2020: What to learn – what to erase
For HR as a function, staying connected to every single employee of the firm is extremely essential, to get to the pulse of the people. The pandemic forced employees to work from home, and juggle household responsibilities and office work at the same time, impacting their physical, mental, and in some cases, even financial health. This pushed us to devise processes, policies, and mechanisms for their comfort, well-being and growth. In other words, the pandemic turned out to be a blessing in disguise for us, as we challenged ourselves to go beyond, emerge as one strong team and innovate in the space of employee engagement, creating ‘moments that matter’ for them virtually. Thanks to the pandemic, I got to speak to many family members of my team, which had never happened earlier. That helped me understand the employees better, and that too, beyond work. One thing I wish to erase from 2020 is the inability to go to my workplace, and catch up with my team. The coffee breaks which could not happen, and endless conversations around how we can shape up human experience at JLL better were missed. All that did take place, but virtually. I hope that in 2021, I will get to see and meet everyone physically soon.
HR has shown great agility and business acumen
I feel that HR has always shown its business acumen, irrespective of the pandemic. It is that one strategic function, which, if not formulated well, can turn the table upside down. I would say that the pandemic pushed us to shape this function even more. There were (and still are) times when employees were frustrated with handling home, kids, elders and work, all together. Their health and well-being went for a toss. As a function, we immediately shaped up our strategy to ensure their overall well-being and engagement, so that they remained motivated and capable of handling their home and work properly. We came up with many initiatives, policies and approaches to help them sail through the difficult times and also ensure business continuity. Flexible schedule, additional insurance cover for those under home quarantine, virtual self-paced learning modules from LinkedIn and wellbeing seminars were some of them. We will continue to add to this list as we move ahead.
“Human resource professionals will have to keep the game going until business flourishes, and even beyond”
Managing hybrid workforce is more challenging
Managing business expectations and ensuring collaborations between teams across geographies and business lines will be the biggest challenge. Human resource professionals will have to keep the game going until business flourishes, and even beyond. We are working closely with the business to enable managers to build capabilities in leading hybrid teams, ensure virtual client engagement, drive innovation through technology and handle many more aspects. We already have a set plan that focuses on building a culture of trust and collaboration amongst our people. Continuous and impactful communication with the workforce through different modes will be a game changer.
HR to stay human in virtual workplace
At the onset of the pandemic, JLL as a firm, swiftly adopted a digital approach to ensure that we stayed connected to our people and were with them at all times. We organised Leadership Town halls, to keep our people updated with the latest happenings; Employee Connect Sessions, to understand our people’s pulse and offer support if required; Customised Learning and Development offerings, with instructor-led learning modules; Virtual Celebrations, with ovations, rewards and recognitions being moved to a virtual platform to ensure that employee motivation remained intact; Employee well-being initiatives, including well-being webinars, wellbeing resource hubs, counselling sessions for colleagues experiencing challenges and so on.