Top HR trends which will shape the future of work
08 February 2021
2020 has made irreversible changes in our lives and businesses. No one could have predicted the disruption that the pandemic has caused. COVID-19 has propelled the field of HR forward reversing some trends, making big shifts, and most significantly creating an opportunity for rethinking and resetting how we design work practices that best serve all employees, our companies, and each other.
The solution lies not in returning to pre-COVID working practices.
Instead, the focus will center on enhanced employee engagement, together with accelerated productivity, collaboration, culture, and innovation, all while fostering a greater sense of belonging and accommodating individual styles, personalities, and team dynamics. The 2021 HR trends are all linked back to the pandemic and how it has re-shaped the new working world.
Enhanced Employee Safety & Wellbeing
Pre-COVID, employee safety was always a priority for every organization. But during the pandemic, safety and wellbeing have taken on new significance and transcended the traditional way with enhanced safety precautions such as social distancing measures, strict sanitization protocols, close monitoring of whoever enters or exits all facilities, etc.
Rethinking the employee experience
Organizations are smoothly advancing to leverage self-service and digital automation to bolster employee experience. Workplaces will evolve further, creating an omnichannel environment, where both tangible and intangible elements of the workplace are brought to the employee in a digital form. There will be social tools that will provide areas for employees to come together and interact. They will demand greater action from employers in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion within the workforce, and continue to pay close attention to culture and social responsibility.
Flexibility takes center stage
Flexible workforces have become the new normal and the experience of working during the pandemic has provided useful insights into the possibility of successfully contracting knowledge work to external freelancers. Additionally, the learnings from the pandemic have helped us resolve multiple challenges concerning remote work.
HR practices revisited
A rapid move to formalize remote work will call for dynamic solutions to support the new way work is getting done. Be it employee engagement or performance management, managers and C-suite executives must consciously carry usual business practices, such as team catch-ups, public recognition, and one-on-one support, into a virtual office environment. Executives and Managers will also be called upon to focus more on performance metrics such as monitoring positive feedback, conversion rate, gathering 180-degree feedback, weekly project deliverables, etc.
Redefinition of the workspace
Now it is not anymore about reporting to “work” in the morning and going back “home” in the evening. Coronavirus has broken all the barriers that earlier prevented remote work, setting in motion a structural shift in where work takes place, at least for some people. This calls for creating a hybrid workplace model where employees come to the office only if it is required.
Employee expectations will be re-evaluated
Now employees will want personally rewarding jobs, they will expect their workplaces to define their purpose and then follow through to make it a reality. Well-being initiatives will become an essential part of an organization’s ammunition, not only for attracting and retaining talent but also for demonstrating a commitment to employees’ health and safety. Physical and mental health, together with financial, social, and occupational well-being, play an integral part in employees’ overall well-being. Organizations that invest in supporting their employees’ well-being will witness strong returns on their investments.
While the progression toward digitalization was well underway, COVID-19 has enhanced it. Improving efficiency, effectiveness, and analytics are critical and we will have no choice but to embrace technology and be data-driven. IT and HR will work jointly to prioritize not only listening to and understanding employees’ technology needs but also bridging the gap to overcome technology experience challenges.
Learning & Development to foster growth
Employees will be looking for support to help them adapt, upskill and grow, amid changing work conditions; therefore, providing access to relevant learning and development to foster their growth will become an absolute need. Besides employees will be looking for remote access to information relevant to them as well as the opportunities and encouragement to share their ideas on maintaining a sense of community.
The pandemic has drastically reshaped the economy, creating massive changes in our work culture, and these changes have escalated the importance of HR’s role within organizations. The key to success for HR is to focus on nurturing the culture of an organization and ensure that all the employees know their purpose and feel deeply cared for.
(This article includes inputs form Jayakanthan R, Director - People & Strategy, Corporate HR, Elgi Equipments) READ MORE