How HR plays a key role in the Coronavirus crisis

14 April 2020 | Hema Mistry

As we continue in lockdown due to the coronavirus crisis; companies must quickly adapt in how they continue operating and people manage their staff.  Unlike most situations; companies did not have the luxury of preparing for the change and measures were put in place with little or no notice.  The safety of staff and the survival of the company was and continues to be the main focus.  The situation is rapidly developing and changing; it’s now more important than ever for companies to adapt and respond quickly to the crisis. 

Working from home

Many employees are now working from home; juggling work responsibilities; childcare, being temporary teachers and having carer responsibilities.  Companies must ensure effective communication and people management continues and all staff are aware of acceptable behaviours and codes of conduct. 

Working from home is likely to be a new experience for many; not only employees but companies.  Employees must be made aware of what is the companies expectations are from them. Companies must adapt their expectations to help support their colleagues.  For example; changing the working hours for someone who has a young child at home.  By allowing them to work alternative hours they will be able to concentrate on their working and fulfill their childcare needs. 

Proactive and effective company wide communication tools to ensure the information is shared with all employees is very important.  Unlike pre coronavirus days, communication during the crisis is necessary to reassure employees and to ensure they are aware of company developments, expectations and so on.  Companies should look to use web based tools; such as Teams; Zoom and Skype to communicate with their staff. 

Companies must ensure they fulfil their health and safety obligations and ensure safe working environments. Employees should be encouraged to have an open dialogue with their managers about their working conditions and any other concerns they may have. 

Review existing policies

Companies should review their existing policies to ensure they are suitable for the current situation.  For example; how absence reporting will be managed or how productivity will be measured.  Expectations and revised processes should be communicated to all employees and closely monitored to ensure they meet the needs of the company and the staff.  

Companies should forget the business as usual model and concentrate on business critical needs and staff welfare. HR can help companies in understanding and rethinking how we do business during these difficult times. 

Quest can support you in how to rethink how you do business during the crisis; for more information please call 01455852028.

Meet the Quest Experts

Hema Mistry

Head of Operations

With over 20 years experience in HR, Hema draws her expert specialist knowledge from a broad range of industries, including employment advisory and consultancy services, retail, manufacturing and leisure. Being MCIPD qualified enables her to quickly understand how organisations operate, how to interact with their business leaders and to deliver effective commercial and practical solutions.

Andy Hooke

Health, Safety & Training Business Partner

Andy is NEBOSH trained and a technical member of the Institution of Occupational Safety & Health (IOSH). Andy is often found studying the latest updates to legislation to keep his knowledge up to date and provide the best advice. With a passion for health and safety and experience in a range of environments from large corporates to small business, Andy is well placed to support you in all your health and safety needs.

Jill Colston

HR and Training Business Partner

Jill has over 14 years’ experience in HR & Training. Having started a career as a police officer; she changed careers to HR & Training dealing with Equality & Diversity in the workplace. Jill is passionate about Diversity, Inclusion and HR and has supported companies in managing their HR and training needs. She has a wealth of expertise across HR, dealing with challenging casework, company restructure projects, mediation, training, organisational development systems; equality and diversity.

Arti Patel

HR Business Partner

Arti has a strong background in HR and is a fully qualified CIPD member. She has worked with challenging casework and has a good understanding of how to deal with workplace matters as they arise.

Jatinder Tara

Advice Line Team Leader

Jatinder is qualified non-practising Solicitor, he has over 22 years advisory experience in Employment law, HR matters and Employment Tribunal litigation. He manages the legal and HR advice line team ensuring the delivery of advice is effective verbally and in correspondence. He has experience in training and coaching work colleagues in all aspects of legal and employment matters. With his sound understanding of issues arising with in the workplace environment, Jatinder aims to deliver clear and concise client focussed advice.

Anoop Sodhi

HR Employment Relations Advisor

Anoop is an experienced HR Advisor and is part of the Telephone Advice Line Team. Anoop has worked in both the public and private sector, providing Employment Law advice ranging from grievances, disciplinaries, performance management, attendance management and mediation. Anoop is a trained mediator and provides down to earth, pragmatic, commercial advice. Outside of work, Anoop actively participates as a CIPD Board Member of East Midlands.

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