The role of HR now resembles walking a tight rope…balancing business continuity in extraordinarily challenging and ambiguous times and maintaining employee well-being, experience, continuity and productivity, writes Sonica Aron.
By- Sonica Aron, Founder & Managing Director, Marching Sheep
The world of work has changed drastically in the previous decade, and exponentially in the last two months. Hence, it is not surprising that the role of HR has transformed too. The role of HR now resembles walking a tight rope…balancing business continuity in extraordinarily challenging and ambiguous times and maintaining employee well-being, experience, continuity and productivity.
Not an easy task!
The responsibilities of hiring, training, engaging and assessing talent have become broader, conceptual, strategic and technology-based. Consider the impact of domination of millennials and zillennials in the workforce, significant technological advances, economic changes, and crises like the one we are in, have changed how we work.
Let’s look at some of the latest trends which will drive transformation and shape the future HR function across industries in times to come:
- TECHNOLOGY – Thanks to technology, organizations can run their business virtually in VUCA 2.0. Many organizations are thriving on automated technology-based solutions which not only help in freeing up time from labour-intensive activities and diverting it to more strategic initiatives and problem solving but also help firms focus on accuracy and quality of processes. There are many tech-based solutions used in the HR industry today, which majorly incorporate HR Analytics and Artificial Intelligence:
- HR Analytics – With the help of HR Analytics, HR professionals can combine and analyse data collected to discover new and useful insights which help in effective decision making. It is a misnomer that a lot of HR work is based on gut feeling: with the help of HR Analytics, this is not true anymore. With some commonly used HR Analytics like Capability analytics, Employee churn analytics, Recruitment channel analytics, Leadership analytics, Employee performance analytics etc. HR can do an in-depth evaluation and determine the impact of various HR processes on business.
- Artificial Intelligence – Artificial Intelligence’s (AI) integration into human resources is making the HR function more robust as these applications can analyse, predict and diagnose to help HR professionals make swift and accurate decisions. AI applications available today help in candidate screening and reduce the recruitment time. They can even predict under challenging times when to start the hiring process. To eliminate monotony from operations, many companies are using AI to let candidates transfer information from their CVs to smart digital forms and efficiently complete their application process. AI-backed chatbots are always used to empower both employees and HR professionals to keep the communication going.
- PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY– VUCA 2.0 has made psychological safety one of the most important aspects of superior team performance. The idea that employees should be heard and empowered to take action is directly correlated to positive business outcomes. In today’s time when the world is going through a pandemic, when everyone is locked at their homes, motivation levels are low, and stress levels are high due to constant fear of the virus’s presence, job insecurity and financial instability. Such times call for a particular focus on employee’s mental well-being. So, providing them with an environment where they aren’t afraid, where they are heard and where they can be themselves inculcates positive emotions amongst employees and helps them survive present and future uncertainties.
- ENABLING ENVIRONMENT- People Operations is slowly changing its priority towards not just empowering the company but also enabling its employees. After all, employees are the most valuable asset of an organisation and HR operations across organizations are witnessing a change towards cultivating a more people-centric strategy which focuses on improving employee experience at every stage of the worker’s life cycle. People operations is shifting its focus from transaction to interaction. Creating an employee-centric work environment effectively engages people which not only boosts their motivation levels but also improves their productivity.
- SOFT SKILLS ARE NEW POWER SKILLS– Attitude over skill, behaviours differentiate between valued and productive employees vs those who are not. Attention to interpersonal skills is evident with the increasing number of trainings/courses available catering teaching employees soft skills. Aspects of interpersonal skills like professional ethics, commitment, responsiveness, effective communication, regular feedback, active listening, trust, empathy are gaining even more importance now given that so many are working virtually. These will be the key to fostering strong working relationships and contribute to individual and team productivity.
- RISE OF GIG ECONOMY OR OUTSOURCING – Freelancing or outsourcing structure is witnessing a steep growth in the industry. Recruiting on an hourly basis or project basis not only lowers costs for employers but also gives higher flexibility to employees. Millennials and Generation Z are open to being a part of the gig economy workforce because it gives them control over their working hours and strikes a healthy work-life balance. Gig economy creates the perfect ecosystem, giving workers flexibility without compromising on proficiency. With remote working being the new normal now, the gig economy setup will be a great advantage for organizations because it will let them run their business virtually via outsourcing.
Hence, a fine combination of technology, flexibility, willingness to unlearn and relearn, and people-driven processes will make a difference. In today’s dynamic environment, the HR industry will need to embrace VUCA 2.0 and new trends to stay relevant and keep their organizations competitive.