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2020 Is Over, Now What? HR Experts Talk COVID-19, Communication, Remote Work, and More

HubSpot Video

January 21, 2021

After such a difficult year, HR teams, employers and employees must rebuild the camaraderie lost due to pandemic fatigue, closed offices, and worker burnout. 

So, how can organizations start to revive their employee engagement strategies, HR processes and sense of community — especially when many still work remotely? 

Our HR expert panelists Julie Gedro and Laura Bierema from the Academy of Human Resource Development, along with Engage by Cell CEO, Dave Asheim, and HR Mobile Specialist, Daphne Harper, had a lively discussion on:

  • Safety technology
  • Communication obstacles
  • COVID-19 vaccination policies 
  • Recruitment techniques
  • And more!

Full Transcript

Dave Asheim  0:00  :  My name is Dave Asheim and you can see that Daphne works with me and she's one of our specialists on the HR side. And we have two fantastic guest speakers, Julie and Laura who will introduce themselves. We are going to try to get through a ton of topics mostly about communication and a few other topics in 35 to 40 minutes. We would love it if you are really actively participating in the chat. We may grab your question right off the bat. If not, we will get to it, or Patty or Molly will zoom you some answers. But we want this to be as immersive as we can. We are recording this session. We will send you all tomorrow the slides, and we'll send you a recording. So if you want to share it with somebody else, or you missed an email or something, you will have it there. I'll kick it off with just a little bit about our company. I started this company called Engage by Cell about 14 years or so ago. We started off doing audio guides for museums and cultural organizations. And then so many of the HR managers and training managers came to us and said, "I want to use you folks for fundraising for training for engaging," and it just exploded. So our services are really text messaging, and mobile sites where you can store content. We have about 4,000 clients. We speak all over the country and we do lots of webinars. This webinar is not going to be about our technology. Maybe something that you hear from one of our guests will spur you o to want to contact us but this is all about handling some of the issues that you're facing. So let's go to the next one. Julie, let's have you introduce yourself. We have two fantastic, brilliant speakers. We'll start with Julie.

Julie Gedro  2:06    :  Thank you, Dave. It's great to be here. I'm Dr. Julie Gedro and I prefer to go by Julie. And I'm the Dean of the School of Business at the State University of New York Empire State College and past president of the Academy of Human Resource Development. I'm also a SHRM, Society for Human Resource Management, Senior Certified Professional.

Dave Asheim  2:31    :  And maybe just mention a little bit maybe Laura will tell us a little bit about the association and not everybody probably even knows about SHRM Julie. Make a plug for SHRM. Then we'll have Laura make a plug for AHRD. 

Julie Gedro  2:45    :  So I work for the State University of New York system Empire State College but I'm a very long term fan, and enthusiast of the Society for Human Resource Management, which is, if my facts are correct, the largest professional association for HR professionals, I believe in the world. So they're headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, but they have a worldwide presence. And if I if I may Dave, we also, Empire State College is also an educational partner provider with SHRM and we offer a 12 week long. SHRM certification preparation course to prepare someone to sit to take the exam. So if anybody, Dave, you have my contact information, if anybody wants to talk about that later.

Dave Asheim  3:53    :  Yeah. And if anybody wants more information about that, just say, hey, Julie, contact me and put it in the chat window. We'll make a copy of this and give it to Julie and Laura. So let's make this interactive. Great. All right. Welcome. And Laura a little bit about you.

Laura Bierema  4:09    :  Oh, thanks, Dave and good afternoon, everybody. I'm Dr. Laura Bierema, and I'm a professor of adult learning leadership and organization development at the University of Georgia. I'm a Michigander. You may not hear Southern twang in my voice. I started my career in the automotive manufacturing industry. And I noticed in the earlier poll, there were a lot of nonprofit folks. I'm also very active in nonprofit and a founder of a nonprofit so hopefully have a broader experience than just higher education, although I've been in higher ed for a long time. I am a certified master executive coach and also a PHR with SHRM, and my program basically trains people who facilitate learning and change in organizations. We're a graduate program at the University of Georgia. The Academy of Human Resource Development, AHRD, is 28 years old. Our mission is to lead the field of HR through research. That doesn't mean though, that we, you know, sit in an ivory tower and talk to ourselves. We are really committed to translating research into practice. Our members are researchers and academics, but also practitioners who want to take an evidence based approach to their work in organizations. We have a conference coming up in February. I think we have a chance a little later to tell you about that. But we love meeting people who like to use good evidence when they're facilitating change with humans. So thanks for having us today. Dave.

