Atlantic Health HR exec offers post-COVID tips for workplaces, job-seekers

The many health precautions that have been drilled into New Jerseyans by public officials for the past few months must now be applied to the workplace — especially after stay-at-home restrictions have been lifted in the state.

On a webinar called “Community Conversations: Let’s Get to Work,” Atlantic Health System Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Nikki Sumpter shared that perspective and others that can be applied to a return-to-the-workplace mindset many are feeling today.

“It’s up to companies to make sure these precautions are put in place; with, of course, employee safety being the No. 1 concern for everyone,” she said.

Here are five other key points and some tips for job-seekers:

  1. You need to have all the proper personal protective equipment, and your office needs to be marked appropriately with clear signage. Visual cues are important for staff who are returning to an office environment after all this time.
  2. Listening is more important right now than ever. And not just for you and your staff. You need to make time for the conversation.
  3. You also need to be listening to the world and paying attention to what’s happening.
  4. Figure out how you are going to measure productivity. Think about what can be accomplished remotely.
  5. For your office, have a plan in place on how to operate your elevator. There has to be proper spacing.

With her HR hat on, she offered advice to anyone who has been laid off or is looking to change jobs.

“We all have professional goals in mind, but there’s a new level of focus right now,” Sumpter said. “If you are looking for employment and you want to ‘be seen’ by recruiters, you need to do all of the above: Call them; email them; and connect on LinkedIn and message them. Stay in front of the recruiters. And send in paper resumes, too. Those still count. Make sure you clearly describe your skills.

“Don’t hold back on jobs to apply for. As they say in baseball, ‘You miss every pitch you don’t swing at.’

“Identify skills you might be lacking. And chances are, training for these skills is available online for free. Check with colleges or community colleges; LinkedIn even offers valuable job search courses.”

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