Undeniably, the aftermath of the pandemic has presented another set of challenges directly impacting the drivers of workplace change- HR Leaders. The impact has been so profound already that some even labeled Covid-19 as the black swan event for businesses. While it began with companies being forced to lay off employees, it ended (keeping the new variants aside) with the onset of ‘The great resignation.’
It wasn’t long ago that the professionals got accustomed to the new models of management, leadership, and working that now they are beginning to struggle differently yet again! The constant work model shuffle, change in strategies, and attempts to determine the ‘right balance’ for the future of work is acting as an alarming call — demanding them to crack the right action path or fall in the spiral of non-resilience.
It’s time HR leaders identify, address, and take hold of the challenges that emerge as we all hope to soon transcend to a new reality of work post-pandemic.
1. Fostering critical competencies and skills
The common challenge HR leaders face in skill development is that it’s hard for them to predict skills needed in the future and evolve solutions accordingly. In the current scenario, predicting skills required in the future is complex because mostly wrong predictions are made and worked upon—the same leads to a bad investment of time, effort and money. Infact the skills landscape is changing so rapidly that out of 1in 3 skills needed in 2018 will not be required by the end of this year, i.e., 2022.
Planning talent acquisition and management around skills and not roles can be beneficial. The key to building the skill-based organisation as opposed to the prevalent role-based one is to-
- Define ownership of skills
- Collect data on dynamic skills
- Using skills to make talent-related decisions
2. Managing organisation design and change
Change management stands as the second priority for HR leaders while keeping in mind that more than 54% of employees mention that they are tired of adapting to all the change. Furthermore, fatigue seemingly impacts productivity during work from home. As per Gartner, it reduced team innovation by 30%, performance and initiatives by 33% each, effective team collaboration by 38%, and inclusion by 44% leading to 54% of employees losing their desire to stay.
Only striving continuously for a positive change experience and focusing on workforce health can save the organisations from an even bigger loss in the future.
#Focus on employee engagement and health- Gartner identifies three components as crucial for employee health- their health, their relationship health with colleagues, and the health of the organisation’s work environment.
To achieve resilience, workforce management should be done so that change doesn’t impact the overall employee health.
#Create positive change experience- Workplace fatigue drivers can be day-to-day changes, and “moments of truth” + good team connection can help immensely. Let the teams shape their experiences and adapt to change their way. Furthermore, know the moments that can be utilised to build your employees’ trust in you.
3. Creating a diverse and inclusive workforce
DEI is another area of concern for 35% of HR leaders but around 36% highlight how they find it challenging to identify and hold the business leaders accountable for the DEI outcome. The entire leadership pipeline is low in diversity—only 29% Women in C-suite, 41% in midlevel, and 56% in the frontline. The percentile is more discouraging in racial minorities, 17% in c-suite, 25%in midlevel, and 31% in the frontline.
The problem is that currently, collective accountability is done for DEI outcomes. This includes shifting mindsets, cascaded goals, and metrics diffusing the responsibility of business leaders.
Try adopting a method where you make informed decisions upon evaluating data on talent composition) with customised strategies lending leaders the execution of those and defining the progress required. We suggest you make it clear that for leaders to advance, improvement is expected and required in their DEI objectives. All would result in a meaningful effect on the behavior of leaders individually due to consequential accountability.
4. Setting future leadership bench
While this stands third in the row of priorities for HR leaders, the challenge with 24% of the theme is that they have not developed their mid-level leaders enough. Many times the talented employees are underrepresented and not advanced in the hierarchy. The three primary hindrances are-
- Not enough exposure and interaction with the senior leaders
- Inadequate support from the mentor
- lack of DEI
The solution is to lead with empathy. HR leaders must train mid-level managers on how to be empathy-driven in a hybrid workplace. Here are some questions to ponder upon-
- Identify if managers have empath as a skill or they need guidance?
- Know how managers can support the personal needs of employees?
- Do the managers have enough time, or are they overloaded?
Moving forward, train to ingrain the following in your hybrid workplace managers-
- The quality to prioritise people, not processes
- Be transparent and encourage growth
- Discuss, not command
- Do one on one to know about employee health and keep it confidential when need be
Tip: Tip: To identify team members’ potential and current standing, managers can try the 9 box matrix, a fantastic leadership review tool by HROne HR software. It helps identify the future leaders and makes your company a better employer by analysing the current contribution and the potential via a unique grid view.
The intersection between growth potential and current employee performance (in the context of the hybrid workplace, it can be related to productivity during work from home) is where development is required.
5. Building resilience for the future of work
While 42%of HR leaders identify the future of work strategy as a priority, almost 49% of them affirm not having a clear future of work strategy. In addition, the pandemic has disrupted workforce management— affecting every aspect of the business. With so many trends coming and going, the best thing to do is not be a part of the crowd and follow it all.
Run an analysis on the alignment of the trends with your goals, which defines the short and long-term modifications to your plan. Classify trends in three buckets- Current trends, impact, pendulum swings.
Pick only the trends that are most relevant for your workplace. For instance. Working remotely is the current trend. The response to crisis and emphasis on employee health making or breaking your employer brand is the impact, and pendulum swing can be ensuring resilience and efficiency equally (productivity during work from home).
These were the 5 pressing issues HR leaders face heading into 2022. It does require a lot of work, and it is more than likely for the world of work to undergo changes furthermore. Stay agile!