Dave Asheim  5:43    :  You're welcome. And if you folks haven't looked into joining, you should. Patty is putting the web link there. Both of our guest speakers would love it for you to get involved. All right, well, we're going to talk about three topics. We're going to first talk about communication engagement. We could talk about that for about three or four hours. In doing our prep with these great speakers. I'll kick that off.  Daphne is going to talk a little bit about some safety best practices and lead that discussion and maybe even about vaccination. But  let's take that slide down, Molly. And we'll just see the four of us. Daphne and I spend all day talking to HR managers, and maybe everybody can go in the chat window, and if you agree with this statement, put a little "Y". I don't think it's ever been as difficult to be an HR professional as it is right now. And if you folks agree, put a "Y" if you're a "no," then put a "no." And we're going to interview you for the next webinar. Because all right, there's Brittany, Shelly, Ted. It's just unbelievable what I mean. I mean, HR is the hardest job in a company anyway. And when you throw on the topics of engagement, remote workers, vaccines, I'm sick, I have kids at home, it's endless. I'll start with you, Julie. Any, is this going to finally? Do you see it coming to a head? Or do you think that the burden that HR managers are seeing now is going to continue for the next several years?

Julie Gedro  7:32    :  This is a long game. We were talking sports before we officially, this is a terrible pun, I will keep my day job, before we kicked off the webinar, we were talking about sports. And this is for a long for the foreseeable future. And one of the meta level skills as I was,  contemplating some of the points to offer today is that an HR professional today is operating, he, she, they must have a skill set that has existed before in terms of recruitment and selection, and training and development and comp and benefits-- all of that portfolio. Then you lay on top of that portfolio of an HR skill set, a continual, increasingly important skill set of research. And I don't see an end point to having to stay on top of research and I'll drill down just for a moment. And Dave, I'm gonna keep my eye on you because I am a former corporate HR professional, but I certainly embrace for 18 years, my academic identity. I'll key off of you if I go too long. Because I can talk about this all day. The meta level skill that an HR professional needs because of the pandemic are to understand where to go in terms of government resources, county health information, for example, federal and compliance related to HR practices that involve the workforce and have to become more conversant than they might be comfortable with in healthcare and healthcare issues and law. Some of these are skills that we've had to always have, but some have a layer of urgency that one must know. What's the rate in your county or state of infection, what's where's the vaccination protocol, area and so on. And  I foresee this happening now and going forward, that HR professionals are going to be the load bearing wall of knowledge and wisdom for examining the external environment, and then informing senior leadership about strategic direction. The last thing I'll say is HR then has to create formal mechanisms for communicating that information on a routine basis to the workforce. So, if I may, and I'm biased, because my whole career has been HR related, I think it's a fascinating career, that admittedly is tough, but I think you have to want to do it, to do it, because some of the part some of this job is not glamorous. But it's level - that's what's different now. And that's not going away.

Dave Asheim  10:46    :  I'll ask this question to Laura, feeding upon what Julie said, knowing that there's this new layer, especially of managing up, yes, if you're, if you're dealing with a CEO, who was probably not having the best year he or she has ever had, and they have all kinds of external problems, and now the HR person is saying a and b and c, there's going to be a lot of pushback there. How do you communicate and engage up knowing what Julie just said?

