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The interview is edited for length and clarity.
Q- As the only HR in the company, how did you manage the increased responsibilities that came with your role? How did you navigate the need to take on more responsibilities as your role expanded, either by shifting your current responsibilities upscale or taking on new ones?
Being the only HR representative in the company has its pros and cons. On the positive side, it allows me to gain insights into other areas of the business, such as appointments, management, and procurement, all of which fall under Operations.
This offers me a broader understanding of the company's operations. Additionally, during periods of decreased hiring activity, I can devote more time and attention to other HR processes, reducing the pressure to excel in hiring specifically.
Q- Can you elaborate on how you redirect your HR activities when there is a slowdown in hiring? Additionally, how have the COVID pandemic, layoffs, and the current market scenario affected your company's HR operations?
During periods of reduced hiring, HR professionals need to focus on other areas of their work, like building relationships with current employees and nurturing connections with potential future hires. Even though hiring has slowed down, it's important to maintain contact with passive candidates who may be a good fit for the company in the future. This approach makes it easier to reach out to candidates when the company is ready to ramp up hiring again.
Amidst the recent layoffs and the impact of COVID on the company culture, HR professionals need to be sensitive to the emotional needs of employees who may feel insecure or scared about the future.
It's important to communicate regularly and transparently with employees about the company's plans and outlook.
Offer support services like counselling/career coaching to those affected by layoffs. Maintaining transparency is essential in managing company culture during layoffs or any other challenging times. HR professionals can achieve this by openly discussing what's happening with the company during town hall meetings, including any negative developments and their reasons. This transparency helps build trust with employees and shows them that their concerns are being heard.
Q- What are other processes that you've put in place so that people feel secure about their job during uncertainty?
It's important to set clear goals for the company and work collaboratively with employees to achieve them. HR personnel should hold regular meetings to keep employees informed about the company's progress and to gather feedback and ideas from them. This collaborative approach fosters a sense of unity and shared purpose, even during times of uncertainty.
Overall, HR professionals need to be empathetic and responsive to the emotional needs of employees during challenging times. Providing counselling or career coaching services, offering flexible work arrangements, and encouraging open communication can all help create a positive and supportive company culture, even in the face of layoffs or other difficult situations. Management should develop strategies for rebuilding morale and fostering a positive company culture during challenging times.
Q- How have you been addressing the culture and morale of your team in the context of layoffs and the insecurity it can create? What steps have you taken to maintain transparency, communication, and a sense of security during these uncertain times?
We conduct 360-degree feedback and regularly monitor tasks. We are also very flexible with appraisals. If a person is performing exceptionally well, they can receive a salary hike within one to two months, monetizing whatever is fair. All communication within the company is public, even regarding funding. Honesty in leadership is very important to us.
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