The people profession is on the front line of helping organisations to adapt and respond to the coronavirus crisis, whilst also having to adapt to different circumstances and ways of working themselves. Do you have great stories to tell about how HR teams are working, the ways they are responding, making the right calls and decisions in tough circumstances and supporting their organisations and people in positive ways? Perhaps it’s individuals who’ve gone above and beyond to support employees during the coronavirus crisis, working tirelessly to ensure people can work remotely for the first time, or fielding questions from colleagues concerned about their health or financial security.

The CIPD and People Management magazine have launched a new campaign to recognise the hard work and commitment of people professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re asking our worldwide community of HR, L&D and other people professionals to use #HRtogether to share stories of teams, individuals and independent practitioners who are working hard to put people first in these challenging times.

Unprecedented circumstances have called for unprecedented responses, with every day bringing new practical challenges and ethical dilemmas for employers. People professionals play a vital role in protecting employees’ safety and well-being at the same time as safeguarding business continuity – for many, the delicate balancing act of championing better work and working lives has never been more palpable.

Peter Cheese, CIPD Chief Executive, comments:

‘The coronavirus outbreak is challenging organisations and people everywhere, forcing us to rapidly adapt and rethink priorities. But it’s also reminding us of what good work means to us; not only to provide financial security, but also a sense of purpose and belonging. The crisis has forced many changes in how we work and how we better understand and support our people. Changes which in many ways needed to happen and should endure. It has also reminded us how much we all rely on the work of others – be it healthcare professionals, retail staff, delivery drivers or the myriad other key workers that are risking their lives to keep the rest of us healthy, fed and safe.

‘I’m proud to see the dedication of HR teams around the world who are working hard behind the scenes to help their organisations adapt, balancing huge shifts in demand with supporting the workforce. They’re working through the many different options and ways of protecting workers and their organisations to be in the best position to recover and rebuild as the crisis abates, or in some cases to rapidly scale up in essential sectors and parts of the workforce where demand has grown. They are also trying to make the right decisions legally, financially and ethically.

‘We want to say a big ‘thank you’ to the hard-working HR teams who are putting people first, as well as show the rest of the world what our profession is made of and where our priorities lie. This crisis is going to be a huge test for business agility and will bring new meaning to the idea of ‘good work’ that the CIPD community has supported for so long.’

The spotlight in recent weeks has been on the world’s biggest home-working experiment, as well as furloughed workers and some harrowing examples of businesses who’ve put short term interests and profit above people. But there are also many other ways in which employers, supported by their HR teams, have been responding positively to this crisis. Some are redeploying people and machinery to fill essential roles and produce life-saving equipment, while others are introducing new protocols and shift patterns to support social distancing, and new flexible working practices to accommodate workers’ childcare needs.

These challenging times also seem to be bringing out the best in people – be it generously sharing materials, expertise, time and perspectives or making small but important gestures to keep friends and colleagues motivated through these difficult times.

David D’Souza, CIPD Membership Director, comments:

'We’ve always encouraged employers to go above and beyond the letter of the law to protect people’s health, well-being and livelihoods wherever possible, and to protect their dignity at all times. It’s more important than ever to do that in times like this, but also more challenging than ever too.

‘The people profession is having to make difficult decisions, based on limited, fast-moving information and with significant impacts – whilst also juggling concerns about their own family, friends and income security. Not every organisation will survive the economic impact of this pandemic or be able to avoid making difficult calls that impact people. But these are not the only tests of our profession – it’s also how we deal with people in those situations and how we communicate with and support them.’

To help organisations manage their workforces responsibly and effectively during these difficult times, the CIPD’s employment experts are updating the CIPD Coronavirus hub on a daily basis. The hub’s free resources include employment law FAQs, tips for managing remote teams and useful templates for writing plans, policies and letters to employees.

CIPD members also have free access to a 24/7 employment law helpline and have been supporting each other through the CIPD’s online community.

The CIPD and People Management teams are inviting nominations for the #HRtogether campaign via TwitterLinkedIn or Facebook. See Stories from the people profession to find out how organisations from different sectors and industries have responded and adapted to the COVID-19 crisis.

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Championing better work and working lives

About the CIPD

At the CIPD, we champion better work and working lives. We help organisations to thrive by focusing on their people, supporting economies and society for the future. We lead debate as the voice for everyone wanting a better world of work.