Laura Bierema  11:19    :  Yes, so that's, that's a challenge, I think, for anybody. And, you know, the thing is, and I was just reading an article this morning, that said that organizations that aren't paying attention to the morale of their workers now, aren't going to be able to turn the ship around when the pandemic ends. And you know, so I think it's easy to worry about finances and customers, and how are we going to deliver our product, but even after the pandemic, you aren't going to be able to do that very well, if you don't have sustainable, supportive human resource practices. And the thing is, some of the research shows, it's not even the expensive stuff that people need. Workers in this zoomiverse want to feel connected, they want to feel supported. They want some autonomy, which we have a lot of it and then maybe none of it, you know, living and working remotely. And you know, those types of things, maybe take a little bit of time. But if there's not a huge amount of money associated with it, and the CEO of Work Human, Eric Mosley, I was listening to a podcast he did with Brenee Brown last weekend. They have a huge data set of satisfaction in the workplace, and according to their research, just engaging over zoom or connecting with your team improved productivity, and people's sense of connectivity and satisfaction, even if they didn't talk about work. And you know, so I do think that the the CEO needs to think about that. And I've heard a lot of people talking about wanting to go back to normal. And I think that the people who cling to that and go back to just the way we were will be the losing leaders. You know, this is the great reset and an opportunity to rethink what we're doing. And it is the toughest and most important role for human resources. And I think that people who will lead human resources will be leading their organizations on how to think about creating more sustainable human practices and ways for people to connect and get the work done. But of course, in this moment, where we've had to be more compassionate and flexible, and you know, faithful in the unknown than ever before.

Dave Asheim  13:37    :  It would be interesting, if you folks that are on the call, type out in the chat window, if you've had some really interesting ways that you've been communicating with your workforce. Let's read them as they're coming in. We got a virtual hug here from Patti. That's virtual hugs, I guess is one way. Julie, it's pretty easy to schedule a zoom call when you have 20 people in your nonprofit or your organization. But if you're a big factory, it was hard to communicate with people before. Now some of them are working from home. Some of them don't want to come into work with they're being forced to come into work. Obviously, text messaging and some of the mobile services that we offer are one way to try to bridge that communication gap. But what's your suggestion to the folks that are on the call about new ways to try to communicate?What does that really mean what Laura was talking about?

Julie Gedro  14:34    :  I think that the pandemic has stress tested, the HR infrastructure in organizations. So if infrastructure was strong to begin with, the metal is tested. If it was weak, and I'm being too extreme for brevity, but if there was a weak infrastructure to begin with, leaders and HR professionals have more problems on their hands than they would have. And let me unpack that just a little bit. Whether it's manufacturing or healthcare or higher ed or not, no matter where, once folks are not in physical face to face environments, and they're dispersed, if they weren't used to working like that before, if someone doesn't understand their job description, as intuitive as this might sound, I've seen this happen. And I've read if then you go remote? And how can a supervisor really understand on a day to day basis, what that individual contributor is doing? How productive are they being? So there's job descriptions, performance expectations, supervisory communication, so key. So if they weren't strong before, there's a lot of catch up that that organization that you're painting the picture of, is going to have to do. And if they are strong, then that organization has had a better go through the pandemic. The other component that I want to highlight is trust. If there was trust before, between supervisor and employee, then that trust has carried a lot of weight through the pandemic, because, again, quick example, for precision. If there's a lot of trust between two parties, email communication does not necessarily have to be embellished with an emoji or hope your day is going well. Because there's all that if you will, money in the bank with the relationship. And that has become so key when we're working at a distance. One more thing about trust. Then the bringing people back to work, If employees trust, the ability and the competence and benevolence, and these comments are literature-based of their superiors, they will be more inclined, I predict, to follow their instructions, if you don't trust that the CEO and leadership have your well being at heart, it becomes a little bit more of a precarious situation. Now, I'll put the attribution to the model of ability, competence and benevolence in the chat in a moment.

Dave Asheim  17:26    :  Okay. And I love reading, if you have a chance, everybody keep reading these comments. I love what Chad and Brian are saying. Laura, Julie's talking about trust. Trust is probably one of the pillars of developing a corporate culture that really works. Something that sometimes the HR manager is the only one in the company even thinking about when he or she has a second to think about it. When people are scattered around getting nervous and scared, that makes the burden of company culture really tough. What's what are some suggestions for the folks on the call about either rebuilding or rejiggering? Or whatever it happens to be so that there's a corporate culture that people know what the heck it is?

