These are interesting times that we are living in. Plenty has been said about digital transformation in response to these unprecedented times and it is no different when it comes to the HR department. With the outbreak of COVID-19, HR teams all over the world are trying to put together an extensive and people-first response to the crisis, all while dealing with a surplus in flow of information, minimising disruption of day-to-day business operations and limiting the worries of their terrified workforce.
The lockdown has heralded a paradigm shift in what has come to be the ‘new normal’ - overnight transitions from offices to virtual workplaces intensified the urgency for digitization of the HR role, which was indeed absent from so many business organisations before the global health crisis. The primary areas of focus in which HR has been involved can generally be divided into two main categories:
Digital transformation or the automation of HR processes
Business continuity planning
Digital transformation is accelerating - and in many scenarios, enterprises are struggling to keep up. The evolving technology and need to automate is advancing faster than the HR can upskill or recruit employees, making critical HR functions difficult. It drastically disrupted the HR functions with major impacts expected to percolate into the post-COVID scenario by throwing light on the need to be prepared and be resilient for long-term survival for both the corporates and the employees.
Turning an HR crisis into an opportunity
We are all aware of the cost-cutting and the negative impact of COVID on the job market owing to business continuity strategic plans. But I would like to steer away from those and talk about some of the welcoming changes that opened doors to new opportunities in the job market- especially in the IT sector.
The WFH model has been welcomed with open hands by the employees of the IT sector- the new way of work has encouraged homemakers to join back in the workforce, allowing them to balance work and family. I hope to see an increase in women's contribution to national growth after COVID as a result of WFH. WFH has also shed the geo-location barriers, now small town aspirants have equal job opportunities in big metro cities. This is how the job market dynamics are changing in and after COVID-19. But this is one aspect that we can elaborate over some other day.
Amidst all the humdrum, the disruption of operations led firms to rely extensively on technology for a wide range of day-to-day functions that not only ensure the employees productivity and continuity of work but also tools that make critical HR, IT, and Finance operations efficient. That’s right, custom HR innovations - virtual onboarding, workforce hiring, upskilling employees, assessing performance, gauging employees’ sentiment and making remote working pleasant.
A quick google search can tell you that the most in-demand job running into 2020 is Software Development. But the talent pool relatively short supplied with software developers has forced the employers to turn towards their existing talent, empowering them to become ‘citizen developers’ or users who create business applications by using IT sanctioned tools.
With these accessible tech tools, the barrier to entry (for app development) has gone down and the HR managers are at an interesting juncture to source and cultivate skills the organization needs to thrive. Luckily, this has become increasingly accessible with no-code and low-code platforms that make process automation and innovation more accessible to employees irrespective of their technical inclination, further giving rise to some great tools delivered by the most non-technical but business-sound employee.
The pandemic has underscored how numerous firms are steadily increasing investments into HR technology, recognizing the need for flexibility and agility in their business models. From the employee’s perspective, it translates to the fact that corporates are increasingly seeking an agile and flexible workforce with broader skill sets.
Witnessing the low-code revolution
But it does not just stop at that; these HR executives/Talent acquisition heads themselves face to pick up these low-code tools to quickly launch the digital tools needed for digital transformation in their own roles.
Low-code platforms enable business users or developers to create solutions at speed, without having to write multiple lines of code and they can tackle various business disruption scenarios amid the coronavirus crisis. Low-code empower organisations by overcoming the unavailability of expert developers, huge development timelines and cost amid the adverse circumstances.
We have seen a surge in the adoption of apps for some of the use-cases of HR amid the crisis period for business continuity. Some of them are:
- Virtual hiring and recruitment: Businesses have adopted virtual interviewing softwares to hire candidates. Many businesses who have already adopted teleconferencing technologies were already ahead in the curve of better managing their business during disruption.
- Onboarding: After recruitment, traditional onboarding practices have been replaced by virtual onboarding robust apps to work in an increasingly digital workplace.
- Training and development: To impart training to the newly hired candidates and existing employees, traditional development centres have been replaced by virtual development centres to execute succession planning and put skilling and reskilling on the fast track without hampering scalability.
We have seen pressing cases like Virtual new employee onboarding, virtual development centres, performance management, gamified recruiting, leadership training as well as everyday HR processes like Timesheet, WFH Leave Management and Attendance Apps. [give our newly recruited employees a hassle-free and immersive onboarding experience.]
Setting stage for a new beginning
Although digitalization was seen as a forward-looking goal for companies in the pre-COVID period, it has now become an imperative step that is necessary to propel businesses forward into this new normal.
Organizations are in an imperative need to re-imagine their talent landscape, particularly their talent recruitment strategy to sail over the current crisis in addition to plan for the future. HR managers and leaders are relying on low-code technology that can accommodate the massive shift that has resulted in new ways of doing things, changing work roles and manoeuvring a dynamic recruitment market.
It may take quite some time post-COVID-19 for economic reboot and operating business. The new normal may necessitate businesses to change their job market strategies along with the changing complexities of the work environment.
Post-pandemic era will become a testament to a new start, organisations surviving this battle will derive advantage from a retooled and renewed HR. The entire lifecycle of employees will experience restructuring and transformation, paving the way for an agile and streamlined HR solutions that will lead businesses towards continuing success.