As the festive season approaches, it’s almost time to put 2020 behind us. There’s little doubt that it’s been a year which has seen enormous change for many organisations, as they have battled against the challenges brought about by COVID. While some companies will keep sprinting through to Christmas, many others will start to see a more relaxed pace as we head into December.
With the balance of many office-based staff still working remotely, and projects starting to wrap up, it’s a time in the year for HR teams to take stock, and clean out their ‘virtual HR house’. Never before has there been a year which required the level of agility, change or revision of policies which 2020 has demanded. Organisations have responded to the global pandemic with rapid changes in work from home, leave and process policy changes, not to mention adaptions to meet new legal and social distancing requirements. Policies which would have previously taken weeks, if not months to amend, have been rushed through in days to maintain pace with the changing face of COVID. Whilst now legally compliant, internal policies and procedures are yet to be firmly bedded down, communicated to staff and practical usage tested out. With the golden opportunity of a few quieter weeks of downtime as the frenetic pace of 2020 starts to slow down, HR teams should be looking to take stock of all company policies and procedures with a ‘cleanout’ of your virtual HR house. It’s been an unusual year with many legal changes, so ensuring your organisation is compliant on key issues like underpayments, is critical to your continued success and growth into 2021. Fundamental policies such as annual leave accrual should also be scrutinised, especially with the inability for employees to travel this year, leave balances are likely to be higher than normal. Not only is this a commercial risk for the business but presents an inherent safety risk for employees too, who should take time to recharge and refresh from time to time.
A company’s policies and procedures underpin the entire security and safety of an organisation – not only do they keep the cogs turning of a commercial entity, they promote the equity, safeguards and maintain a positive employee experience. Take the time to stop and take stock of 2020, it’s an ideal opportunity to take advantage of the rare opportunity to refocus back on your employees. There’s little doubt that 2020 has impacted most people at varying levels, both mentally and physically and now is the time they need robust, supportive and legally compliant policies to keep them safe into the New Year. Employees will want to understand their parameters as we speed into a fresh year – will remote working policies change? When are they being requested to take leave? Are there any new changes which will impact them? All these questions are valid concerns and can only be answered with a robust audit of your policies and procedures. Internal documents will need to be updated and shared, communications sent to employees to bring them into the loop, and any non-compliant areas addressed before any issues arise.
Whilst the pace may not slow down for long, it’s time to grab a breath and have a ‘spring clean’ of your virtual HR house. It’s an opportunity to enter a new year refreshed and re-energised, ready to tackle the challenges 2021 may bring.