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3 HR challenges to consider post-pandemic

By Kace O'Neill | |6 minute read

As businesses adjust to the new normal in a post-pandemic world, HR departments across Australia are focused on strategies that reflect the unique challenges of this time.

Randstad’s Key Challenges for HR as Businesses Return to Work report shines a light on the issues that HR departments across Australia are facing.

For HR departments especially, it can be difficult to navigate these challenges and verify the toughest ones to combat. To assist, Randstad has highlighted three key considerations:

  1. Gaps in the workforce

The financial impact of the pandemic had a devastating impact on businesses across Australia, with many revenue streams either being put on halt or dissolving altogether. Due to the cutting of revenue streams, staff cuts were inevitable as businesses had to revert to redundancies to stay afloat.

These redundancies have left large gaps across a number of businesses, which has left HR departments now on the scramble to attract talent back into the workforce. That can be rehiring employees or sourcing new hires and speed-running them through business processes.

Having flexible staffing solutions can have its benefits in a situation like this. Putting flexibility at the heart of your workforce planning will help you meet short-term, unforeseen challenges and scale your labour capacity up and down as you see fit.

  1. Reluctance to return

It’s no secret that during the pandemic, many employees were expected to continue their work from home. These big adjustments in how people process and operate have become the normality as there has been a large-scale shift to favouring remote work. This has presented employers with the ongoing challenge of actually getting employees back into the office.

A survey of 6,000 office workers across Europe by Okta found that, in the UK, only one in four respondents were eager to make a full return to the workplace, with many showing a preference for a flexible model based on part-time remote working.

In this dilemma, employers must ask themselves one question: is it a necessity for employees to return to the workplace? Unless it is detracting from productivity or business outcomes, forcing employees to return to the office is a pointless exercise that many businesses routinely do.

Instead, if your employees have clearly shown they’re able to do their jobs effectively and efficiently from home and it doesn’t disadvantage the business in any way, it could be worth sticking to the new script and keeping those flexible arrangements in place. Trusting your employees and allowing them to have the work/life balance that they want will boost employee morale and organisational culture.

  1. Cost pressures

Cost reduction, for a number of businesses, will be at the top of their list of priorities. With so many organisations seeing their revenue opportunities limited and profit margins tightened, getting a handle on costs has never been more important.

For the HR department, there are a number of strategies that can be deployed to reduce overall costs. One option that businesses can consider is adopting process automation, which can optimise your deployment of human resources while increasing process accuracy and speed, minimising the time and cost impact of rectifying errors.

It’s a strategy that a lot of forward-thinking businesses have adopted to not only decrease basic human error but also allow their employees to spend more of their time on productive tasks instead of frivolous routines.

Re-evaluating a business’s recruitment activities can also be a way to cut unnecessary spending. Hiring permanent employees can be expensive and paying advertisers to display the role to jobseekers can cost a fortune. Investing in flexible workers can be a valuable source cost cutting, while also gaining those skills that might be hard to find in the mainstream labour market.

Overall, HR departments have a lot on their plate when it comes to the unique challenges that are still affecting businesses, coming from the remnants of the COVID-19 pandemic. Modern problems require modern solutions; if businesses or HR stay stagnant on these issues and fail to adopt fresh practices to combat these challenges, then the lasting effects of the pandemic could be insurmountable.



An employee is a person who has signed a contract with a company to provide services in exchange for pay or benefits. Employees vary from other employees like contractors in that their employer has the legal authority to set their working conditions, hours, and working practises.


The term "workforce" or "labour force" refers to the group of people who are either employed or unemployed.

Kace O'Neill

Kace O'Neill

Kace O'Neill is a Graduate Journalist for HR Leader. Kace studied Media Communications and Maori studies at the University of Otago, he has a passion for sports and storytelling.