2.0. Employee Safety & Wellbeing
2.1. Challenge Description
While organizations all over the world are experiencing massive workforce disruption and striving to navigate the operational and financial challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought on, the companies’ HR departments have been at the forefront of crisis and personnel management during this new normal of remote-working. One of the most significant challenges faced by HR in the current situation is managing employee safety and wellbeing (Mulders, 2020). The sudden mandate and shift towards remote working, “coupled with the school closures and stay-at-home orders”, has left many employees grappling with trying to maintain a balance between their personal and professional life (Iqbal, Suh, Czerwinski, Mark, & Teevan, 2020), thus inducing anxiety and raising their stress levels. Therefore, the HR managers need to manage and support their employees through “compassion, compliance and accountability” (Food Engineering, 2020).
In the context of the F&B industry, the traditional way of working involves employees to work in close quarters while collaborating with each other (Mulders, 2020). However, the recent physical distancing and work-from-home mandates has made it more challenging for the companies and HR managers in this industry to reimagine their personnel practices and workflow. This can contribute towards the employees feeling confused and uncertain about their tasks while also facing heightened anxiety, added stress from home, and isolation. Hence, the need to proactively address the employees’ concerns and provide adequate guidance in these uncertain times can be challenging for HR professionals in this industry, specifically.
3.0. Employee Onboarding
3.1. Challenge Description
Another aspect of HR practice that has been affected by the pandemic outbreak includes the onboarding process of new employees. According to a recent survey of chief officers and functional leaders across different industries, conducted by Hancock & Schaninger (2020), about 67% of the respondents anticipate spending less on recruiting and onboarding for the near future. However, the HR managers of companies which continue to bring in new employees in this environment of confusion and uncertainty, need to alter their traditional onboarding and training processes to suit the needs of a remote workforce. Many companies were already struggling to onboard employees during normal circumstances, however, with this rapid shift towards remote onboarding, there will be a more pressing need for “new skills, capabilities and processes” in order for everyone to operate at peak efficiency and be successful at working remotely (Groysberg, 2020).
The onboarding process, in a F&B industry-specific scenario, is the main means of increasing retention, which is necessary for reducing the company expenses (Pescatore, 2017). In order to complete the employee onboarding process effectively in this industry, the HR managers will need to onboard employees “in a way that addresses competing tensions” (Groysberg, 2020) while ensuring a seamless experience with remote working. These new modifications to the HR processes can feel like a significant departure from the way HR employees are used to working and thus, cause new challenges for them.
Food Engineering. (2020, March 15). Navigating COVID-19-related HR challenges in the food industry. Retrieved from https://www.foodengineeringmag.com/articles/98886-navigating-covid-19-related-hr-challenges-in-the-food-industry
Groysberg, B. (2020, April 27). How Remote Work Changes What We Think About Onboarding. Harvard Business School Working Knowledge . Retrieved from https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/how-remote-work-changes-what-we-think-about-onboarding
Hancock , B., & Schaninger, B. (2020, July 27). HR says talent is crucial for performance—and the pandemic proves it. (B. Tierney, Ed.) McKinsey & Company . Retrieved from https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/hr-says-talent-is-crucial-for-performance-and-the-pandemic-proves-it
Iqbal, S., Suh, J., Czerwinski, M., Mark, G., & Teevan, J. (2020, August 3–5). Remote Work and Well-being. Retrieved from https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/uploads/prod/2020/07/NFW-Iqbal-et-al.pdf
Mulders, W. (2020, July 13). 4 key HR challenges in the food manufacturing sector. Randstad. Retrieved from https://www.randstad.com/workforce-insights/talent-management/4-key-hr-challenges-food-manufacturing-sector/
Pescatore, C. (2017, March 17). Ten HR Challenges That May Be Holding Your Restaurant Back. Modern Restaurant Management . Retrieved from https://modernrestaurantmanagement.com/ten-hr-challenges-that-may-be-holding-your-restaurant-back/