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4 Challenges Public Sector HR Departments Will Face Post COVID

The Coronavirus pandemic has caused a huge shift in the way HR departments operate over the past 18 months. From arranging work from home setups to major policy changes,  there have been multiple ways HR departments and workers have had to adapt. 

In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the challenges public sector HR departments will face as things begin to return to normal.

Communication With Employees

In a world where government, health authorities and labour organisations are continuously changing, companies need to keep their employees up to speed with the latest developments that could affect them. Not only is this good for morale (everyone likes being kept in the loop) but it’s vital for creating an agile company that can quickly pivot when danger is on the horizon. 

In the 21st century, it’s not viable for communications to trickle down from the c-suite. Things need to be communicated quickly, clearly and correctly. Especially where Coronavirus updates and guidance are concerned. Old-fashioned mass emails aren’t going to work, but an in-house HR software product could provide your company with the communication clarity it needs.

 Ongoing Policy Changes 

Covid-19 has caused every company to change its policies. Managing the virus and staying in line with government guidance has meant that every business now has several Covid-19 clauses in its policy documentation.  

Updating this documentation is the responsibility of a HR team but many are already working at capacity. They can’t keep up with the ever-changing Covid-19 legislation and what it means for their business. 

As we move forward and out of the pandemic (fingers crossed) this new workload shows no sign of going away. Even with restrictions relaxing we still need to be vigilant and the changes to hope businesses operate will likely remain for years to come. 

Understanding, actioning and communicating these changes is the role of the HR department and yours will need to prepare for the challenges this presents. 

Working with an independent HR consultancy can help you make sense of your HR processes and uncover areas in your department where you can save time. This can free up a staff member you can then dedicate to ongoing policy changes. If you’d like to know more you can contact us.

Budget Pressures

The two challenges we’ve mentioned above also cause the third. Public sector organisations, unlike their private sector peers, traditionally aren’t as capable when it comes to absorbing budget pressures.  

The increased demand on HR staff when it comes to managing policy changes, communicating effectively with employees or just doing their day to day HR roles means the cost of the HR department can increase exponentially.

As we move toward a more blended style of working the traditional 9 to 5 office worker is disappearing. In their place are flexi workers, part time employees, freelancers and agencies. These all require special care, attention, and most importantly, their tax codes. Extra complexity like this can add hours to a HR manager’s workload and wage slip.     

Handling this increased budget pressure will be an ongoing battle for HR and finance leaders post-pandemic. One way of relaxing this pressure and giving your HR team more time is by automating parts of their roles. 

We’re not saying the robots should take over but automating the more mundane parts of a HR professionals day frees them up to attack the challenges we’ve mentioned above. Automation has been proven to increase productivity while decreasing costs and onboarding a HR software platform that can do both of these things for you will be a mini-challenge in itself.  

AI and Scrutiny 

Artificial intelligence and machine learning have been instrumental in helping fight the pandemic. The government’s reliance on data (we’re guided by data not dates, right) has shown the public and business owners the power of AI and data modelling. 

Many businesses are now adopting business intelligence for their own companies but this doesn’t come without risks. Risks that’ll have to be contextualised by HR teams once the pandemic is over. 

As a tool, AI and machine learning can process masses of data extremely quickly. That data could include your employee’s data and personal information. There is a general mistrust around data management and how companies use employees’ data. 

With society’s increased reliance on AI and data, it falls to HR teams to communicate clearly how employees’ data is used and what is and isn’t happening with their data. This headache is unlikely to go away until society’s understanding of data management changes. GDPR has been an important first step in that journey but until its complete HR teams will need to keep their data management knowledge sharp.  

Can Phase 3 help you overcome these challenges? 

Phase 3 is a HR technology consultancy that helps businesses improve their HR process, onboard new technologies and manage their payrolls better. 

As a consultancy, we take a solution first approach to our clients. We integrate into a business, identify the HR team’s issues and recommend a solution based on that investigation. We’ll never recommend a solution to you before understanding your problems and we won’t try and force a HR software tool into your business if it doesn’t fit. 

We are a true partner for your business and will work with you to create lasting meaningful change within your HR team and organisation generally. If you’d like to find out how you can partner with us you can find out here.

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