HR strategies for New Normal



Deepam Yogi, Yellow Sparks Solutions LLP

Lock-down is easing up in the capital city of Kathmandu and other cities of Nepal. Businesses are opening up, but they are still exploring ways to co-exist with the virus. On one hand , businesses that rely on social interaction are taking necessary protective measures to run their day to day to operations. On the other hand, businesses that are able to function in work from home modality are continuing to do so. Regardless, all businesses have one aspect in common- they are each re-defining how they run their day to day operations and achieving productivity and managing people in this new normal is a common challenge for founders of many businesses.

In the previous episodes of series we spoke about Evolving Role of HR during Global Pandemic , we discussed several issues of productivity from an employee’s perspective.  In the recent episode with Deepam Yogi from Yellow Spark Solution LLP – a management consulting firm, we have explored some practical tips on managing people and productivity while running a business in COVID pandemic. Watch the full episode here. Below are some highlights from this episode on how you can manage  internal capacity of your business while operating in these uncertain times.

Leaders should take a step back :
Ms. Yogi points out that conversations that are taking place in the Human Resource field are mostly related to managing productivity. In this all however, pressure of performance on team leaders or managers has largely gone undiscussed.
She observes that leaders want productivity, but employees need clarity to be productive as, “Productivity comes from clarity.” Hence, she advises leaders to take a step back , so that they have all the right answers, so that they develop an ability to set new goals, and to redirect their organisation as well as their employees.

Time to develop interim goals :
If you are an organisation that’s been affected by COVID-19 then your business will go through a “slow burn” and it will take time before you recover all your losses and regain normal operations.
This period can be utilised to develop and to set interim goals. You may begin by evaluating if you need to upgrade your existing processes or services, or by asking if it is possible to get accreditation for your business, or by reconnecting with past customers.
Exploring such issues will enable you to develop interim goals for your business.

The new business context :
Yes, businesses are opening up but managers have to be more than cautious about the new business context.
Businesses have to think about factors like : social distancing norms, new ways to serve customers, no. of employees businesses can accommodate at a workplace, revision of work calendar, and new business trends like work from home policies. All these factors must be duly considered by business owners as they resume their business operations.
“Every organization is taking different decisions , you have to decide what’s best for you, based on  your business context.”

Work from home is here to stay :
Work from home has become an integral part of new normal. If you are a business owner how do you make sure that your employees are carrying out their duties?
“If your business is adopting work from home policy, make sure that you define the objective  of work from home policy,” says Ms. Yogi. She advises  to be clear on terms of working from home and all other considerations. Similarly, it is very important to be clear on the process of implementing policies as well as consequences one will have to bear in case of breach.
Similarly, it is not enough to draft a two page WFH managers must also evaluate its broader implications on other policies.

Holding on to your employees :
In these three months of lock-down businesses  have had to face tough decisions like laying off of employees to reduce costs.
“Make sure that you are able to hold on to your employees, without burning all of your financial resources, ” suggests Deepam. Some strategies you might adopt are : salary reduction by level.
But if the situation is bad , she advises that you could keep “employees on bench” or could make a resolve for yourself that you will get your employees back when the situation is better.

For more of this conversation tune in to our episode with Deepam Yogi .