spend most of the year focusing on pay: how and how much to pay our people, from executives through to the wider workforce.

Of course, at these challenging times, we still need to retain our focus on the cost base.

However, we also need to make better use of the benefits we offer or could offer, for example, the flexibility to work from home wherever possible; flexible hours now that children are out of school; and remote IT assistance.

I’d also suggest that your people managers check on the physical, mental and emotional well-being of their team members on a regular basis and foster communication between team members to combat isolation – especially for the extroverts who get their drive and energy from being around others.

A time to show integrity

Remember those value words painted on the wall by the coffee machine? E.g. collaboration, empowerment, trust. They’re being put through a stress test right now.

If you have to let people go, then reiterate their worth – although this should always be the case, it’s especially important right now to ensure that people are treated with dignity and respect.

The wider network

LinkedIn is a community of 660 million users in more than 200 countries – someone somewhere has the answer to what’s on your mind. And even if those in your immediate circle can’t help, they will likely know someone who can.

Personally, I have a wide global HR network, and I’m always happy to make relevant introductions for contacts to explore synergies, help resolve issues and learn new skills.

Let’s share and connect where we can.

The future

Better times will return. Now is our opportunity to shine as HR professionals and reiterate our value to our businesses, and to our colleagues who are looking to us for answers.

Right now, our small actions where we live and work collectively support UN Sustainable Development Goal #3: Good Health and Well-Being – and this is for the best of humanity.

Corinne Carr is an independent remuneration consultant specialising in Responsible Reward and founder of PeopleNet Ltd.  Read her Responsible Reward: how to fulfil your environmental, social and governance promises through performance and pay and watch her 2-minute video. www.peoplenet.ltd.uk