30 May 2022

Three ways HR can support the workforce through change

Periods of change and uncertainty can impact the workforce in many ways, but HR can start to support employees by listening to them


Maryam Munir

Maryam Munir

Maryam Munir worked as a content marketing writer at Ciphr from 2019 to 2021.


Employee engagement Future of Work Leadership and management


Periods of change and uncertainty can impact the workforce in many ways, but HR can start to support employees by listening to them

From the Covid-19 pandemic to the rise of flexible working schedules, organisations globally are experiencing many periods of change. With some employees being made redundant or on furlough as a result of the pandemic, the remaining workforce has had to take on new roles and responsibilities where needed. For employees, this means having to adjust to change, which isn’t always embraced.

A study from the American Psychological Association (APA) found that organisational changes such as restructuring can lead to employees who are overly stressed, have less trust in their employers, and have a greater desire to find new jobs. This increased stress can also impact employees’ mental health, which, during the pandemic, has increased.

By talking openly to co-workers about how they feel, and embracing new skills through learning and development, employees can attempt to deal positively with change, but HR can also support employees during periods of change and uncertainty.

To build a motivated and engaged workforce, HR teams first need to address the impact that change, and uncertainty is having on the workforce.

Here are Ciphr’s top three ways HR can support employees during times of change.

1. Listen to employees

By setting up one-to-one meetings and encouraging employees to talk to you, and you listening to them, you can better understand how they truly feel and help them as a result.

Employees may be experiencing low mental health or workplace burnout, which is increasing due to changes in the workplace. If so, you should create safe spaces for employees to have open conversations with your HR team. With HR software like Ciphr HR, HR teams can ask employees how they feel everyday through a sentiment analysis feature. This allows employees to rate and report their mood, and HR can identify employees who may be struggling or feeling low.

If employees don’t want to talk to the HR team, you should also let them know that employee assistance programmes (ERP) are in place and can help them with their problems.

2. Upskill the workforce

When workers are not confident in their skills, they feel more stressed, less productive, and their mental health suffers. Research has found that 46% of employees would leave their employer if they don’t see a commitment to upskilling.

However, during times of change, HR should make sure that upskilling employees is a top priority.

By working closely with L&D teams, HR can identify the skills that employees need to build – as a result of taking on new workloads, responsibilities, or job role – and provide them with the learning content they need to upskill themselves.

Investing in a learning management system (LMS) can also help HR and L&D teams work closely together to ensure employees can seamlessly develop their skills via online learning.

After gaining such skills, employees may feel more confident and secure in their job role, and more productive as a result.

3. Recognise and value their hard work

Employees want to be recognised for their hard work. By simply recognising the ways that employees have stepped up during periods of change and have had to adapt, you can show employees that you value them.

Telling employees that they’ve done a good job recently and acknowledging the hard times for the workplace can show employees that they aren’t alone, and that the HR team is aware of the difficulties that come with change. By using employee engagement tools like Totem, you can celebrate employees’ efforts by awarding ‘kudos’ points.

Unhappy workplaces lead to increased sickness absence, reduced productivity, and higher staff turnover, however, a valued workforce can turn this around – happier employees are more likely to feel motivated to get through the hard times for the organisation.