While the pandemic comes with no shortage of bad news, some HR professionals are witnessing unprecedented connectivity among their employees. Today’s guest is one such professional. While the pandemic has caused many challenges for her employees, the landscape of work has enabled employees to make concrete connections with one another.
Meet Erin Lau, Manager of HR Services at Insperity.
How did you get into HR?
I started right out of college. I worked for Nordstrom as an HR assistant, which was an entry-level HR role. I was immediately able to combine two of my passions: business and my genuine love of people. I quickly realized it was a profession where I was able to apply both areas of interest and it grew into various roles within the HR realm, both within and outside of the company. With each HR opportunity, I have been able to dig deeper into HR’s strategic role and see how the people side of the business impacts its overall performance and productivity. Being able to do that and have a positive impact on a company is very rewarding.
I have been blessed with roles that have allowed me to do that and stretch my creative side, too. I think people often believe HR is just the foundational do’s and don’ts of how to conduct themselves in the workplace. But it has changed to be more about understanding each individual contributor and how he or she impacts the total organization. Being able to pick that apart and dissect it for companies is rewarding. At Insperity, we have the ability to work closely with our clients, so we have exposure to various industries. I have had quite a fulfilling career here because I have the opportunity to work with a variety of businesses and address their unique challenges.
Speaking of development, I think the pandemic has created a new focus on the employee. What has your interaction been with that?
I work with, and we support, thousands of small businesses and their C-level executives at Insperity. It’s been eye-opening to understand how now, more than ever, it’s important to look at the whole employee since personal and professional lives are intertwined. Business owners and leaders have to take a step back and look at how they support their employees.
Business owners haven’t had to work through the dynamics of employees working from home and supporting their family and childcare needs. In order to retain those employees, they have to take a more empathetic approach. That’s been an adjustment for a lot of leaders who aren’t used to operating in that realm. It’s typically been, “This is what we need from you for the company’s sake, and you either do it or you don’t.” But now, leaders are in a place where they don’t have the luxury of rebuilding their entire workforce.
Many employers need to operate with the people they have, which requires them to take a step back, pivot, and learn what each employee needs. Does that mean shifting workers’ schedules from what they normally are and being flexible or allowing them to continue to work from home, even if you want them to be in the office? Being agile is new, and employers are navigating what that means at the personal employee level, as well.
Would you say that was immediately obvious to leaders or something that still had to, at that point, be explained to them?
I think it’s still a work in progress. At the beginning of the pandemic, our clients experienced a reactive phase. This quickly turned into, “OK, this looks like it’s going to be more long-term.” That meant leaders reevaluating how they interact with their employees and keep them motivated to prevent burnout.
People were working long hours right out of the gate and in new environments. I think for some leaders. . .
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Source: HR Daily Advisor