With the disruption caused by the COVID 19 pandemic, the HR function has stumbled upon a number of new opportunities and challenges. It’s been a time to test radical ideas – such as a complete work from home operability, adapting to a new pace of change and testing hitherto untested methods of engagement and driving workplace culture.
In a conversation about the shifts in the world of HR, Sola Osinoiki, Senior Director – Global People Technology, Naspers and Catherine Chia, CHRO, StarHub spoke about the various workplace practices, shifts and possible new areas of collaboration at TechHR 2020.
Here are a few key takeaways:
1. Give yourself the permission to rest: Working from home has allowed a number of companies to test the feasibility of a workplace model that is entirely driven remotely. While this has enabled business as usual, it has also been a rough few months for employees to get work done. Extended long hours of work, and virtual meetings have blurred professional and personal spaces. In this context, the HR function needs to impress upon employees - the need to take rest when needed. Taking care of your employees is critical to the business.
2. Digitize, people will adapt: One of the key lessons for the HR function is that employees and organizations will adapt, when circumstances demand change. HR should not take ‘No’ for an answer, Catherine said. The mandate to digitize HR is in line with digitizing business operations and ultimately, digitization is a road to greater accountability, empowerment, self-service.
3. Focus on the human touch is much needed: Even as the world of work went digital, the pandemic has given HR professionals an opportunity to reflect on the human touch points that need to be enabled. How can one enable one-on-one human connection remotely? What are the kinds of conversations that need to happen from a leader? And how can you identify and engage passive employees?
4. Refresh your workplace practices: While digitizing workplace practices helps align employees at scale, the exercise should not become mechanical. It is useful to leverage tools to regularly undertake pulse surveys and employee dipsticks with the goal of refreshing your policies and practices.
There’s been a permanent shift not just in the work and workplace, but also the mindset of employees and leaders. There’s now a realization that businesses are equipped to quickly pivot when needed, and employees need more hands-on support on health and wellness, companies need to invest in their digital infrastructure – or they risk being left behind. As a hybrid model of work – that accommodates both remote and office goers, the HR function needs to be bold in reimagining work in the next decade.