Resurrecting The Human Element

Resurrecting The Human Element

Do we need Human Resources or Human Relations in the present post-pandemic scenario?


The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic was unprecedented in its global scale and outreach. At its peak, the pandemic disrupted world supply chains, threw global economies in disarray, and adversely affected peoples’ jobs and livelihoods. Governments across the globe implemented stringent social distancing protocols and lockdown measures to contain the spread of the pandemic. HR departments, on a global and local scale, were tasked to keep their employees engaged and motivated to ensure that their work performance and productivity remained unaffected.


These have been extremely tumultuous times for the workforce. They have been working in a VUCA ecosystem since the pre-pandemic stage. A large number of them have reported experiencing burnout, tension and anxiety as they worked in segregated environments from remote locations. With hardly any interpersonal communication among colleagues and peers, feelings of disconnection and isolation were rampant among employees.


Charting the Path Ahead


With the impact of the pandemic on the wane and organisations charting the path ahead in a post-pandemic world, one may argue that the emotional upheavals experienced by employees were characteristic of the pandemic phase. However, given the unpredictability of human nature and motives, this could prove to be a misplaced and risky conclusion for businesses. It could have far-reaching consequences for companies in terms of reduced workforce productivity, negative customer experiences, and problems in attaining corporate goals and objectives.



As a large number of companies have demonstrated an intent to implement the hybrid work model, combining remote work alongside onsite presence of employees, it is time for the CHROs to adopt a ‘humane’ approach while dealing with employees. It is high time that the HR leadership recalibrates the term HR as ‘Human Relations’, emphasising the nurturing of one-on-one healthy and harmonious relationships between the management and the workforce.


Debunking Outmoded Theories


Conventional HR perspectives have focused on perceiving employees as mere resources, meant to manufacture a product or deliver a service. It is time to debunk such outmoded workplace theories, and recognise employees as assets whose contributions and efforts are crucial to achieving the growth and developmental outcomes of companies. In the current environment, the key focus area for the HR leadership should be to bring back the human element lost in transition. The inherent focus of present-day HR departments should be to shift from being process-centric to becoming people-centric with a view to create a positive employee experience for its personnel.


Employees may express anxiety or concerns regarding the future continuity of hybrid work. So, HR departments need to take their employees into confidence. Company policies and guidelines concerning hybrid mode of work should be conveyed to employees in a clear and unambiguous manner. This will have a positive impact on employee well-being and loyalty and motivate them to achieve their optimum potential.


Creating an equitable and inclusive hybrid work culture will need to be the key focus area for CHROs in the post-pandemic era. The HR leadership will be required to develop an unbiased outlook towards employee welfare and offer them equal opportunities for career growth and advancement. By fostering an inclusive work environment, organisations can make their employees feel valued and appreciated. Empathy plays a key role in fostering workplace inclusion. It improves human interactions at the workplace, makes employees feel that they are part of a team and creates a cohesive workplace environment.


In an ever-changing world, hybrid work is no longer a policy option for companies but a much-needed operational requirement to ensure business sustainability and continuity. Having an employee-first approach will ensure a seamless transition to a healthy hybrid work culture that boosts employee retention and creativity.

Indrani Chatterjee is Group Chief People Officer, Allcargo Logistics. Indrani has 22+ years of experience in Human Resources, and has worked with large global companies in various leadership roles during her career. She was the Chapter Vice President of NHRD Kolkata, Chairperson of the Woman networking cell, NHRD, advisor to POSH committee for various Organisations and currently the State President for the WICCI, coaching council. Indrani is a TEDx speaker, and a Marshall Goldsmith Certified Executive Coach.


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