Blog Post

InternationalHRDay: How to help your employees during the pandemic

Cornerstone Editors

Over the past year, workers and workplaces around the globe have faced very difficult times. From remote and flexible work practices to championing physical, mental health and well-being—HR professionals have led the way to keep employees and their workplaces safe and healthy. All of your hard work has not gone unnoticed. We – in Cornerstone - applaud you! Get inspired with some of our clients and our very own HR Team!

Cultivating a sense of purpose

We start strong with Kristen Shlossberg , HR Business Partner at Saint Peter's Healthcare System (Saint Peter's University Hospital), and their story. Frontline workers – the pandemic heroes - have made the difference during this time. To be able to cultivate a sense of purpose we need to feel that what we are doing is having an impact and is helping those that need us most. “Being in HR working in Healthcare in a pandemic has been a true challenge this past year, but we were able to rise up to it and we are so proud of our employees! We have true heroes working for us, who are truly inspirational!” Kristen Shlossberg.

When the pandemic hit, we had all to adapt so fast, set-up remote processes and change our approach to success daily. In Cornerstone we believe deeply in the importance of being agile to drive innovation. As part of that commitment to our clients, this year we have launched our HR Innovation Lab in Paris from which we are supporting companies, such as DHL Deutsche Post in their digital journey.

While we had to be reactive at first and find tangible solutions to new daily challenges, AI works in parallel to identify skills gaps in your organisation, which otherwise would go unnoticed. Knowing which skills you need to develop to thrive as a business even in constant change, and to enable employees to take ownership of their development, especially in fully remote times, means that employees automatically become better prepared for the future allowing the business to be more sustainable.

"Nearly half of UK companies (47%) were using predictive analytics and/or making predictive analytics available in real-time to managers.” Mercer 2021 Global Talent Trends Survey As we can see from this report, AI is not a trend anymore it is a reality, and it is here to stay. If we get the software and automation right, we can focus on what really matters – the people!

"To me, being in HR during the pandemic has meant caring for and supporting and prioritising these everyday heroes who fought through every adversity to provide groceries for the public. Whether their job was to cut fruit or work the cash register, our frontline workers’ needs came first for the HR team.” Taline Goorjian , Sr. Learning Technology Analyst at Whole Foods Market.

We learn every day!

Ensuring we support our organisations to be sustainable and adapt through learning and clear development, we are cultivating a culture of learning. More than ever, we want to ensure our employees feel that they belong and to feel purpose at work is the first step. Learning should be part of your DNA and AI should be there to help you offer a positive employee experience in the workplace.

If we talk about weaving long-life-learning into the company culture, James Willingham from Thames Water has a very exciting story around cultural shift and digital change. To define the corporate values of our organisation is important as a first step, to amplify the vision we need to communicate and be transparent about which company we want to become. As James says, “building a culture of lifelong learning is a journey and we are at the beginning, but we are very excited about what is ahead of us and how lifelong learning is impacting our people and our company culture.

Those organisations that had done some pre-work before the pandemic hit had an advantage Nonetheless, this crisis has also been an opportunity to define those gaps in our employer value proposition and make it a priority from now on.

It is all about the employee experiences.

Using Lucas Kohlmann, Global Head of HR Strategy for Henkel words “People should have the same experience at work as they do in their private lives (…). It’s about easy access and removing barriers.” To a software provider like us, this requires innovation at the forefront and for our clients, an open mindset to redesign and rethink the way we conceive the employee experience. Our workforce is expecting modern, seamless, resolutive and easy-to-use solutions to get their tasks done. To make work easy!

During the pandemic, we have seen many HR leaders rediscovering a new way to conversate and engage with the workforce. From giving full access to learning to the full range of employees and enable development while in furlough, to interactive and hybrid virtual classroom formats to stay connected in a meaningful way … we need to make work simple and smart. It is about supporting the business with a seamless experience. As Mark Schroeder , HR/L&OD Technology Strategist at Organic Valley says “I see my job as ensuring a deliver for the business employees that contribute to the success of the business to the greatest extend possible for that individual. I find that the employees are also looking to do this, and looking for the support to get it done.

We have big strategies, plans, and ideas at the beginning of the year that sometimes get lost in execution. During the pandemic we have been forced to be always tactical at first but strategic at the same time. In fact, we have been forced to change our business priorities and be agile. To have a successful approach that lasts, we need to include as Andrea Wareham, Chief people Officer at Pret is pointing out, those HR strategies to a holistic business focus.

It is all about providing what the team needs and enable our workforce to be equipped. “Talent Management is where I belong (…), I have a responsibility in talent development to make sure our employees have what they need to be the best they can be. Having what they need could mean that leaders are equipped with the skills to develop others; that it's easy to find instructions on a new process; or that they can use the mobile app on their phone to access sleep meditation from Whil.” Carolyn Whittaker, Development & Training Manager at MGE.

Rethinking our future

It is great to take the time to celebrate our clients and their journey throughout the pandemic. We are here to enable the changes to happen and to partner with our clients to make their businesses creative, innovative, sustainable and agile.

Stories like the one from Meliá Hotels International are a great example of how one modern, seamless and user-friendly learning platform can have a huge impact in very short time. Learning from one another is also something the right platform can accommodate and as Sonia Guisado, Learning & Development Partner, shared with her own words,” we’re also seeing employees from different roles and different locations interact with one another which is encouraging a real community feel and sense of belonging.

In order to rethink the future, we need to tap into our employees needs and understand their circumstances. We need an empathetic HR! As Carolyn Whittaker, Development & Training Manager at MGE says, to offer support you the employees is crucial “- whether their challenge is at home, at work, or with family. Cornerstone helps me help others and I’m so grateful to work for a company that makes it possible to offer so many amazing resources to our employees.

As any organisation, in Cornerstone we have also been drifted in this constant acceleration in which agility and adaptability have been core for us to thrive. Hear from our very own Alex Anders, HR Director for EMEA, what it means to her to be in HR.

We would need more than a day to celebrate the great work from our HR teams! If you want to find out more about the exciting stories we just shared, visit our client portal!

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