Dhananjay Nagarkatti

Opinion: The Future Outlook of HR

By Dhananjay Nagarkatti

Post the pandemic, businesses have realized that growth does depend on a resilient and productive workforce. Initially, businesses were only reliant on one single means of hiring and retention. Thankfully, the latest turn of events has completely been transformed the role of HR. This transformation which had already started happening in the pre covid times has now been accelerated.

Technology upgrade: With the primary push towards technology, more HR teams will now be looking forward to leaning on technology for automated processes. This push towards the use of cloud software to automate and manage their workflows has already accelerated with smaller organizations such as ours. For our company’s future, we’re also looking at leveraging such technology.

While many large enterprises have already started the use of software for some of their recruiting, and onboarding services, the coronavirus pandemic created a bigger need for small and medium organizations to digitize these processes. Teams are now expected to embrace virtual HR processes like remote recruiting and automated onboarding.

Adapt to long-term remote work: What started as a temporary transition in the wake of the pandemic and induced lockdowns have since proven to be a more permanent solution for many businesses. HR will now have to adapt to the possibility of long-term remote work and the diverse work situation. Training and development practices will become much more personalized and available remotely. Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and other such enabling technologies are now used to increase productivity and engagement.

As employees have started to prefer such flexible schedules and the absence of a commute, HR will have to leverage technology as much as possible to maintain employee engagement. Managing a blended workforce has become the norm. The gig economy will thrive in such a scenario where organizations can hire for short-term contracts or freelancers as compared to long-term permanent jobs. 

Impact on Company culture and employee engagement: In the absence of a physical office space to connect with co-workers, employees are at a chance of feeling isolated, especially the new hires who can feel disengaged. This is where HR will need to get creative in terms of keeping remote employees engaged and virtually maintaining their company culture. Maintaining employee engagement will be crucial in the case of remote workers.

HR can prioritize employee engagement and culture by hosting virtual meetings and hangouts, conducting employee surveys, and increasing internal communication. With increased virtual meetings leading to online meeting fatigue, HR will have to strike a fine balance while keeping the teams engaged.

Employee Wellbeing: During stressful and uncertain times like this pandemic, an employee’s mental health and wellbeing are likely to fluctuate. Hence health and wellness are hot topics right now.

Interestingly, HR is aware, now more than ever, of the importance of employee wellbeing and its impact on business success. They will have to focus on their employees’ well-being now more than any time before. HR teams should focus on improving employee wellbeing while they adapt to the “new normal”.

Organizations must take steps to support their employees’ well-being and engagement, likely in ways they haven’t had to before such as creating a flexible and healthy work environment and supporting mental wellbeing in some of the toughest times. Maintaining transparency and clear communication with their organization will lead to improving their employees’ health and wellness.

Focus on cyber security: Cyber security is likely to be one of the major challenges for future HR in the new normal. New remote work and cyber security policies have to be laid down to overcome issues such as data confidentiality and employee privacy. Secure remote infrastructure will be the top priority and large employers will have to set up strong cyber security practices to manage this.

(Author Dhananjay Nagarkatti is Co-founder & Chief Operating Officer at Innovsol Systems and Technologies Private Limited. Opinions expressed are solely the author.)

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