Laura Bierema  18:22    :  Well, you know, I think echoing Julie's point, you know, the pandemic has brought out the absolute best and the absolute worst in leaders A case in point, some companies when they were forced to work remotely forced workers to install spyware on their computers. And, yeah, there's, in fact, both of us have written articles about COVID-19, that we can probably put links up to. But you know, I looked at the research. And so you're seeing just as much misbehavior as you are seeing really inspirational things. And so if your company is spying on workers who are not only working remotely, but homeschooling their children, and you know, their family is all contained, which is a really impossible situation, you are just making it more difficult for people to be productive or trust you. So if you're if you are in that category, then you really need to have a come to Jesus discussion with your CEO and your leaders about the damage that that's doing because it's wrecking morale, and it's hurting productivity. A study that I just read yesterday showed that with clear expectations, which Julie was talking about, people are 39% more productive in working remotely than they would be in the office. So there's there's actually productivity wins when it's done well. Now, if you are in an organization or a leader that has not done well, or maybe you don't have a culture of trust, you know, I'm an executive coach. We work with leaders to help them acknowledge and recognize what they're doing wrong, and then basically own up to it and say, hey, look, I am working on, you know, trying to build trust with you. And here's what I'm doing, and will you give me feedback. It really does go back to Brene Brown's work around vulnerability, and humility. And those are the leaders that I think are going to come out ahead because you can't afford to have a crappy culture, because people have been doing quite a reckoning of how they want to live their lives during this pandemic. And that includes: do I still want to work for your company?  Then I also do think it's possible to engage people virtually This is kind of going back to something that was said earlier, like a manufacturing plant. You know, technology does enable us and you have several ideas for that, but to do fun things, whether it's trivia nights, or poetry slam or ways for people to connect in small groups. So I don't think I would accept the excuse that the size of the organizations should stop you from trying to connect.

Dave Asheim  20:59    :  We've got a few more topics to talk about: safety and best practices and returning to work, which Daphne is going to lead. Maybe I'll put Julie on the spot, and I'll put Laura on the spot. Two, three, four takeaways, specific things that people should just do right now, Julie, or go research or go implement? On this whole topic of improving communication and or culture? If you had this, you had to give your laundry list of two or three specific things? What would that be?

Julie Gedro  21:29  

For right now, what you have set up infrastructure, take stock? Do people know what's expected of them? If you haven't, hopefully, everyone has someone, a good go-to thinking partner or two. Go to the thought partner and think about how do we assess? How do we assess what is on employee's minds? To what extent do they feel psychologically safe, comfortable, to what extent they trust us? So those are the two, the two first places that I would recommend,

Dave Asheim  22:06    :  Laura, you want to add two or three of your hot two or three? 

Laura Bierema  22:11    :  I think these are fairly general. I mean, we're certainly in a pandemic. And I've been reading a really cool book, that's called liberating structures. And it's all about little things you can do to shift how the group interacts, whether it's online or in person. So to not just fall into that rote, you know, here's how we're going to plan the meeting and put up an agenda. For example, something that I've started using with the AHRD board is called the two-word check in. We're all online. And it's a chance to let people know, you know, kind of what is your emotional temperature? It's amazing how that little exercise you go around the room, it takes five minutes, totally shifts the energy. So you know, I think - thinking about that. I also think that we have to find ways to support workers and connect with them which we've said. Something we haven't talked about, though, that I think is very present is the racial injustice and state of the world with the killings of George Floyd, for example, Breanna Taylor. And I think if organizations aren't thinking about, as Marilyn Byrd, one of our scholars will talk about, not only who's included, but who is excluded. And I do think living in a remote workplace, probably only magnifies inequities in the organization. And so I think we can't lose sight of that just because our attention is focused on a pandemic, because when we come back to work, we're going to have those same problems that existed before. So I encourage our leaders to also be thinking about those really difficult, challenging issues and to be doing the work to become anti racist yourself before you try to do it for your organization.

Dave Asheim  23:55    :  Right. Right. Right, right. Just one more thing on the, on the shoulders of the HR department. Because we want to keep things moving. I'm going to turn it over to Daphne, who will ask Julie and Laura some questions about return to work and safety, etc. So Daphne go ahead and take it away.

Daphne Harper  24:12    :  Thanks, Dave and Julie and Laura. I am really enjoying this conversation. I've just taken down some really good notes here that I just want to recap, because it was such good information. Number one, you talked about skill sets having to be extended for HR, specifically, they're going to be taking on a whole lot more with this new world of COVID that we're living in. And then you talked about having to create formal mechanisms in response to COVID when we come back to work, or into the workplace. You also mentioned improving a sense of community through connection and assessing the strength of the HR infrastructure. If it's strong before it'll be strong now if it was weak, it'll be even weaker after we go through this. And then you talked about an extension of trust and clear communication drives productivity. So I thought that that was really good information. And I hope that everybody else got the same sense that we're on the right track with this conversation. So once we've communicated to our teams, and everybody's coming back to the office, what are some of the first steps that HR should take in terms of putting policies and procedures together?

