A Human Voice During a Time of Crisis

By Suzanne Hurndall, Relationship Director at hr inspire

Over the past few weeks we have seen an unprecedented demand from clients old and new for HR information to get them and their employees through the Coronavirus pandemic.

But as indicated by a recent survey of 600 employers earlier this month conducted by HR title, People Management and the CIPD to research how organisations are responding to the Covid-19 virus, many businesses were massively unprepared with 50% having little or no pandemic or preparedness in place beforehand and 39% were without a business contingency plan.

Some organisations are too busy to handle the sheer volume of calls from their employees asking key questions and concerns – or without sufficient staff with the right know-how to answer these queries – but still wish to deliver a duty of care. We have introduced a new service – the COVID-19 HR service & support line to help businesses and staff during this challenging time.

We’re already providing this service to a major high street takeaway brand to ensure a dedicated and human helpline response to employees’ concerns and fears. Running from 8.30am-8.30pm but with potential to extend, we’re seeing a large volume of calls on queries such as am I going to be paid? Do I need to provide a sick note?  Is my job at risk if I self-isolate? Can I work from home? What happens if I have a zero-hour contract and can I change my hours now schools have closed?

This leaves the business free to manage issues such as managing the massive spike in demand for its service, ensuring enough incoming supplies and co-ordinating ever-changing staff rotas and availability as growing numbers need to self-isolate to care for themselves or loved ones. All while employee concerns are seamlessly handled using our existing expert hr specialists to ensure they receive accurate information promptly and with a human touch.

It also enables tracking and monitoring of all employees self-isolating so it can monitor numbers of employees available for work and trends, as well as ensuring regular “keep in touch” calls and texts at set intervals with those self-isolating on their own, or with their household due to COVID-19.

While the service is currently focused on COVID-19 issues, it is scalable as needed when demand changes to all HR support issues, for all ER matters for example, maternity/paternity leave, general sick leave and inappropriate behaviour concerns.

It’s at times like these that hr should show leadership and offer a human response to challenges to its workforce and where emails or chatbots alone can’t and don’t offer the best solution. We can offer that human response during this time of extraordinary hr challenges.

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