COVID-19 from an HR perspective


As conference rooms continue to be traded for conference calls, working from home has slowly become the new normal. With so many unanswerable questions related to the economy and what will happen next, those of us in HR are actively working to help ease the tension and anxiety that comes with the unknown and a virtual workforce.

As human resource specialists, we are trying our hardest to make sense of these times and provide help in any way we can.

To employees

We know this pandemic has created stress and anxiety, but no matter how hard it is, have patience with your HR team. There is new information presented daily, and they are working to get through it, make sense of it and find the best way to communicate it, as it relates to you and your role. As much as you can, try to avoid jumping to conclusions. We are in a wait-and-see pattern, and everyone is weeding through new information being passed down by our federal and state governments.

Try to remain calm and give your team the time they need to figure out the next steps. By approaching this with patience, you are ensuring this situation can be handled as smoothly as possible.

To employers

Whatever you do, continue to communicate with your employees. Even if you don’t have the answer right away, be vulnerable with them and relay that you are working to find information. By doing so, you can help remind your staff that you are in the same boat they are. This will help put staff at ease and dispel the misconception that you are withholding information. The more open, honest and concise you are with your staff, the better it will be for you and your employees in the long run.

Use technology to your advantage and try to keep things functioning like “business as usual” by encouraging check-ins and video calls. As an employer, the more you can do to keep engaging your employees and promote collaboration through new mediums, the better results you will have. Get creative and find ways to help your employees adapt to working from home.

To HR professionals

The best piece of advice we can provide is to communicate calmly with members of your staff. Constant updates are coming through media platforms, do not add to the clutter and noise.

Provide well-researched information to help your team understand the measures being put in place by the state, federal government and your organization. Remind them that we are all in the same boat and working to better understand and adapt to these changing times together. Point workers to factual resources and encourage them to stay informed, safe and healthy both physically and mentally. It is your job to be the calm in the storm.

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Kellie Haines is president of Axios HR. She has been with the company for 28 years, joining Axios in 1992, starting a new division, office staffing. She grew the division to over $5 million in revenue before she moved in to Axios' corporate office as the COO, overseeing all operations for the company. Haines was named president of Axios Incorporated in June 2004. In this position, she has played an integral role in the growth and evolution of the company. Through Haines’ leadership, the company has successfully transitioned from The Staffing Group to AxiosHR, expanding its capabilities to provide businesses a full suite of human resource services that optimize human and organizational performance.
Shannon Burkel is the COO of Axios HR. She started her career with Axios HR in 2000. Burkel graduated from Western Michigan University's Haworth College of Business with a bachelor's in human resources and a minor in psychology and completed her master's in business administration in June 2012. She has been helping clients attract, retain and develop people for 20 years. Her focus has been on client and employee service delivery and satisfaction.