COVID-19 has disrupted the entire world, changing industries and disrupting supply lines. Human Resources is at the forefront of these disruptions, as HR managers strive to innovate new processes to meet the needs of the workers they manage. These changes are likely to last a long time as the world shifts to business in the wake of COVID.
This means a shake-up of everything from the ways employees are recruited to the daily health and safety tasks conducted by HR. In addition to these challenges, supply chain and logistics companies face unpredictable shifts in supply and demand. As a result, HR workers deal with more issues than ever before in managing talent and business processes.
Here, we’ll explore the effects of COVID-19 on the supply chain and logistics industries, as well as tips for HR workers attempting to manage these workplaces in the wake of COVID.
The Effects of COVID-19 on Supply Chain and Logistics
Supply chain and freight management make it possible to get products where they need to go. For these industries, the coronavirus has created unique complications. New rules and regulations propagate. Supply chains face constant disruption. Communities all over the world struggle to adapt and protect their people from the virus.
The impact of COVID-19 on the trucking industry, for example, has been three-fold:
- Safety precautions and management are new challenges for drivers and logistics managers.
- Unpredictable increases and decreases in demand have employees working overtime or not at all.
- Staying up to date on supply chain information is difficult to accommodate in a rapidly changing environment.
All these challenges make for more complicated tasks for HR workers, who manage employee well-being and recruitment. They struggle to resituate in the COVID-19 world we now occupy.
The Challenges Faced by Human Resources
With social distancing requirements and mass unemployment a new reality, HR has to implement new practices that maximize efficiency. This means hurdles in recruitment, morale, and safety standards that keep employees safe while maintaining productivity.
Numbers of depressed and burnt-out employees are hitting new heights as the pandemic rages, and this low morale inevitably reaches HR. With both physical and mental health crises topping the challenges of a changing workplace, it is essential to add positivity where possible to recruiting and safety procedures in supply chain and logistics.
But optimism is starting to emerge for employees looking for work. Drivers are vital. Despite the changing environment of the field and the reality of driverless trucking, the need for drivers will continue. As technology adapts, higher-paying positions may even be created within the industry.
This will help fill the labor demand across the supply and freight industries with safe and lucrative work for those entering the trucking business. HR employees have the opportunity to help navigate these transitions for the benefit of their companies and the workforce.
Tips for Effective HR in a Post-COVID World
The post-COVID 19 supply chain and logistics industries will be complicated worlds for HR employees. Navigating the health concerns on top of a shift toward increased technology presents unique challenges. However, with the right preparation and processes, you can manage this shift.
Here are a few tips for effective HR management in post-COVID supply chain and freight industries:
1. Maintain excellent communication. The key to effective HR management always comes down to communication. As the workplace changes, the need for quality, clear contact between workers is more necessary than ever. Without it, the processes needed to maintain safety and transition to workplace practices—like onboarding to an online environment—will fail to meet quality standards.
Make sure every new policy and procedure is communicated to the workforce in a way that is clearly understood. This means more than just the typical memo. Improve your communication to address employees where they are and in media they can engage with. Consider Zoom conferences or even podcast-style updates to keep everyone informed.
2. Create efficient sanitation and safety policies. COVID-19 has highlighted the need for safe work procedures. In supply chains, freight goes through a lot of different hands until it reaches its intended destination. At each point of contact, employees should have clear policies to maintain their health and safety.
Keep up to date on health recommendations and COVID guidance while structuring your workplace’s policies. Wear masks when speaking face-to-face, encourage your coworkers to do the same, and increase the space between workstations.
In the future, offices may be designed with social distancing in mind. For now, attempt to institute physical changes, along with remote work options, where possible. These changes will make it easier for employees to socially distance and stay safe.
3. Craft job descriptions that are transparent and appealing. Plenty of individuals are currently looking for work in the current economic crisis created by the pandemic. Correspondingly, positions like truck drivers need to be filled. To draw these workers to these positions, it is essential for HR workers to craft a transparent job description. A job description should highlight benefits while clearly stating the nature and expected time frame of the work.
If you know you can only hire employees temporarily, make it clear that you are looking for contract or temporary workers. Use a third-party agency to find employees if needed. The right job description can help you find employees who value transparency and quality communication just as much as you do.
4. Institute an online onboarding process. Wherever possible, workplaces across industries are shifting to remote work. To prepare, institute an online onboarding process that can start new hires off without causing safety risks to the rest of the workforce.
In shipping and logistics, it may be difficult to manage off-site training. However, videoconferencing tools make covering a lot of topics possible while encouraging safe social distancing.
5. Make use of technology to improve labor management. Autonomous and artificial intelligence (AI) technology can give HR workers better access to workforce data and labor management strategies. Consider the implementation of software that can help you find, hire, and improve employees and policies.
With smart tools, you can better see when and where issues occur. This helps you address them in a timely fashion. For example, if your analytics are informing you your job posting is not getting much attention, you can reassess to determine why. As a result, you can potentially improve metrics like applicants per job posting, the quality of your workforce, and your rates of employee retention.
The COVID-19 pandemic has proven that you cannot prepare for everything. However, by following these tips, you can better build an HR strategy that works for the post-COVID world.
Communication is always key and a great place to start. Then, create policies that help you staff and manage supply chain and logistics businesses that safely adapt to innovations in the industries. In turn, this will help you keep workers employed and morale high.
Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college, he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics, but business and digital marketing topics are his favorite. When he isn’t writing, you can find him traveling, hiking, or gaming.