Julie Gedro  25:26    :  Dr. Bierema, I'll - or was that it for us, Daphne?

Daphne Harper  25:32    :  Yes.

Julie Gedro  25:33    :  So the first thing and with all respect, and we've met your question is problematic. When everybody comes back to work. I foresee, this is not going to be, and I'm an academic, I am a very invested citing and attributing so that I put the my article about ability, benevolent, competence for anyone who wants to go deeper into really learning about what makes up trust and ideas for how to implement it. I don't remember who came up with this image of the light switch off on versus a dimmer switch? So, disclosure, I didn't invent this comparison. But this is a dimmer switch proposition for HR professionals, because not everyone, think about, are we going to bring back 20%? How is that going to work? When are we going to bring back 50%, maybe we're never going to bring back 100% because maybe what we learned is that we can scale the physical plant of the organization possibly to be more streamlined. So maybe that and I'm not saying that we're ready to talk about a silver lining. I don't see any silver linings right now yet, that might be for another webinar. But maybe in time, this could be a learning experience for an organization to say we're paying too much for physical plant. So maybe we never will bring everybody back. But have a plan. So I'm not sure Daphne, did I answer where you asked about what that plan should be? For? How to think about how to plan for a plan? Yeah,

Daphne Harper  27:17    :  Basically, how to plan for a plan and I'll ask a little bit differently. What are some of the safety and risk factors considered?

Laura Bierema  27:28    :  And, and I would just add planned for it and also involve the employees in the planning, which I just think is super important that it's, you know, it's collaborative. I think I'm looking at my own university in terms of how we are talking about it. And right now, I think there's sort of a sense, maybe by fall, you know, what people will start to migrate back. But I think, you know, vaccination is one thing, but even like, will people feel safe coming back? So I recently had a discussion on my leadership team about cleaning the physical building. And you know, like, what do we need to do to make people comfortable? And again, I think that's where you want to involve people to find out. You know, who's been in there? How long has it been since it's been cleaned? I was also having a discussion with my spouse, who is a really great evidence based medical practitioner, epidemiologist, MD, respiratory illness researcher, about vaccines. And and yeah, I think that's a tricky topic for HR people. And what he said is, look, you know, if you work in a medical profession, or you're like in the K through 12 system, it can be required, but it's a slippery slope to try to require everyone to get a vaccine, but it should be strongly encouraged. And he said, if he were the king of the universe, everyone would have to get one. But it's not that simple. So, you know, there should be some plan for how people will be vaccinated, even if you're not doing it on site. You know, do people know where they can get access to vaccines? And do they have accurate information about safety? And I do think if you think of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, people want to know they're safe before they're going to be like raring to go to come into a meeting with 25 people. So I think it will be gradual. I agree with Dr. Gedro, it might not be 100%. And, to quote a board member of the Academy of Human Resource Development, Dr. Tamika Greer, who's from the University of Houston, she has said several times, you know, the pandemic has forced us to do things we should have been doing years ago, but we haven't been. So for us, that meant putting our annual conference completely online. But it also meant putting our board retreat online and all of our meetings online and having to think about maybe, you know, in the future, we don't want to try to do everything all face to face. So I think it's willing to look at things differently and to not have the same expectations about normal.

Daphne Harper  30:02    :  Yeah. And so in that same thought process with your meetings being online, how do you see technology fitting in with safety precautions that we'll need to take consideration of? Have you seen anything specifically out there? Or just what are your thoughts on that?

