2020 has been quite the year. It has been one of hardship but more so of resounding resilience. With many transitioning to work from home and business, finding new and innovative ways to continue to thrive, it may seem like we are ready to break into 2021 and hit the ground running. The truth is that most in HR are wondering, “ How do I plan for 2021?” As we continue to monitor the considerations on the forefront as we transition into 2021, we have prepared an HR Spotlight on 10 Ways the Biden Presidency could have on Impact Employers to assist our community; you can find that material here

It’s in our nature; HR people have to plan. We have recurring things we plan for. Aware that the fourth quarter brings year-end raises and performance appraisals, the fiscal year ends in July, meaning we need to be prepared with a budget. Knowing that code of conduct, diversity training, and sexual harassment all need to be completed by a specific date, and then we will follow up with those who decided to skip out. This is what we excel at. 

Did we mention that we also are good at emergencies? If you come in hurt because tragedy has struck, we will be there, a tissue in hand, explain bereavement leave, and have flowers sent from the company. When someone leaves the company, we, without skipping a beat, post a job description. When someone in a senior position quits, we pull out a succession plan and say, “Both Jack and Jill are prepared for this role. Let’s interview them before looking externally.”

Since we are excellent at planning and dealing with the unexpected, why does it feel like we are wrapped in a weighted blanket riddled with anxiety planning for 2021? 

But because it is in our nature, plan for 2021, we will. The issue here is that we need the world to construct and implement a plan, and as of yet, that isn’t the case. Some areas are reimplementing restrictions on restaurants and bars, and because California couldn’t develop a workable reopening plan, Disneyland had to lay off 28,000 people. In short, our governments are making it difficult for us to do what we do best, and that is to plan. 

But as HR people, we will plan, and we will deal with emergencies as they arise because it is in our nature; it’s what HR does, and we’re good at it. So without further ado,

Let’s Prepare for 2021

Paying Attention

  • Listen to what the government says. You can guarantee, and we have proof throughout 2020, that given the same scenario, no two countries, states, or even cities will act exactly the same. Numbers on their own are not enough to make decisions. Stay tuned to what your local political leaders say in every office location. Decisions are typically made at a local level, so it is best to listen and pay attention to how things may directly affect your business.

Use Your Skills To Ensure Success

  • What is the worst-case scenario for your business? The answer will vary from business to business. Some businesses have been busier than ever, struggling to stay fully staffed as everyone works around the clock. Others have unfortunately had to lay off and furlough just about everyone and are hanging by a thread.
  • In a booming business, for HR, it can mean planning for recruitment, training, figuring out retention bonuses, and salary benchmarks. Remember that if you need to pay new staff more to get them to join the business, you should increase your old staff members. Nothing can kill morale quicker than the new person earning 20 percent more than the loyal long-time employee.  
  • For the dying business, shutting down production lines, planning for more layoffs, and closing bars and restaurants. You’ll want to ask yourself what you can do with the skills of the staff you still possess. It may be time for the business to change direction. Yes, it is the CEO’s job to figure out how to make the shift, but they do so with help from their executive team. If the HR head isn’t at the table, bring your own chair and join, whether virtually or six feet apart. 
  • The most important thing HR can add here is how to look at the skills of employees they still have and how to transfer those into new positions. Businesses can change, rebrand, and retool, but they need people to continue to run even after the change. As the people expert HR people are, you can help determine how the company can use the current employees and their skills to perform in the change of direction.

Conduct An Employee Survey

  • Do you know what works and what doesn’t? You probably know some of it from just looking at the business, but there is so much that you don’t know. How are your employees doing under current regulations? Are they overwhelmed with work, home, and safety? Is the work from home set up sending staff over the edge? How is everyone mentally feeling?
  • Knowing the answers to these questions, you can create a plan for 2021 that will help fix some of these issues. We can’t fix everything, and that is okay. If local laws require employees to wear masks, then regardless of how they feel about it, they still have to wear masks, but if your employees know you listen and truly care, they’ll feel better even if you are unable to change anything.
  • Performing a survey, though, is just the first step; you have to follow up. Report back to your employees. For example, letting them know that you hear they are tired of working from home, and you have a plan to bring those who want to return to the office to do so with safety precautions ensuring you are following all regulations and laws. Or even something as small as providing hand sanitizer with moisturizer because the previous hand sanitizer left everyone’s hands cracked. 

2021 Isn’t All That Scary

Let’s be honest, we had no clue what we were in for at the start of 2020, but we are better prepared for it. We know that change can and will come rapidly. We know that COVID-19, even though we can hope, isn’t going to be left in 2020, and it isn’t going away next Friday, but we are ready for 2021.

It can seem daunting, but look at how much we’ve accomplished this year. Think of what your business and staff have accomplished. Everyone did what we thought was impossible. As you prepare for 2021, remember what amazing things you’ve accomplished and look positively toward the future. 

Fingers crossed that it goes better this year, and for any of the HR needs you may have in 2021, look to us at VertiSource HR or call 855-656-VSHR to learn more.