Skyline University Nigeria

Effective people engagement strategies – Redefining HR practices in the post COVID-19 world


Rolling out new rules and guidelines for work and providing infrastructural and social support is a thing for the Human Resource (HR) professionals. The HR teams have endeavored to keep employees’ spirits and efficiency levels high during the Covid-19 lockdown. COVID-19 has thrown a curveball at humanity, disturbing almost all walks of life. In organizations, HR teams have been at the frontline, rapidly providing employees with the organization’s response to the pandemic. While rolling out new rules and guidelines for working and giving infrastructural and social support, they have endeavored to keep employee spirits and effectiveness levels high during the lockdown. Their work is to look ahead and make changes to policies, structures, and practices to create a better way of working. The development and usage of these changes call for collaboration and working closely with all stakeholders within the organization. In any case, their challenges are distant from over, as the COVID-19 has created a ‘new’ normal way of working that needs rapid planning.

Challenges emerging from the ‘new’ normal

HR teams have more than a handful of challenges to handle, with most of the staff having to work remotely. Such as having a robust attendance model. They will need new guidelines and change policies in a case where it is required. Revised work descriptions will need to be framed to suit part-time, full-time, and remote working definitions. New strategic procedures will be required to monitor the efficiency and productivity of employees working remotely. The performance management system may need a total redesign, with new targets, expectations, and rewards. The revised policies and guidelines should incorporate the process of resource accessibility and utilization for their employees to be able to work remotely. HR managers will also need to brainstorm and have innovative thoughts to keep the organization culture highly spirited both for existing employees as well as for new incumbents. For the HR teams to see to long run, they will have to realize that a lot many practices will change, redefining their roles.

Remote working becomes the new norm

A Gartner analysis predicts that 48% of employers are likely to work remotely, at least part of the time of post-COVID-19. A growing number of industry leaders hold the opinion that the remote working culture is here to remain, and this figure can be higher for organizations that are looking at reducing investment in real estate to offset losses during the lockdown. This would require digitalization and higher adoption of technology and resize and changing brick and mortar working environments into technology-enabled virtual ones. A significant benefit arising from this model is that managers will now be able to find the foremost suitable candidate after receiving a higher number of work applications from all over the nation – since recruitment would become location agnostic.

The resurgence of the gig economy

Utilizing contingent workers gives bosses greater flexibility concerning workforce management. A Gartner study uncovers that 32% of organizations are replacing full-time workers with contract laborers intending to save costs. Having said that, HR managers that are expected to fill vacant positions with contractual staff will also need to deal with challenges concerning the appropriateness of work laws upon the staff. Emphasis on employee social security Post COVID-19, organizations will proceed their focus on employee safety, security, and their emotional well-being. HR teams will expand their involvement within the lives of employees and ensure improved people connections. A shift in focus – from effectiveness to resilience. Traditionally, organizations have sharpened their focus on employee productivity, but within the post-COVID-19 world, it’s resilience that will take precedence. Keeping in mind the growing remote working culture and the possibility of future outbreaks of infections, recruiters will see a job applicant’s digital dexterity and digital collaboration skills at the time of hiring.

Employee training

Identified digital tools have been used to give training by employees – managers, mentors, and trainers, particularly, revolving around the concept of working remotely. These Programmes will/has helped them manage stress, build a positive outlook, and remain productive under the remote working model.

Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The post-pandemic world will see an increased application of artificial intelligence (AI) within the HR function. AI will help recruiters find promising candidates from megabytes of job applications, and help organizations reached their diversity goals, objectives, and targets within the hiring process, but also hold the top talent, and engage them with employees through smart applications.


Exciting times lie ahead, albeit with a host of challenges. For HR managers, this is a time for them to play a defining role in forming the future of organizations. To sum up, people, approaches, and processes will be the three broad pillars on which they can build a new foundation for HR excellence.


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Dr. Shanmugam Sundararajan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Business Management, Skyline University, Nigeria. He has a Ph.D. in Management from Periyar University Salem, Tamilnadu India.

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