The pandemic has highlighted the importance of human resources (HR) and significantly changed the role of HR leaders.
Overnight, business leaders had to adopt and accelerate digitalisation across organisations, as companies shifted to hybrid work. These changes profoundly changed the way individuals interact and societies operate, leading to a talent crunch in various industries, which was further amplified by the Great Resignation.
To support the future of work, HR would have to re-examine and re-adjust business processes more effectively in these ways:
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1. Rebuild culture in the new workplace
Adopting hybrid work and more flexible work arrangements may have benefited organisations in different ways, but also poses a threat to office culture. A lack of in-person interaction amongst employees can hinder a collaborative culture, which is vital for employee retention and satisfaction. This can drastically affect organisational success, since the pandemic has shown how critical human resources are to every organisation.
Hybrid work is not going away. Therefore, HR leaders need to work on improving employee engagement. An organised and consistent process that promotes open dialogue must be established to strengthen relationships between team leaders and team members even from a distance.
One area to focus on is diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I). Depending on your company’s policies, HR teams may opt to get employees involved in related committees and programmes to give them a stronger sense of purpose and increase engagement within a company.
HR can also conduct anonymous employee satisfaction surveys to understand the state of employees’ well-being and obtain suggestions on improving internal communications. This helps HR to understand how the organisation can better support them to perform at their best.
2. Redefine performance review systems
Performance appraisals and development opportunities must also evolve with the times to retain talent. HR needs to assure employees that the organisation is willing to help them advance their careers.
As we move towards a people-centric workplace, traditional yearly reviews are no longer sufficient. These need to be replaced with regular reviews, to afford more flexibility and enable a more proactive learning culture where managers and employees work towards actionable goals.
Organisations should also provide personalised coaching and upskilling opportunities for employees at every level, to ensure continuous learning and encourage greater ownership of one’s career development.
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3. Realign reward schemes
Companies that are unable to provide high salaries for top talent will lose out in a talent-driven market. Therefore, HR leaders need to evaluate how they can better incentivise employees to stay in this competitive market.
For a start, companies could permanently implement personalised, flexible work arrangements that allow employees to set their preferred work arrangements with their immediate supervisors. Companies can also improve health insurance and dental care coverage or add new benefits such as optical care, free health screenings, or even learning grants.
4. Invest in digital HR
Moving forward, HR needs to look into digital transformation to improve efficiency and effectiveness in recruitment, internal communications, performance management and talent development to remain competitive in a candidate-driven job market.
Current processes must be evaluated to analyse areas that could use a digital makeover. This is also an opportunity to engage with employees of all levels to understand priorities and concerns that may have been blind spots for HR.
Digital HR can come in several forms. These include the adoption of new video interviewing platforms to streamline the hiring process, performance management tools for managers and employees to receive and share feedback, and self-service software to provide a one-stop portal for employees to access information on company benefits, apply for annual leave and manage their details online.
To further add value to the business, HR should utilise data analytics to capture insights that would drive business decisions. HR leaders can regularly analyse employee performance and engagement metrics to make better decisions on revenue, talent acquisition and development as they support the company for new challenges.
The future of HR
The pandemic has shown us how human resources are at the heart of every company and are vital for an organisation’s success. Thus, HR has to consistently look for ways to support business leaders while increasing employee engagement and improving productivity, to help organisations successfully navigate the future of work.
This article is contributed by Michael Page.