The past two years amidst the COVID-19 crisis have shown us that HR has been uniquely positioned to help organisations navigate and thrive. There is no doubt that the pandemic has profoundly changed the role of human resources leaders and accentuated the importance of HR in the pandemic era.
Overnight, business leaders adopted and accelerated digitalisation across organisations, and companies shifted to remote work. These changes have significantly and profoundly changed the way individuals interact and societies operate and have led to talent issues like the Great Resignation and amplified talent shortages in various industries.
HR leaders need to find ways to support their business leaders. They need to reevaluate processes to redefine business stability and drive people transformation to strengthen their organisations' ability to support the future of work.
Related: 8 drivers of change for HR in APAC
Rebuild Culture in the New Workplace
Adopting remote work and more flexible work arrangements, while vital in the new normal and have benefited organisations in different ways, poses a threat to office culture. This lack of in-person interaction amongst employees can be detrimental to creating a collaborative culture, which is vital for employee retention and satisfaction, and organisational success.
The pandemic has shown us how human resources are at the heart of every company and are critical for an organisation's success.
Remote work is not going away. Therefore, HR leaders need to focus on employee engagement. An organised and consistent process that includes open dialogue needs to be established to strengthen relationships between team leaders and team members to foster community from a distance.
HR needs to create communities to engage employees. One area to focus on is diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I). Depending on your company's DE&I policies, HR teams may opt to get employees involved in related committees and programmes to create a more profound sense of purpose and promote further engagement within a company. This is also an opportunity for HR to catalyse purpose within employees.
Also, HR can conduct anonymous employee satisfaction surveys to understand the state of employees' well-being and get their suggestions on internal communications and how best organisations can support them to perform at their best.
Redefine Performance Review Systems
Performance review systems or apprasials need to change to retain talent. As the market continues to be candidate-driven, HR needs to assure employees that they want to help them develop their careers.
So, as we move towards a people-centric workplace, traditional yearly reviews are no longer sufficient. These need to be replaced with regular reviews. Organisations should also provide personalised coaching and opportunities for upskilling for all employees.
Realign Reward Schemes
Many businesses are left with weakened balance sheets due to the impact of COVID-19. They may have caused them to cut costs by decreasing the number of employees, deferring bonuses or even reducing employee salaries and benefits.
These measures may make sense at the start of the pandemic and may not work in favour of the company in the long run. If companies are unable to provide high salaries for top talent to join the company, they will lose out in this talent-driven market. Therefore, HR leaders need to evaluate how they can incentivise employees to stay competitive in the market.
For a start, companies could permanently implement personalised, flexible work arrangements to allow employees to work out their preferred hours and arrangements with their immediate supervisor. Companies can improve health insurance and dental care coverage or add new benefits such as optical care and free health screenings.
Invest in Digital HR
The HR industry is radically changing. Moving forward and beyond the pandemic, HR needs to look into digital transformation within HR. This would enable HR to improve process efficiency and effectiveness in recruitment, internal communications, performance management and people development and be competitive in a candidate-driven job market.
HR leaders must evaluate current processes to analyse what could do better with a digital makeover. This is also an opportunity to engage with employees of all levels to understand their priorities and concerns that may have been blindspots 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 to allow managers and employees to receive and share feedback, and employee self-service software to provide a single self-service portal for employees to access information on company benefits, apply for annual leave and empower them to manage their details online.
To continue to add value to the business and its bottom line, HR should utilise data and analytics to capture insights that would drive leadership and business decisions. HR leaders can also regularly analyse and monitor employee performance and engagement metrics to help them monitor workforce performance.
This would also aid HR teams to make better decisions on revenue, talent acquisition and development as they support the workforce for new challenges during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Related: Top 7 essential skills in HR
The Future of HR – Post-pandemic
The pandemic has shown us how human resources are at the heart of every company and are critical for an organisation's success. And thus, it is vital for HR to consistently look for ways to support business leaders while increasing employee engagement and improving productivity for organisations to succeed in the COVID-19 era and beyond.
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