New COVID-19 Responsibilities Added to Your Job Descriptions: Associations Now

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By Ernie Smith / August 26, 2021
(pixelfit / E + / Getty Images Plus)

The pandemic has changed the needs of many organizations, which could force employees to take on new roles or expand roles that may have been smaller in the past.

It’s no surprise that things are different now. But there is one practical consequence of the pandemic that is easy to overlook: As the logistics of work change significantly, job descriptions may also need to change.

Tony Lee, vice-president of editorial staff Society for Human Resources Management, indicates two specific types of tasks that associations will have to take into account, either when hiring or when assigning responsibilities to current employees:

Manage the remote work strategy of an organization. The pandemic has taken remote working to a new level at warp speed. The challenge now is to manage it at an organizational level. “You must make sure [your staff has] the tools they need, the flexibility and planning technology they need, and they have the support and guidance they need, ”says Lee. He adds that this responsibility is an imperative: the pandemic has resulted in many people working a lot of time outside of standard working hours, so appointing someone to lead the work remotely is not just a matter of technical support. , it is about managing overwork. “We had a lot of employees who came out of there and looked for job opportunities that might be there for them,” he says. “Hanging on to your best friends becomes an even bigger challenge. “

Keep the facilities clean and safe. Lee says those responsible for maintaining, organizing and tidying up the workplace are likely to take on additional responsibilities when it comes to social distancing and cleanliness. It could mean anything from reorganizing desks and creating distance between coworkers to setting up and maintaining hand sanitizing centers throughout the office. This role existed in one form or another before the pandemic, but the assigned responsibilities will expand as the need arises. (“This is the person on the team who now makes sure the signage is installed,” says Lee.) Beyond installations, the role can extend to IT, especially when logistics and new equipment is involved. But the role depends on the form of your organization: if you have decided to move away entirely or limit the use of your existing space, this role may be more relaxed or even nonexistent.

Lee says other roles have also emerged in the past 18 months that are less directly related to the pandemic, such as the rise of the director of diversity in many organizations.

Hire, outsource or invest?

One of the main talking points about these new responsibilities is whether it makes sense to hire for these roles. In many cases, these new responsibilities can simply be added to the job descriptions of current employees. But Lee notes that organizations may want to factor scale when deciding to hire specifically for an additional task.

“If you’re big enough, if you have 100 employees, for example, and everyone is working remotely, you want someone to supervise them,” he says.

But it may be more common for organizations to fill positions that existed before the pandemic keeping an eye out for dedicated skill sets that make sense in the new environment. As an example, Lee points out the changing needs of event staff.

“A lot of associations have started to consider virtual conferences and seminars, and I think most of them have made the transition,” he says. “But they also discovered that it’s an interesting model. They are therefore looking for people for their events who have this expertise. “

If you are already contracting out some of the workforce in areas less critical to your association’s mission, such as IT support services and facilities management, there is no reason to stop doing it now.

“If you outsource your office cleaning, you were probably doing it before the pandemic,” says Lee.

Vendors specializing in these areas are those who have the expertise and tools to follow COVID-19 protocols, so you can turn to them for any questions or concerns.

In other cases, introducing technological tools might be the right game. A good example of this is hosting or reserving locations as needed. This concept isn’t new: if you’ve ever had to book a meeting room, for example, you’ve probably already done so. But associations looking to manage smaller workspaces may find the use of a hotel approach appealing instead of forcing people to come to the office every day. It’s a combination of outsourcing and investing: outsourcing the necessary space and resources and investing in a relationship with a supplier who can give your association what it needs to thrive in today’s world. .


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