- Where is the new focus for HR?
- How is HR making the shift from managing processes to creating a holistic impact?
- How can you integrate the “human” factor across different activities and working areas?
The last 18 months have seen a significant change in the way everyone does business. The impacts of the pandemic are going to be long-lasting and unpredictable. If companies are hoping to move forward successfully, there needs to be a shift in thinking.
Companies are past the survival mode. And now, companies and leaders need to be looking for ways to make their teams, and their businesses thrive.
To make the most of every opportunity and embrace disruption, companies need to start focussing on the human component of their structures, processes and leadership. If your company is to be genuinely flexible, you need to build that flexibility into your processes and thinking. Not to just expect that from your workforce. Reaching this goal requires a new level of integration of activities.
Building an Agile Hybrid Workforce
To build an agile, hybrid workforce, you may need to ask some difficult questions. Are you fully realising your worker potential? How healthy is your talent ecosystem? Which workers are you at risk of losing and why? Do your stated company values translate into reality?
Data is a valuable tool, there is no doubt of that. You need to have a firm grip on not only what work is being done, but who is doing it and how. This information needs to be used with a forward-thinking attitude. Much strategic planning is based on retrospective measurements and data.
However, looking backwards is not an effective strategy for planning for the future, especially when the future is highly volatile; a change in mindset is required.
The aim is to finetune your workforce strategies to be useful for the coming months. In other words, stop striving to improve your old ways of working, instead focus on creating new better ones.
Designing Work For Wellbeing
The past months have shown us that many workers find that there is no longer a line between home and work. The traditional view on corporate wellbeing is no longer a realistic one.
A shift in thinking is needed. Instead of adding programs that sit alongside a company’s business, CHROs need to look for ways to make employee care an integral part of the business.
This requires some conscious design to ensure that an individual’s workday pushes them to care for themselves. This design should address physical, mental, financial, and social needs. The benefits of this sort of design are that it will increase the engagement of employees.
Standalone programmes can be easily ignored, integrated practice less so. Happier and more fulfilled employees are much more productive and engaged. There is a lot more value in happy employees, it is also much easier to attract new talent.
Building Diverse and Intelligent Teams
It’s well established that teams with more diversity are more successful at problem-solving, finding solutions and predicting outcomes. This translates directly to better financial performance for companies. So, similarly adding machine thinking to a team is another way to add an extra element of diversity, intelligence and agility.
The way that teams work has had to change. Technology is no longer a choice, it’s a necessity and simply using it as a means to talk to each other is missing the point. Correctly leveraged, adding technology to a team can improve everyone’s ability to learn, perform and create. The technology we use to connect our teams becomes an integral part of the team similar to other diversity elements like experience, education, gender, age etc.
Worker Led Skills Growth
The pandemic has seen workers roles evolving and changing. For some, their current position may have little resemblance to the one you hired them for. This evolution has brought to light a few important lessons.
When workers are given the agency to direct their growth and input, they are more engaged and make more significant progress. If workers are given the opportunities to align their interests with the company’s organisational needs, everyone benefits.
When you bring a new employee on board with your company, you are not only considering the value they bring with them, but the value you can nurture in them. When workers have control over this process and their development, they can reach a much higher level. If you currently have a prescriptive and overly structured training system, then you may be stifling your employees’ potential.
As the requirements for business are changing, so are the requirements for leadership changing as well. The earlier useful leadership strategies and practices are not bringing the results we would like to see in the world of the hybrid workforce and diverse teams and self-directed employees. The critical capability a leader has to have is the ability to be comfortable with the uncertainty and being uncomfortable.
Leaders have to be able to allow him/herself to be constantly challenged by the business environment and colleagues, and focus on making sure that every team and individual is enabled to succeed in their roles.
A New Role For HR
All the above means that the role of HR in companies is changing. It’s no longer a matter of standardising and enforcing policies. HR is better used as a means to re-design the way your company works. HR should be the department driving the agenda of putting human considerations at the forefront of work life. The understanding of human behaviour in an organizational context becomes more critical than the understanding of workflows and processes. It is time that behavioral sciences go hand-in-hand with business.
To address all the changes discussed here will take a lot of new ideas. Your whole company will need to envision a new way of working in a way that truly emphasises the human potential. Human resources have a significant role in setting the new leadership paradigm and driving the development holistically across the organization, to a level of the nitty-gritty.
To achieve this, your HR department must move from merely providing a function to having an impact.
HR shouldn’t be a process; it should be the leading edge of the mission to shift your company from survival to growth.