The future of the economy, work and our daily lives are still very much up in the air. What we do know is that we will need to return to normalcy eventually, whether that looks similar to the past or adopts an entirely different structure moving forward. Some business units, such as Human Resources (HR), have seen a rapid shift in their role, responsibilities and priorities as a result of the changing environment.

HR is facing a unique set of challenges whereby they must ensure the safe return to work, while aligning with the goals of the business as well as effectively managing employee wellbeing, particularly in regards to their finances. There are three main areas that the focus of HR must shift towards in order to achieve this delicate balancing act. Let’s take a look at how they all play a role in supporting your staff during these difficult times.

Workplace Safety, Job Security and Support

As businesses reopen and ramp up their capacity, they will need their staff to support them. If your staff have been furloughed, laid off or otherwise put on hold, there will need to be a plan to get them back to the workplace. Depending on your industry, there may be specific restrictions and limitations that make physical movement impossible or at the very least, impractical. In these cases, you will need to build a strategy that allows your business to operate safely, without pushing your staff to engage in activities that they might consider a risk to their wellbeing.

Your employees should feel valued and secure, knowing that they are playing their part in helping their employer reopen along with the rest of the economy. Reassure your workforce that their roles are safe and that you have a sustainable plan in place. If they’re being welcomed back to work, HR should treat them as a new-starter, taking them through all the changes to the workplace that are designed to keep them and your customers safe. If frontline staff have any concerns, HR must be able to engage with staff and communicate and collaborate with management effectively.

Rewards, Recognition and Meaningful Employee Benefits

Employers should think deeply about how to show appreciation to their hardworking, frontline workforce. Many of these staff members have put aside personal worries to bravely contribute to their organisation when it’s needed most. As always, any recognition that staff receive should be more than just a token gesture. While it doesn’t have to be fancy or break the bank, it should be uniquely meaningful.

Consider giving your workers an outlet to let you know how they would most appreciate being rewarded. It might be as simple as giving them the means to express their opinion or suggestions on important issues they see on the ground. The more your staff are encouraged to engage and contribute to the company, the more their loyalty grows over time. The level of loyalty of the future workforce will be increasingly based on mutual respect, understanding and recognition between themselves and their employer. Make sure they feel valued!

Financial Wellbeing and Resilience

With Australia officially entering an economic recession, the prevalence of financial stress is as elevated as it has been for at least a decade. The RBA has recently forecast a rise in unemployment to almost 10% by the end of the year, putting pressure on many household’s finances. With nearly 10% of all loans deferred and more than $30 billion drawn from superannuation to cover immediate expenses, it’s evident that Australians are starting to struggle financially. HR business units need to engage with staff and provide resources, where possible, to help their staff proactively manage their financial resilience. Not only will this support your team over the next critical period of recovery, but it will encourage employee engagement by reinforcing your commitment towards their wellbeing.

If your company wants to help your employees improve their financial wellbeing and reduce financial stress, there are options. Paytime offers a mobile app that enables flexible on-demand access to earned wages – helping to reduce their reliance on credit. Contact Paytime today!