2021 and 2022: What changed and what to expect?
The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed every sector in business and the way people work today. The new normal and the pace of technology adoption have accelerated the process of adaptation in organizations and given birth to new HR practices in people management.
From exploring the realities and possibilities of remote working to having a blended workforce, the HR industry has witnessed trends that are considerably different from last year. HR teams have been leading from the front in ensuring employee well-being, and revising and fine tuning processes to ensure that employees feel connected and engaged.
L&D formats at organizations have changed considerably to stay relevant to current realities by optimizing the mix of virtual and face-to-face learning methodologies that suit their needs the best. Online capsules have converted face to face training into on-demand audio-visual capsules illustrating the use of organisational products, creating interactive FAQ content, building in summaries, assessment sheets and online help as required to create a seamless atmosphere for learning, clearing doubts, recapping the learnings and assessing the knowledge.
The next big change has been in managing employee wellbeing. With empathy and care being two strong pillars in managing the pandemic, at Healthium, we have maintained a holistic approach to keep the physical safety, financial protection and mental well- being of employees in mind.
We have not only provided financial assistance with additional COVID cover insurance, revision in Mediclaim and GPA policies, rolling out EDLI to cover the families of employees affected by COVID, but also declared a compensation package for the family in case of an employee’s sad demise, Employees were further incentivized with promotions, bonuses and increment pay outs to recognize their courage and dedication in serving hospitals by seamlessly manufacturing and delivering essential medical devices despite the pandemic and its challenges.
Being part of the Healthcare sector, we have had the benefit of our team of in house doctors counselling employees as well as creating awareness and acceptance for vaccines at our production facilities where we had arranged several vaccination drives with local authorities to have our staff and families vaccinated.
Keeping employee morale high through the year by increasing Senior management engagement both physically and virtually in checking on employee health, hybrid formats for Annual Rewards & recognition gala, celebrating festivals in hybrid formats and promoting family engagement through virtual cultural programmes helped in mitigating operational roadblocks and addressing the social impact of the pandemic.
Key trends to look forward to in 2022
- Continued focus on a Hybrid Work Culture: As the economy is moving towards recovery with markets and offices opening up, organisations are coming up with their unique hybrid work models having both sets of employees, those working from home and others from office. Creating a sense of belongingness at the workplace remains crucial for employees’ motivation.
- Digital transformation and a Technology-driven HR: Focus on Investments in digital technology and digitized business processes will continue. The concept of remote working, interviewing and hiring will only get further reinforced. The application of AI in HR functions to make lives easier, remains key. AI and automation are deemed to play a vital role in boosting the productivity of processes in organizations.
- Reskilling Practices in Organizations: Considering the competitive landscape, organisations need greater transparency, agility and resilience at the workplace. The transition at work requires a specialised skill set in the workforce to adapt to a digitally driven world while upskilling will continue to play a vital role in augmenting new skill sets for employees in the organizational setup.
- Career Development and Succession Planning: Understanding an employee’s life stage in an organization and delivering a unique employee experience is imperative as the work environment has changed. HR leaders have to look deep into the aspirations of employees and meet their changing expectations at an organizational level.
- Improving Employee Experience: As per the 2021 Benefits Trends Survey, 68 percent of companies in India offer market competitive benefits, only 43 percent address the individual needs of the workforce and 32 percent offer significant flexibility and choice. The war for talent will heighten focus on diversity, equity, inclusion and rising costs of employee benefits, thus creating pressure on Indian companies to revamp their employee experience strategies.
High focus on employee wellbeing
In an industry like essential services, the burnout rate continues to be high, as employees work round the clock to aid in the timely distribution of medical devices and consumables, especially since the pandemic. This is an industry where all are expected to be at work and therefore the stress on the workforce has quadrupled. In such a scenario, the priority placed on employee health and physical and mental well-being remains a crucial element, a trend that will continue as organisations find more effective ways to keep employees energised and happy.