2020 Heroes and 2021 Innovating Leaders: HR Professionals

Marco Piovesan

October 15 2020

What a year!

At the beginning of 2020, Human Resource Executives (HREs) focused on the competition for top talent in an extremely tight employment market. In hindsight, it was a great problem to have.

Mid-March onwards, HR departments across the world were forced to adapt to new challenges and business uncertainties almost overnight. There wasn’t much time for policy and procedure planning. Decisions had to be made quickly as new – at times conflicting – information became available by the week, day, and hour. While there were many challenges to deal with, there were three main categories that HREs had to confront immediately:

  1. Working from Home (WFH). Logistical challenges abounded for many HR departments: ensuring everyone had the proper equipment and access, managing workers remotely, and the many joys and challenges that come with WFH, including productivity and mental health issues. 
  2. Financial Management of a Workforce. Many businesses lost huge amounts of revenue almost overnight; as a result expense management became critical. Unfortunately, this led to lay-offs, furloughs, and salary reductions. HR had to stay up to date on changing Department of Labor rules, financial impacts on employees, and ensuring operations ran smoothly with lean teams.
  3. Stopping the Spread. HR professionals across the country had to become the internal experts on a virus and lead initiatives to ensure that the health and safety of their staff became priority number one. HR professionals had to think about health, safety, and occasionally actions that may have had life and death consequences.

Some industries, however, faced different challenges. Certain businesses found there was an immediate and increased demand for their goods and services. For example, food delivery services, package delivery services, and virtual healthcare services all saw noticeable growth after the onset of the pandemic. As a result, HREs had to scale recruiting and hiring at an extremely fast pace. But most businesses weren’t nearly as fortunate.

You can’t spell “Hero” without H & R!

HREs stepped up to the plate to keep staff safe and adapted swiftly to sudden change. Their leadership during a time of crisis is deserving of every accolade. We recognize HREs as an incredible group of people for their execution and empathy in helping employees throughout this very challenging year. 

How HREs Managed and Led

How did HREs take these challenges head on and lead through these tough times? There are many reasons for their success in navigating through this year – communication, collaboration, devotion, rapid execution – but the two main reasons come down to empathy and servant leadership.   

From the very beginning, HREs knew that the pandemic would have huge and lasting consequences for everyone. They had to coordinate quickly across the enterprise with technology, security, and every functional group. They had to consider personal circumstances of every employee – family life, locations, Wi-Fi access, laptops, and health concerns. The scope of HR responsibilities broadened overnight to include understanding the health and mental health aspects of COVID-19 and conflicting information and concerns across numerous stakeholders. In spite of all of this, HREs never dropped the ball.

HREs connected, communicated, and were more flexible than ever before.  Employees looked to HREs to lead them through tough questions – will I lose my job, when will the CARES Act supplement be effective, how can I best manage my time while working from home with my kids studying from home – and the empathy they extended was a beautiful consequence of these challenging times.

HREs have proven that their seat at the table is critical in order for companies and employees to survive crises and thrive moving forward. HREs provided incredible leadership through their intentional steady-handed leadership and devotion to their employees and their companies. 

The Future

Has the role of HREs changed?  Yes, and it has grown to the strategic benefit of the company and staff. The role of HREs has never been as dynamic as it is today. Their drive for companies to thrive through positive culture and seamless workforce management is critical. HREs will focus on the topics below and they will shape the future.

  1. Workforce Agility and Planning. Manage your workforce as seamlessly as possible in new and innovative ways. Learn to stay connected as remote work continues to gain popularity. Workforce planning will be absolutely critical. Managing remote workers and flexible staff changes are two challenges that are here to stay. Lay out your HR Technology strategy and utilize the right tech tools now. Technology is critical for HR efficiency, cost management for your business, and will lead to incredible employee experiences.

  2. Waste No Time. Employees and applicants want to be able to move quickly through the hiring process. As a result, there has to be increased reliance on technology solutions such as recruiting software, applicant tracking systems, employee management platforms, and background screening solutions. Companies want to fill vacancies quickly. Automation within these platforms ensures your business wastes no time recruiting and hiring for key roles, and then managing careers and skills.
  3. Workforce Health. It became a lot more personal this year – for example: pets and babies on virtual conference calls – and this has had a positive impact on culture. Human Resources has never been more human-centric. 79% of HR professionals now rate “employee health and safety” as their #1 priority. Many HREs have new responsibilities such as PPE distribution, managing hot spots, using COVID-19 apps and platforms, and having people take their temperature at entrances.
  4. Rapid Legislative Changes. Compliance and regulatory change come quickly. The evolution of the workforce to include the rapid growth of gig workers will potentially expand the categorization of employees, consultants, and part-time workers. This has become clear with the enactment of CA Assembly Bill 5 and the ending of Privacy Shield. There is a critical eye on compliance locally, regionally, nationally, and globally. Going forward, tech platforms will help HREs manage and maintain compliance.
  5.  Unleash People’s Potential & Champion Inclusion. Plan and lead employees career advancement by adding critical skills and opportunities to learn more. Find the unique strengths of employees and enable them to thrive in roles most suited to them – or let them create new roles that will help with the success of your enterprise. This pandemic has opened a window into employees’ home lives. Use this positively for the benefit of all.

We, at InfoMart, salute all of the incredible Human Resource Executives in the world and their heroic efforts to protect and lead their employees through an incredibly turbulent time. They have led us through this crisis flawlessly through empathy and strong leadership. We are all excited about an incredible 2021 as EVERYONE gets back to work! 

Thank you for everything that you do, every day.

About Marco Piovesan

A seasoned leader in the industry, Marco has over 20 years of experience in global identity, credit, and screening programs, serving corporations and governments worldwide. He is an active regulatory data privacy consultant for the International Monetary Fund. As a leading advocate for a global approach to identity and screening that resolves economic and societal challenges, Marco combats obstacles to basic identity verification that lead to the denial of financial access and employment opportunities. He’s served as InfoMart’s CEO for several years, during which time he’s led organizational innovation with multiple first-to-market, global identity and background screening solutions.

About InfoMart

InfoMart has been revolutionizing the global background and identity screening industry for 30 years, providing businesses the information they need to make informed hiring decisions. They develop innovative technology that modernizes talent onboarding, including a first-to-market biometric identity authentication application and a verified sanctions search. The WBENC-certified company is a founding member of the Professional Background Screening Association, and they have achieved PBSA accreditation in recognition of their consistent business practices and commitment to compliance with the FCRA. The company is dedicated to customer service, speed, and accuracy, and it has been recognized for its success, workplace culture, and corporate citizenship with over 45 industry awards. To Get the Whole Story on InfoMart, please visit, follow @InfoMartUSA, or call (770) 984-2727.

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