The last decade has brought about abundant changes in HR management. The rise of the gig economy, the growth of artificial intelligence, and a continuous plunge towards enhancing diversity. And, as of last year, a global pandemic, that has completely changed the business and redefined the working techniques. This arises the most basic question, what is the future of the HR industry?
2020 was a frantic year as companies all across the world scrambled to stay on their toes due to the Covid-19 pandemic. If the past year has taught us anything important, it’s that organizations show don’t adapt according to the new needs will bite the dust soon enough. This includes strategizing a digital market that will stick for the long haul but also addresses important areas such as people-centric issues.
Making industry shifts is essential to keep at par with the rapid changes taking place, especially in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. Keeping that in mind, we have amalgamated the trends that the HR industry 2021 is going to see post-pandemic.
Remote Work Is Here To Stay
One of the trends that were abrupt but stuck throughout 2020 and the first half of 2021 is working remotely, and now that the companies have seen the advantages associated with it, it is surely here to stay. It is much better than the traditional work process and entails various advantages like being worker-centric and flexible. From the government imposing lockdown to organizations shifting their work base remotely from home, the working industry has changed astoundingly.
Many companies have decided to make this change of work routine permanent. For example, Twitter has given its employees the flexibility of working from home forever (provided their work doesn’t require them to be present in the office such as cleaners). While we can’t expect all the companies to give the flexibility of remote working as not all are equipped to do so. But is essential that they at least introduce a hybrid work schedule where employees can work from home and office alternately.
A default consequence of more and more people working from home is the thrust for HR managers to rethink their strategies. Processes like hiring and onboarding have changed forever. Earlier all the HR activities, right from performance reviews to even letting an employee go, used to be done in person. Every company should re-strategize its HR functions to keep up with the digital era. Likewise, employee management is also changing. When employees are in offices, it is easy for managers to keep a tab on their working hours. Bu ever since the work-from-home trend has begun, knowing what people are up to at all times, has become impossible for the company. HRs will have to come up with innovative trends, such as integrating tracking software in employees’ laptops or phones from which they can punch in to let HR know where they are working. But this process needs to be handled sensitively, as even though people are working from home, they don’t want their company to assume they are available 24*7.
Additionally, since now there are no water coolers or café where employees can hang around and discuss their days with each other or brainstorm ideas, a new trend needs to be introduced to boost creativity. HRs should make sure that Zoom meetings are not just for discussing daily work, but to also exchange ideas. Various companies have already made use of online tools to maintain socializing, such as introducing virtual lunch or happy hours, where everyone can bond online. Daily departmental check-ins have become very common and essential since there is no other way to know everyone’s work timings and performance graphs. In the coming year, companies might need to re-evaluate the way through which they used to handle performance appraisals.
Enhancing Employee Experience
To explore employee interaction and changing landscape, let’s imagine the world that existed pre-pandemic. Let’s take, for instance, Priya joins your company. She goes through all the interview rounds and gets selected. On the first day in her company, her onboarding and orientation process takes place. She enters the office and is greeted by her new co-workers. She finds her new laptop on her desk, decorated for her first day. Later in the day, her manager introduces her to everyone through a team lunch or get-together.
Now imagine today’s world, would Priya have had the experience if all these processes would have been online? Will she be able to develop a bond with her manager and co-workers without in-person coffees, lunch, and water-cooler gossips? HRs now have to re-evaluate and redesign the virtual processes to enhance the employee experience. Elements like well-being, work-life balance, collaboration, and connection will be essential both for the optimization of business results and employee satisfaction. Just as organizations continue to experiment with more informal techniques for socialization and team-building, the world may see a higher percentage of formalized online partnerships and connections being created globally.
For instance, conferences now provide online networking opportunities. Online buddy-system can be used by new joiners to help them connect to other employees. Such initiative lets employees realize that they are more than just a mere person working in a vacuum alone, but rather they are a part of a much greater team.
Embracing The Millennial Life
In the past decade, people have researched a lot on what distinguishes the generations. Millennials and other generations, i.e., X, Y, and Z generations have been poked and prodded to realize the differences, but the results still remain slim. In fact, the studies show that the work-life ethics differences between the generations were assumed to be vast, whereas that is not the case at all.
What people want from their lives are the same, irrespective of the generation, such as good leadership skills, a purpose, and professional growth. Every individual has different thinking and different need, which might not necessarily be related to their generation. Therefore, the HR management in companies should focus on individual employees’ values, interests, and inspirations, rather than judging them as a group.
Whenever new HR trends are discussed, analytics always come up. Integrating people analytics has been helpful for many companies, yet, their apt result lacks clarity. There are ways through which companies can up their analytics game, some of them are-
- Measure important data- It is not surprising that any HR department tracks a lot of data, but many times they leave out the most crucial ones. A key talent that is required for any managerial role is leadership, and sadly HR tracks very minute data regarding that. Other talents also need more focus, such as performance management and training and development. Measuring value-added data will surely benefit the company and yield more returns by focusing on problem areas.
- Redesign Systems- The fact the HR management has little data on such important topics, is a clear indication that the HR system lacks new strategies. Systems need to be redesigned to concentrate more on the aspects that drive up the business. This can be done by integrating software that is point-based or by conducting regular surveys.
- HRBP responsibilities- The key point of failure for any company is usually not their people analytics team, but HR Business partners, who fail to leverage extracted data to their benefit. HRBPs should be trained to use these important data to help the company grow.
Wrapping up the HR management trends in 2021 last but not least is the need for a goal-driven organization. With work-from-home not going away anytime soon, companies are fearing reduced productivity and engagement. An employee won’t feel motivated to work unless their company makes them feel so.
Therefore, organizations should make sure that even with employees working from home, their dedication towards the company’s goals and purpose is not lost. The company values need to be regularly emphasized. Though remote working has made it harder, HR management can still make it happen by conducting webinars or virtual conferences to keep reminding people to stay aligned with the company’s vision.
None of us could have predicted the long-lasting disruption that would be caused due to the pandemic. But now that we are ready to face the reality, we know it’s not going away anytime soon. 2021 is going to revolve around everyone finding a middle ground to work comfortably and efficiently. The old practices have gone out the window, and HR management now is all about adopting new techniques to ace the processes in the digital and online world.
To know more about how the pandemic has affected employee engagement, read our Pocket HRMS blogs here.