Lessons from the COVID-19 crisis: Actus survey reveals HR reactions to rapid change

A spot survey of 100 HRs across the UK by Actus, the HR consultancy, has revealed that over half think their workplace did the best they could (57%) to cope with the crisis, but they are also braced for challenges ahead.

Lockdown learnings:

The largest challenge for HRs during COVID-19 lockdown was the lack of clear information (40%) leading to a lack of time to prepare (45%).

Twenty-seven percent of HR respondents believed their workplace could have handled the crisis better.

Almost a third (30%) of respondents reported a lack of organisational knowledge on how to support people through change.

Fifteen percent pointed to a lack of support from leadership.

Change beyond crisis:

Over half of HRs (51%) are anticipating an increase in mental health issues.
On the upside, almost half of HRs believe the crisis will lead to an increase in loyalty (49%).

Only twenty-two percent believe they will see increases in attrition and absenteeism.
HRs are most concerned about knowing the right time to return to the workplace (62%).

This is followed by concerns about treating employees fairly with continued childcare or shielding issues (54%).

Forty-three percent of HRs reported feeling there was a lack of clarity from the government resulting in legal or employee issues.

Only 13% were concerned about having plans in place to return to the workplace safely.

Many HR’s consider financial advice as a benefit for younger employees, but elderly employees would benefit from advice on equity release.

A brighter future?

When asked how the workplace has changed long term, an overwhelming sixty-two per cent said they believed it will change for the better. Only eight percent believed the workplace would slip back to how it was originally.

“Overall many HR people feel they did the best they could under the circumstances, however, they are braced for challenges with re-integration for those on furlough or long-term shielding, or the fair treatment of those with home issues and challenges,” said Lucinda Carney, CEO of Actus. “What is really positive to see, is that COVID-19 has forced us to embrace change which is normally a significant challenge within an organisation, with a positive view of a new workforce norm when we return.”