HR & Technology: A Pandemic Love Story

HR & Technology: A Pandemic Love Story

Samantha Badr


Hello my beautiful readers! Before we dive into the juice, let’s talk about how my life came full circle last week. For my veterans, you already know how this story began. For our new readers – let’s give a quick refresher. About a year ago, I was at a critical point in my life. I had received my master’s degree in HR and was hungry for the career I had planned for years. I was applying to numerous jobs with no luck. Countless applications and countless denials. I even considered changing my whole career path, but I guess the universe had a different plan for me.

LinkedIn connected me with my ~favorite~ HR professor from Pace University. You guys might know her. Her name is Lisa Stamatelos – the beauty and brains behind LJS HR Services. Of course I seized the opportunity to reach out for advice or any reason to give HR one last chance before I threw in the towel. Could’ve been LinkedIn or could’ve been sheer luck. Either way, Lisa saw my potential and took me in – giving me this platform to call home, while expanding my knowledge and love for HR along the way.

So, when Lisa asked me to speak to Pace students about HR, I couldn’t have said YES, any quicker. Speaking to the same class that sparked my interest in HR to begin with. That’s when I realized I made it. Life really came full circle. Just one short year ago I was lost, but now I’m more motivated than ever before. Let’s give a shout out to our savior, our president, Lisa! I owe this all to you. To her students – thank you for laughing at my jokes, but also for giving me the opportunity to speak to you and give some heartfelt advice. It means so much to me, and hopefully you will continue to follow my journey.

Now, let’s get into the good stuff, and the topic of Lisa’s class – HR Trends in 2022. It’s no secret that our world has been shaken the past two years. Everything you thought you knew – changed. Organizations completely shifted and altered their procedures, policies, hiring practices, and more. At the forefront of it all – the *star* of the show has been technology. Love it or hate it, almost every organization has had to focus on technology since our world turned remote. Below are some of the HR practices that technology has affected, as well as, influenced, the years to follow:

  • HRIS systems: Losing access to the office meant losing access to hundreds of the paper files that HR needs to onboard/offboard staff, process payroll and benefits, draft job contracts, etc. Organizations had to either invest in a new HRIS system altogether, or utilize the functions of their existing platforms. Paper forms are an endangered species, and recruiting or other HR functions have now been transferred to online filing systems.
  • Teamwork and collaboration: Now that the paperwork has been established, how has teamwork changed? Organizations had to be creative and find ways for staff to continue collaborating on projects, without sacrificing the quality of the work. Que in the Microsoft Teams and Zoom platforms. These modules supply the luxury of scheduling webcam meetings or providing shared screen options to work on projects with teammates – all while still harboring some type of real-time human connection.
  • Hybrid working model: Now that we’ve established a way to bring coworkers together, how can you expect employees to come back into the office when they’ve been enjoying their Zoom meetings on the couch? Organizations might want to consider a hybrid working model, where employees split time between home and the office or continue working remotely altogether. One thing is for sure – if you want employees back in the office, you better sweeten the deal. Who wants to sit in traffic or spend money on transportation anymore?
  • Performance review modules: If you cannot physically see your staff, how can you judge their performance? The traditional performance review is now a thing of the past. Employees are tired of being graded on a scale of 1-5 and attaching their anticipated bonuses to these numbers. I think it’s time to shift the countless hours spent at the end of the year into something more productive. Instead of self-appraisals and yearly meetings with your supervisor, how about trying to have more frequent check-ins with staff. Try setting company-specific and personal development goals at the beginning of the year. Grade an employee’s progression to these set goals, and reward them for meeting their deadlines.
  • Recruitment strategies: Face-to-face interviews are now screen-to-screen interviews. How can recruiters judge you if they can’t see the shoes you’re wearing? Organizations – please be creative and start asking the hard questions. Gauge your candidates responses when asking them about their career goals or preferred methods of learning. The good news is that with remote work, you can recruit staff outside of the city the organization is based out of. More applications means more opportunities to find the right fit for your company.
  • Training and development: Now that we’ve hired the new staff, how has training and development changed? Not every employee will be tech-savvy. Everyone has different learning styles. Be sure to create user-friendly directions for all staff – senior management positions, or not. It’s important that everyone knows how to clock in their hours, access training materials, etc. Set aside some time to work with employees if they are having technical difficulties. The extra attention matters.
  • Employee retention: So, you have recruited, onboarded, and trained new and/or existing employees. Now what? You must work to keep them! Consider your total rewards packages and make some adjustments. PTO is not the hottest reward anymore. How about flextime? How about a Zoom happy hour? Maybe a virtual mural board in which employees can add their feedback or ideas for engagement programs. Involve your staff in your decision-making. I promise it will go a long way.

We’re two months into 2022 – what has your organization implemented thus far? It’s definitely not too late to plan some changes this year. Employees have become unmotivated and disengaged from staring at their computer screens all day. Make their day better by providing support or rewarding them without warning. Ask your employees how they are really doing.

One inspiring question I received from a Pace student was “how has the pandemic changed/shaped HR”? My answer is this – HR is no longer just the gatekeeper for your emergency contact form or timesheet. HR has been completely revolutionized. HR is now considered a business partner and vital in making management decisions. There’s so much more to HR than paperwork. We are now the gatekeepers of change. Move over everyone – HR is coming in HOT this 2022.

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