Home » Industry & Business » HR in the Time of COVID-19 — How to Prepare for the New Normal
Louise Taylor Green

Louise Taylor Green


Kris Tierney

Kris Tierney

Vice President of Human Resource & Learning, HRPA

The Human Resources Professionals Association is developing a series of educational webinars designed to help organizations adapt to the future of work.

COVID-19 has had a dramatic impact on work environments, significantly accelerating the adoption of new technologies and business models. Human Resources professionals continue to play a significant role in helping organizations adapt to these rapid changes.

As we advance towards a very different future, preparation and proactivity on the part of HR departments and working in tandem with other company leaders will be key determinants for the future success of organizations — as will access to education and guidance from professional networks.

Remote work is here to stay

Enabling employees to work remotely is among the changes many companies have had to adopt. “When it comes to the future of work, this pandemic has shown that adopting flexible remote work options will soon be a basic expectation for employees. And there are social, economic, and environmental benefits to this,” says Louise Taylor Green, CEO of the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA), which is the largest HR regulatory association in Canada.

Organizations will have to work to overcome technological and economic barriers, like access to high-speed internet infrastructure in remote areas, Taylor Green adds. And HR professionals in certain fields will also have to work on upskilling their workforces in digital and automation literacy.

“The sustainability of remote work will have societal implications,” says Taylor Green. “Not only will employees have more latitude to work from different locations, which will affect technological infrastructure in those areas, but companies will be able to hire from previously under-tapped labour pools, like those in rural areas, Indigenous populations, and persons with disabilities. Employers will benefit from a broader and more diverse labour pool that reaches beyond urban centres.” 

As remote work blurs the lines between work and home life, an increased focus on mental health will also be essential. “Finding the right balance between an individual’s work persona and their personal or family persona will be among the downstream implications of remote work,” says Kris Tierney, HRPA’s Vice-President of Human Resources and Learning. “Authentic, empathetic leadership will be critical to an evolving employee experience.”

Education and collaboration are the keys to growth in the new normal

The HRPA is preparing to launch a new series of 90-minute webinars beginning October 27th. The webinars — free for members of the association — are designed to guide and inform HR professionals through the future of work, including topics like remote work, organizational learning agility and automation, authentic leadership, and mental health and well-being.

The COVID-19 pandemic presents novel challenges for human resources professionals, since it’s up to them to step forward and advise their organizations about how to best handle this time of monumental change. Fortunately, it’s all about a team approach.

“I don’t see HR professionals operating in isolation. They need to understand the whole business top to bottom and work with the CEO, heads of finance, operations, and information technology,” says Tierney. “Then, they can layer on the impact on people. That’s where their expertise really comes into play.”

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