Chief Human Resource Officers (CHRO) play a critical role in leading employees into the future of work, even when that future seems uncertain during a challenge like the COVID-19 pandemic.
As CHROs explore strategies for an organizational-wide safe return to work, many are finding that strategic investments in technology may prove critical in reducing workforce turnover. In fact, HR Technologists suggests that a key for managing the changing nature of work will be an HR-based strategy for deploying artificial intelligence and automation tools to optimize processes for the entire workforce.
As the pandemic redefines cleanliness expectations in the workplace, HR will need to help shape the strategies for meeting employees’ health and safety expectations– and automation may be the key for doing just that.
5 Reasons for HR to Prioritize Health and Safety
Building the right employee experience around health and safety has high-impact implications for an organization. A safe, healthy building can:
1. Increase productivityThe data around productivity levels in “healthy” buildings predates the COVID-19 pandemic by far. One study indicates that by investing $40 per person per year in making changes to improve building health led to a $6,500 increase in employee productivity.
2. increase collaborationAs global consultant McKinsey & Co. points out in Reimagining the office and work life after COVID-19, not every organization is able to achieve high levels of collaboration using virtual tools alone. “Many forms of virtual collaboration are working well; others are not. Some people are getting mentorship and participating in casual, unplanned, and important conversations with colleagues; others are missing out.”
3. Increase innovationResearch from Stanford professor of Economics Nichols Bloom indicates that in-person collaboration is necessary for innovation. “[T]he new ideas we are losing today could show up as fewer new products in 2021 and beyond, lowering long run growth,” he predicts.
4. Maintain positive brand imageA strong company brand is critical for attracting top talent. Today, the employer brand is more critical than ever, according to the Society of Human Resource Managers. People want to know which organizations are taking care of their employees.
5. Attract and retain top talent
Maintaining that positive brand will help attract new talent, but putting a solid health and safety plan in place is critical for retaining the top talent keeping your business running.
Designing a safe and healthy ecosystem in the modern workplace will depend upon developing best practices to reduce employee density in workspaces and ensure appropriate social distancing among employees and other building occupants. Without an investment in technology, it would be difficult if not impossible to meet these expectations and the new demand for more frequent cleaning.
Contactless cleaning solutions like Whiz, the commercial robot vacuum from Softbank Robotics, developed in partnership with Brain OS and ICE Robotics, support current cleaning staff by tackling critical yet repetitive tasks. This frees up staff to perform more intensive disinfection activities without adding additional people into the space.
What’s more, technology solutions like Whiz provide a visible reminder of the intensified level of cleaning. Commercial robot vacuums are able to continuously remove the dust and grime to which pathogens cling. While cleaning might once have been relegated to after-hours activities for office environments, these autonomous solutions are now a powerful symbol of your brand’s investment in health and safety.
Automation tools are also able to prove more complete cleaning coverage. Tools like Whiz often come armed with analytical capabilities that demonstrate exactly when and where cleaning activities were performed.
Update your Talent Management Strategy
Independent research from Softbank Robotics indicates that employees had already made the connection between their health and their office environment prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 61% of survey respondents indicated that they had experienced allergy symptoms at the office. Making HR an active partner in developing a health and safety plan for a building can help direct the conversation employees are already having about their work environment.
While many CHROs are looking at making technology part of their talent management plan, their focus may need to be broader. Today’s focus should no longer be solely on what technology can do to support a remote workforce, but about how technology can help create a safe environment to which your workforce can return.
Contact SoftBank Robotics today to learn more about how to make Whiz your newest brand ambassador.