Laura Bierema  30:20    :  Julie, I can jump in here if you'd like, please. Well, I had led a study of our students here at the University of Georgia. This would have been back in the summer about how they felt, what were their safety concerns. And overwhelmingly, you know, students didn't want to be on campus. I think if maybe they were undergraduates really hoping for that, you know, collegial football experience at the University of Georgia, that was true, but you know, adults who have, you know, graduate students and faculty or, you know, more concerned about safety. And so I do think safety is a huge driver. And the thing, though, that I've learned is people define it differently. You know, and so what I think is safe practice, you know, my neighbor may be having parties in their front yard with 20 people, you know, and so it's an it's a relative term. So can you say the question again, I'm sorry, I might have

Daphne Harper  31:16    :   That's okay. Because that information you mentioned that you had with some of your meetings online? Ah, yeah. in other ways, we might be able to implement technology to assist social distancing, or the connection that you talk. So if you've seen anything, or heard about ways that people are using technology to fit in place, these safety

Laura Bierema  31:42    :  Well, and I definitely think, you know, it tasks you to become really adept at using zoom or, you know, Microsoft Teams, or whatever you are using to facilitate it. So and again, I think this liberating structures book that I recommended is, you know, to just kind of start to think about how can we do things differently, which actually, you should be thinking about in person too that make things more equitable and more engaging. I have found the meetings with my team have gotten shorter, online, in some ways, because people don't want to be in zoom, but also, maybe we cut to the chase more quickly. And Julie, what are your thoughts?

Julie Gedro  32:23    :  So Daphne, in terms of technology, of course, it's been a in some ways a lifeline through the pandemic. And part of part of what I've seen, be a sustainable practice going forward, even after we hopefully see the pandemic in the rearview mirror is learning together as employee groups how to leverage technology to increase organizational efficiency, face to face at a distance, wherever. For example, having shared documents like bylaws, or policy documents in a shared place. And you know, habits are hard to break. We've done a good job in the School of Business, I think, including the person who should be setting the tone, putting things in our OneDrive or SharePoint site, we're a Microsoft shop. So I'm not doing a commercial for a product. That's just our ecosystem technologically, rather than email, a document back and forth. Everyone learn how to access a shared document. That in itself saves so much time. And so talk about being forced and then adapting in a good way that will keep. That's one example. Daphne, I hope I've approached an answer to that question, because it's so important.

Daphne Harper  33:38    :  There's no right or wrong. We mentioned earlier that, you know, the remote workforce, obviously, may be here to stay for six months, for 2021. We don't really know how long it's going to be around. But in that instance, do you think that the conversation which is very gray about COVID vaccinations being mandated or not, how does that fit if they workforce remains remote? Does that become a factor anymore? Is that a consideration? employers should have? 

Julie Gedro  34:11    :  I did a little homework yesterday, please,  and with with permission. In fact, I don't think I don't think she's here. I invited her to come a colleague who's the VP of HR, and she's just just top shelf as a practitioner. I asked her, I ran it by her very quickly last night, and her response was, and this is not to be construed as legal advice, please or medical advice. But she said, Would you mandate everyone in your organization get the flu vaccine? I'm like, checkmate. So like, what would you say the shingles vaccine? So I think that that's a very, could be a very perilous area for an organization to require or not. I would say contact your attorney and get all the expert advice that you can.

Laura Bierema  35:07    :  I do see, though it creating a problem, like if I know that, you know, a certain person who's sits down the hall from me didn't get one and they're in the office like I, you know, I think that could also create a whole unexpected, you know, host of problems with people being physically in the same space. I think that it will probably be months, if not years, untangling that. And then, of course, I just saw an article this morning that the mutating virus might, outsmart vaccines, you know, so we may not be at the end of this. I think, to even say we're in the middle of a pandemic might not be accurate. I, the word, the language I use is we're in the midst of it, learning our way through it.

Dave Asheim  35:50    :  I'll weigh-in here, one, one second, Daphne. In the last week, I probably spoken to 30, or 40 HR professionals, and about 40 to 50% are going to at the moment require the vaccine. I was surprised that it was that high. And their logic is kind of what Laura was saying, if we don't force people to have the vaccine, and somebody then gets ill, my lawyers are telling me I'm going to be held liable for bringing people into this environment. And so it's kind of like you're damned if you do, you're damned if you don't, but at the moment about almost half of the folks I'm just talking to over the phone are saying they really want to force that issue to take it off the table. But we'll see whether they actually are able to pull that off. And it's kind of interesting, the mindset of the folks. Maybe in the chat window, everybody, yes or no? Would you enact policies that would force people to have a vaccine? Let's just kind of do a running chat. If you're , while Daphne continues the discussion. Okay, back to you Daphne.

