The professional world is ever evolving. Some changes come with the industry, or globalization, and others with natural disasters like the Covid-19 Pandemic that shook the world in 2020. Whichever the case, companies need to bump up their strategies if they want to stay ahead and relevant. Since it is the workforce that is thoroughly affected by change, HR needs to be redefined and polished in order to embrace whatever the world may throw at any given time.
Embracing innovative HR techniques is one of the ways companies leverage themselves to their performative advantage, strengthen workforce abilities and improve employee experiences.
Let’s take a look at some of the trends that have developed thanks to embracing change and innovative techniques in the HR space.
#1 Flexibility at Work
When Covid struck, organizations around the world faced inevitable shutdowns due to its impact on the economy. A solution had to be devised and this solution was flexibility at work. Work flexibility is not a new concept; it has existed and had been adopted by companies that were best suited to practise it. However, as the pandemic continued hitting the globe wave after wave, the most practical thing to do was to adopt flexible work, which includes remote work, part-time work and job sharing to ensure work continuity while observing preventative measures set forth to curb spread of the Covid-19 virus.
We don’t know when the pandemic will end and many companies have now decided to not renew their office leases (for now) while others have made employees return into the office with new protocols. Either way, work flexibility is here to stay long term and will intensify in 2021 and the coming years. Thankfully, companies globally are making necessary adjustments.
#2 Digital Integration
The pandemic jolted organizations to not only include work flexibility in to their daily operations, but to intergrate digital technology to compliment the same. This has now become a key focus for organizations, to continually deploy technology to boost digital transormation, not just for the sake of the new normal, but for disruptive HR innovation as well. Virtual meetings, recruitment and onboarding have benefited work-from-home individuals, and CRM Systems put in place for process automation as well as employee and client tracking. Digitization of services will continue to play a huge role in managing stakeholders and distributed workforces in the coming times.
#3 Mental Health Awareness
Employee (and employer) mental health has always been a key focus for HR Professionals in the past years. However, when Covid-19 hit, it left behind no prisoners. The pandemic has had a profound effect on mental health and well-being. From lay-offs and salary-cuts to remote working and isolation, the workforce has experienced all manners of emotional rollercoasters. Therefore, mental heath awareness programmes within organizations are not only nice, they are necessary.
HR professionals are now finding a way to remove the stigma around mental health and give employees the emotional support they need to promote health, safety, and productivity.
#4 Reskilling, Upskilling and Internal Mobility
The most damaging consequence caused by the pandemic is hiring freezes. Furthermore, the lockdown has led to lay-offs and a high number of sick-leaves. To stay agile and adaptive, companies are implementing upskilling and reskilling programs. This means that as companies put on hold finding new talent, even though they might need them, they conduct an analysis on existing employees on whether the talent they need is there. In case of lack of compatibility, then they train and reskill these employees, if the talent needed is easily trainable.
This helps the workforce remain competitive in the job market despite hiring set-backs, retains employees while boosting their morale, and reduces recruitment and onboarding costs.
# 5 Outsourced and Managed Services
In a case where employees focus on demanding technical roles, upskilling or reskilling does not work. At the same time, other non-core functions, for example in HR Support and Finance, need to be performed. This is where outsourced services come in. Working with an experienced outsourcing service provider helps companies increase productivity streamline operations and add additional resources that may be lacking in-house, without having to increase headcount. From sales to recruitment to operations, outsourcing has become the ‘work smart’ business model.
Outsourcing/managed services reduces expenses by eliminating the need to hire and train new employees as well as occupancy costs in additional office space and equipment. Having a pool of outsourced talent means companies can rapidly scale their workforce without increasing overheads and spending a fortune on the same.
“When life gives you lemons, keep them because they are free lemons!”
The pandemic drastically disrupted HR practices and service delivery methods. However, maybe that is just what the markets needed; disruptive HR! These transitions forced companies to face challenges (that were tougher to handle pre-Covid) head-on and find lasting solutions. Now, HR departments have balanced business operations powered by futuristic strategic thinking and a people-centric approach.
The current, or any upcoming pandemic or drastic change should not be the reason your business goes downhill.