How the pandemic has transformed the HR industry and set global trends

Alan Winters, Global Chief Human Resource Officer – Teleperformance, shares his insights on transformation triggers in HR and how ‘people-connect’ remains the core of HR function.

The COVID-19 crisis has become the accelerator for one of the greatest workplace transformations of our lifetime. As business leaders found themselves unprepared in the shift to zero-touch employee interactions, some have taken this as an opportunity to re-define their businesses. HR leaders, in particular, have been at the center of their organization’s rapid response to the pandemic and have been playing a critical role in keeping the workforce connected, dynamic and resilient.  

HR has operated in crisis mode during the pandemic, figuring out how employees could work from home while trying to provide extra mental and physical health support. As companies continue to settle and adjust to the new digital reality norm, the role of HR has fundamentally changed. 

[box type=”success” align=”” class=”” width=””]It is paramount that leaders now evaluate the impact each HR trend will have on their organization. This will require re-evaluating operations and strategic goals, identifying which require immediate action, and assessing to what degree these HR trends change a business’s pre-COVID-19 strategic goals and plans. [/box]

Hybrid Work Models – ‘Anytime Anywhere’  

Hybrid and remote working models have become an irreversible trend since the pandemic began. Organizations have had to shift to more remote work operations, explore the critical competencies employees will need to collaborate digitally, and be prepared to adjust employee experience strategies.  

As HR leaders adjusted performance goal-setting and employee evaluations for a remote context, they have also been able to future-proof their businesses. In fact, global research conducted by NGS has shown that the vast majority of HR executives have embraced and are supportive of a largely remote workforce. The research shows that two in every three HR executives said that the working from home model is either positive or very positive for their organization. 

Arming employees with tailored onboarding and personal development programs have supported career advancement despite working predominantly from home. 

Employers are now able to use their skillset to maintain strong employee relations, not to mention streamline recruitment processes in large volumes.  

 Enhancing Employee Experience – ‘High-Tech, High-Touch’ 

There has also been a mindset shift from company leaders about how efficient a remote workforce can be. With the stress in managing work-life integration, assisting workers with their wellbeing has never been more important. Organizations have been actively investing in tools, technologies, and processes to understand their teams and how best to serve and support them. The key for businesses has been bringing together and balancing the disruptive technologies layer with a human layer.  

HR teams have realized that by putting employee experience at the top of their business’s agenda and accelerating digital transformation, they can improve company culture and enhance the work/life balance of their employees, achieving higher rates of employee retention.   

Up-skilling the Workforce – ‘People-first’ 

Amid the digital transformation climate, companies have had to focus on upskilling their current workforce. The bigger impact of digital adoption has been on the very nature of jobs. A McKinsey global survey in February 2020 found that nine in ten executives and managers were either already facing skills gaps in their organizations or expected gaps to develop within the next five years. Therefore, organizations are managing not just their digital transformation and the adoption of automation, but the upskilling and transition of their workforce as well. 

The processes behind sourcing candidates, coordinating selection, onboarding and verification have also undergone a digital transformation with greater personalization at the core.

[box type=”info” align=”” class=”” width=””]The widening skills gap – the competencies companies think they need versus what they actually have – is opening up the floor to robotics to analyze this gap and choose promising employees based on evolving competencies and client requirements. [/box]

The Future of HR 

HR is designed to recognize a crisis and how it will impact its teams, and it is now up to employers to ensure the time spent adapting to new ways of working are not wasted, and their employees are given the opportunities to advance in their careers.  

With working from home unveiling an entirely new realm of possibilities, it is now time for HR teams to create a diverse and inclusive workforce. With remote removing borders, HR leaders can hire the right talent and create a rich and diverse workforce. Businesses have also been encouraged to become more tech-savvy than they once were, whilst enabling them to constantly learn and bolster key skills wherever they are and on any device. 

What is for certain is that whatever the future of work looks like, employees are having to adapt and become more tech-proficient to excel in their careers in the new economy. As part of this, employers must focus on a people-first approach, and collaborate with their workers to ensure they are giving them the best chance to succeed. This can range from offering greater learning and development resources to introducing flexible working policies.  

As we leap into the new year, leaders will be willing to go the extra mile for employees and employee well-being. In the future, tech will not only be a given but an enabler to ensuring a superior experience. 

[author title=”Alan Winters, Global Chief Human Resource Officer, Teleperformance” image=”http://”][/author]



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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