The COVID crisis has forced us to think hard of the hidden “VIRTUAL” element in every single activity of ours – no matter how big or small! Whether it’s a complex business scenario or a simple grocery delivery transaction, we are amazed to see how even the minutest things have gone online within a span of just “a few” weeks! The world has started to adopt this new normal and we are serving as the foundation of this upcoming Physically-Contactless World..

Though most of the businesses have already adopted or started to adopt the new normal, yet there are some functions, Human Resources for example, which can be better imagined in the physical/offline mode. Reasons justified, whenever there’s a “human” touch involved, it has to be in person, as technology is still without emotions!

Daily technological advancement, cherry topped by the COVID crisis, has, no doubt, accelerated the transition of businesses to a virtual mode but HR in my mind is still a function that is better imagined outside the 2-Dimensional digital screen!

A month or two ago, when the world was normal, most of the organizations preferred their final interviews for any small or big role to be in person. There’s a reason to this. Physically, when you interact with a person, there’s a lot more information which can be gathered about the individual – be it through his/her body language, attention to details for the objects in surrounding, facial expressions on any statement/questions/work environment, ability to handle difficult/unprecedented situation etc etc. And this is true for participants on the either end. Moreover, there has also been studies which shows that the probability of a person panicking in a virtual interview – for reasons as small as poor internet connection, inability to establish a comfort zone in the initial few minutes, fear of the participant’s environment/attire being judged etc. – is higher than in a physical interaction. This is even higher in case of freshers hiring especially if the candidate is not from some of the top metropolitan cities.

Talking about the emotional health of employees, data says, a 24*7 home environment for work is leading to a declining emotional health. Bonding with colleagues over daily meals, celebrations, birthdays, anniversaries have drastically reduced and this leads to a relationship which is only business-specific. Here again, employee engagement on a virtual platform becomes little less effective than a physical activity/fun. Lastly, (and unfortunately too) domestic issues between couples and divorce rates have started to show a northwards trend!

These are some of the issues which gets a backseat in this rapid race of virtualization, but definitely worth a thought.

Amidst all the positives of moving virtual, the biggest challenge would be to fill up for the missing “emotional” touch or the “Human” aspect of Human Resource function. While the idea is extremely fascinating and most likely a future we can all foresee, organizations need to be careful in their approach to adapt to this transition to e-HR, which just got preponed in light of the prevailing circumstances, especially during recruitment / hiring as that is something which drives or drowns the growth of the business!

So, now that we have the data, the possibilities, and a growing sense of nervous excitement for the future, where do you think we should draw the line between what is better suited to the virtual world and what is better off being what it already was. Where do you think the balance lies? Well, look out for my next post for some potential remedies/solutions to these challenges!

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