Overwhelmed employee at computerWhile there are a million takeaways for the heroes in the HR department after a year like this last one, the most glaring of all of them is this: Employees need help. (Credit: PrinceOfLove/Shutterstock.com)

The past year punched both businesses and employees right in the gut, piling on more money problems for millions of people. What seemed like just the mountain most Americans lived on—all the money stress, paycheck-to-paycheck living and lack of savings—was actually a volcano waiting for a once-in-a-lifetime event to set it off.

The coronavirus pandemic was that event. And you know how the story goes from there.

But what you may not know is the absolutely critical role human resources professionals have played in getting businesses and employees through a year that caught so many people off guard. Simply put: You can’t spell “hero” without HR. These everyday heroes are the glue that has been holding businesses together through the barrage of mask mandates, contact tracing, quarantines, lockdowns, remote work situations and layoffs.

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