Entering the new year with renewed vitality & pragmatism

Blursday, super-spreaders, lock-down, social-distancing, you’re on mute and of course the weekend quarantini, have been etched into our jargon as we faced the relentless challenges of COVID-19. Now as we enter 2021 with hopes of bringing a close to an unprecedented and chaotic year, we need to push-ahead, rather than retreat, to look forward to new opportunities that often come in the face of adversity. Without a doubt, necessity is often the mother of invention.

After all we are a people that historically have risen to the challenge: creating a sonorous musical instrument from an oil drum; leading in medical research from Dr. Pawan’s rabies studies alongside Louis Pasteur, to the research in coronavirus genomes by UWI Professor of Molecular Genetics and Virology, Christine Carrington; advancing in the arts from the genius of CLR James’ to the works of Nobel Laureate, V.S. Naipaul.

And while many agree that most essential Human Resource systems are configured to meet the primary concerns of employees, most are being challenged because of the many queries from those working from home.

“HR today isn’t set up to have a lot of questions thrown at it all at once. It is set up to manage a specific type and level of inquiry.” John Sumser Founder, HRExaminer has witnessed the change in the HR-technology realm and explained that we will likely start to see the demands on HR shift in fundamental ways. He noted that it’s not going to be possible to perform the core responsibilities of HR within the same budget and constraints as before the pandemic, because HR is serving a very different function right now.”

To meet these shifts at the Republic Bank Group, we have been committed to technologically inclusive innovations, enhanced IT platforms, developed hybrid working styles, expanded mental health programmes, ensured continued retaining and sourcing of new talent and broadened communication processes. Similarly, in my new role as HR General Manager, I have fortunately inherited a legacy of excellence that was created over the past two decades by Mrs. Anna Maria Garcia-Brooks, from which I will build on with the help of our dedicated team. Many have asked about my style. I often respond simply that my style is to lead from the front, making sure that all my colleagues have a voice, a “seat at the table”. With a laser-focus on ensuring a pioneering and compassionate workplace, my personal goal in the new year is one focused on ensuring a work-life balance.

Although for many employees, Coronavirus-fatigue is real, the daily Zoom/Google Team chats have become routine, there is always room to innovate, disrupt and alter the perspective. If it is one lesson that we have learnt over the past year it is that we need each other now more than ever. Inherently, creative collective collaboration is key to the development of industries of all size and category. Recognizing the gaps and cracks in the edifice now, will help us to better prepare for the future in the HR industry and beyond, post-vaccine.

Having spent the Christmas vacation not in the traditional large friends and family gatherings but with my family at home, like many of you, the gratitude is immense as is the loss. However, rest assured that we will emerge from these days more mindful, robust, vocal and unified than ever.

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