COVID-19 has dealt a serious blow to the goals and strategies of many companies. Working from home has proven to be quite a task for people to process. Employees are feeling isolated and underutilized, as the work arrangement and engagement does not feel quite the same. People have been mentally exhausted for not having projects to do. Coupled with the schools shutting down and kids requiring extra attention, working parents are having a tough time generating income during these uncertain times.
With very few hiring notices coming up and the trend of downsizing, firing, and redeployment, people have been struggling to maintain a stable source of income. It is extremely important for a company to deal with these matters in an intelligent and strategic manner. Therefore here are 5 things every HR department needs to consider while hiring/firing employees:
Asking the right questions: It is vital to ask the right questions during the interview process. HR should know its objectives well. Instead of asking personal or medical questions, it is much more effective to inquire about the skills, personality, and qualifications of the candidate. Also, framing simple binary yes/no questions does not provide deep insight into a person’s character. Talking about the company culture would be the right way for making the interviews more beneficial in the company’s terms. Questions about race, sex, religion, age, national origin, and disabilities should be avoided. Talking about the candidate’s history, goals, career objectives, decision making, problem-solving, and expectations are things that the applicant would love to engage with.
Follow up and communication: After applying for any job, we usually tend to hear back from only a few of them. HR should, therefore, be proactive in sending information about the application status as soon as possible. Keeping them updated about the application process is extremely vital and should be done through effective communication. They should have a proper explanation about why they did or did not hire a particular candidate by clearly stating the reasons. In the case of firing, it is extremely important to have the conversations whenever the HR feels it to be necessary. Letting the employee know what they have been doing wrong is important in aiding them to understand what they need mending, rather than surprising them without prior notice.
“Surprise, you are fired!”
The letter should elaborate well on the reasons for firing while being kind and respectful in tone, without missing out on the employee’s contributions to the company.
Clear opportunities and obstacles: Every company has a certain type of culture that new employees should be well aware of. Letting the employee know of the opportunities that a company holds is helpful for applicants to know their value, but examining the obstacles that they would face would help them truly understand if they are in the right place. Particularly after COVID-19, companies should be more focused on skills that can be utilised to perform the job remotely. The value that the applicant can provide to the company, along with soft skills like communication skills and emotional intelligence should be well observed during interviews.
Release agreement: It is absolutely crucial that every significant incident or interaction involving an employee is well-documented. If there are adequate reasons for firing an employee, there needs to be documentation to prove it. In the journey from hiring to firing, every step should be monitored from legal, personal, and financial perspectives. The release agreement should be meticulously prepared with every policy and confidentiality agreements well stated.
Reassuring the team: After hiring an employee, it is essential for the entire team to know about the company’s strategy. The team should well-define the work the new member is hired for and what is expected of him or her.
HR should be able to clearly state the reasons for firing the employee. The company should be planning how they are going to balance the work and assure the employees that the company has already started looking for his/her replacements. Primarily, when everything is online, communication can get difficult. The system should be so-managed that everything is well-communicated via emails, and every plan is properly explained. Mostly when companies fire members, it elicits fear in others. Therefore, it is important to employ proper communication to make them feel like they belong, with meetings and emails with every new update.
With the trend of businesses going online, maintaining team dynamics, conversations and meetings can be challenging. To have everything connected, it is really important for Human Resources to remain active with keeping track of their team members: how well they have been keeping up mentally and what they are engaged with. It helps the employees understand and know that their company cares and that keeps them motivated. The company should have frequent conversations with its team to keep the team dynamics healthy. With a new cycle of work being introduced due to COVID-19, it is extremely expected of human resources to maintain the company’s balance, as they hold the responsibility towards the members to feel welcomed and remain motivated.