by Melissa Marsh
What a year 2020 has been! I have been thinking fondly of January 2020 because I didn’t know it yet, but I was much younger and oh so naïve! This year has certainly aged me while providing important life lessons. Thank you, COVID!
Let’s start simply by pointing out that the CDC website was one of the most used tools in HR this year. I’m not sure that I even knew the website existed back in January when I was so young and fresh. Beyond that, I couldn’t have imagined that I would be so authentically concerned for all of the employees who continued to work with many of my clients because they were considered essential. Some employees were exposed to COVID, some got sick with COVID and fortunately, all have stayed safe. That is due, in large part, to businesses in Northern Nevada acting swiftly, taking the CDC recommendations seriously and doing all that was possible to protect their best asset – their employees.
On the other side of it was the ever more complicated maze of HR requirements and landscape. Employees are going to work from home? “How do we make that transition?” many asked. Those of us in HR were asked a lot this year so we researched, read the credible news, stayed up-to-date and informed while paying close attention to the guidelines that if not followed, could land us all in a bunch of trouble…am I right OSHA?
If I had to make an HR list of reflections for 2020 with tips for 2021, here is what I would include:
- Let employees who are scared, nervous or worried work from home if possible. They are not trying to rig the system, they simply want to stay safe.
- Yes, oh yes, I am going to wear my mask to every client, to every meeting and to every outing. It doesn’t hurt.
- When the time comes, employers may mandate the COVID vaccine but just because we can doesn’t mean we should. We have some big decisions to make!
- Record keeping is still one of the most important things an HR professional is responsible for maintaining. Keeping good records for emergency paid sick leave and expanded FMLA may continue to be necessary in 2021. Keep your COVID business response plan nearby! Remind employees of their safety responsibilities regularly. Continue to keep good record of all of it.
Goodbye 2020, but hello to a whole new HR world as the landscape keeps changing. After all, we now have new legislation to navigate, we are still taking care of our sick employees or those who need help as many continue to juggle work and parenting when schools are heavily impacted by COVID. Yet, we keep fighting.
Seeing our community rise to the challenge, from an HR perspective, has been a wonderous unfolding. My sincere admiration goes out to all business owners and operators who pivoted, worked tirelessly and kept their teams safe!
Learn more about the continued effect COVID has on our workplaces and what to do about it in 2021 at NCET’s online Biz Café on Jan 20. NCET is Northern Nevada’s largest member-supported non-profit that produces educational and networking events to help people explore businesses and technology. More info at www.NCETcafe.org
Melissa Marsh, HR Consultant, founded HRinDemand (www.HRinDemand.com) to offer expert guidance and easy-to-use tools to help small businesses with employment regulations, compliance, employee relations, and company growth.