Daphne Harper  36:59    :  Just one last question, and this is tricky. So put your seatbelt on. What do you think are the ethical implications for requiring or not requiring vaccine?

Laura Bierema  37:21    :  Oh, isn't it? Well, I think I thought of the ethical dilemma of the person who, you know, has to save one person on the train track, or let that person get hit by the train and hold the track down so that the train doesn't derail? You know, I mean, these are not easy decisions. And, you know, I think that in some ways, it will boil down to your philosophical or your spiritual guide. You know, I think it's a tough one. Julie, I'm throwing the ball to you.

Julie Gedro  37:53    :  I was going to comment on a different dimension of diversity. And that would be those who are differently abled, compromised immune systems, you know, in aspects of difference and also age diversity. Perhaps what we in an organization, you have folks who are older, who might not be able to, again, fine print, I don't have a medical background, but have a reaction that they cannot negotiate through from the vaccine. So there are so many different considerations. So that's what comes for me. If you have older workers, and you make them get the vaccine and puts them in a difficult spot.

Daphne Harper  38:39    :  Good answers. Dave, let's talk a little bit about recruitment and onboarding.

Dave Asheim  38:46    :  And maybe we'll spend two or three minutes on that and then we'll kind of wrap it up. As I'm asking these ladies a few more questions about recruitment, go ahead and in the chat window, ask away because we have some great speakers here. Sometimes it's hard to find people that are as knowledgeable as Julie and Laura. Recruiting, onboarding, the lifeblood of getting your company kind of enriched with new with new blood, I guess. Any tips or advice? Julie, as HR managers are thinking about "how do I staff back up? Do I bring them in? Do I do a virtual?" What what are the things that should be going through people's minds as they think about rebuilding their workforce?

Julie Gedro  39:34    :  Admittedly, your folks are going to notice a theme in many of my comments, and it's about infrastructure. And I'm speaking as a practitioner, who has actually recently very successfully and this is not a brag about me, it was a success story. Completely virtually recruited, selected, hired and onboarded a star. Just a little practitioner anecdote. And that the key is infrastructure. Posts that conceive of the job with crispness and accuracy, posted in the best in the optimal places. And then with the virtual piece, have a structure where you over communicate to the finalists, the semi finalists, those who you want to interview, and prep them and let them know what the procedures are. You have to over communicate in the virtual space. Same thing over communicate with the onboarding. It's just I'm freestyling from it. When I have a six week onboarding process, here's the outline. And then here's what's going to happen day to day. At the end of the six weeks, here's the objectives that I expect that we've provided for you and that you'll be unable to demonstrate at the end of the six weeks. Again, example. And then they launch in the seventh week.

Dave Asheim  40:58    :  Great. And Laura, anything to add to that? I'd love to over communicate, because, yeah, we're so busy. If we can communicate at all, it's like a miracle. So the over communicate is really hard.

Laura Bierema  41:11    :  Although that is recommended in the literature for connecting with your team over communication. And you know, and having the zoom meetings, even though it's adding, I'm in the middle of a search right now. And we are bringing in finalists next week, everything has been on zoom. And I agree with Julie, you know, to be really organized. But also in the virtual space, you have to schedule your time a little differently. And you know, just something as simple as only bringing in people for screening at the top of the hour to give everyone time for the requisite breaks. And when I do zoom meetings, pretty much we break almost on the hour, because people just need it. So I think really rethinking those kinds of things. And we did onboarding in early January with our new board members for the AHRD. And again, I do think it takes some planning. And but we have better attendance than I think we would have if we had done it in person. So but I do think expectations are clear. You've got to be organized and over communicate.

Dave Asheim  42:14    :  I love it. Well, we're running almost out of time, Molly is going to put on the screen some contact info. And somebody asked, we're going to share the presentation? We are. So here is a strong plug for the Academy. All of you folks should go check that out. Because I think like Julie was saying it's the research, It's the planning, it's the infrastructure, and the academy can certainly help you do that. So there's a place that I've seen on on the web that actually has people behind it, it would be this association. So take a screenshot of that, and we'll send that to you tomorrow. And then maybe Molly, you've got a slide here, here are phone numbers, and we'll send you emails. 

2020 Is Over, Now What? HR Experts Talk COVID-19, Communication, Remote Work, and More

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