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When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, there was simply no HR playbook for dealing with the crisis – yet there was an expectation for HR to adapt quickly as others adjusted to a new working reality.

“If we’ve learned anything in the last four months, it’s the importance of resilience and flexibility in the HR function,” said Sharon Patterson, CHRO at HR consulting firm Lee Hecht Harrison, in an interview with HRD.

“Any projects or initiatives, kicked off at the beginning of 2020, quickly went on the backburner as the COVID-19 pandemic took centre stage and became everyone’s immediate priority,” she said.

A recent survey by Gartner found that the traditional three-year strategic plan of most companies is being replaced by a more agile approach– planning is now occurring quarterly.

Throughout all the changes, HR leaders have kept their finger on the pulse of the business and the workforce; most especially now, as companies reset their operations under the ‘new normal’.

“Many organisations have entered the recovery phase and are focused on stabilising the business and restarting activity,” said Mark Whittle, vice president of advisory in the Gartner HR practice. “HR leaders will play a critical role during this period.”