The shifts in the business environment have greatly accelerated over the past year. Modern-day work life including flexible timings and remote working options are magnified as the pandemic shifted established practices within the business ecosystem. For HR professionals, such changes over the past year have posed significant challenges. Ensuring the workforce can remain agile to keep up with the changing business requirements to meet learning and skilling needs, HR professionals have had to figure quick, sustainable solutions for such problems.
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This has led to the need for a new HR playbook.
In a recent virtual session organized by Adrenalin and People Matters, Ramanath Venkatraman, Ex Head of Learning, Noor Bank, highlighted how companies have been through an "unprecedented time” - which solidified the need for HR to evolve practices and update its armoury to help provide businesses with strategic assistance.
"Companies that see their employees as value centers and not cost centers will outperform their competitors across metrics like customer loyalty, employee engagement, and greater long term growth,” Venkatraman
Today, HR professionals are a major strategic partner within businesses as they undertake decisions in critical areas like workforce planning, talent development, and organizational transformation. Such decisions help companies future-proof their practices and create business agility. It enables them to adapt to rapid changes in the business ecosystem.
Although the pandemic has rapidly shifted the way we work and interact, it is important to note that it is not the sole cause of such change. Even before the spread of Covid-19, the HR world was undergoing rapid change. These drivers of HR transformation are imperative to be understood for the new HR playbook.
People as value centers
The shift to people-centric business process designs has been a growing focus among HR professionals and according to Venkatraman, the current business environment has led to its increased importance. A people-first approach helps HR professionals drive organizational values across different levels of the company and it helps facilitate articulate future-ready practices today.
"Companies that see their employees as value centers and not as cost centers will outperform their competitors across metrics like customer loyalty, employee engagement, and greater long term growth,” Venkatraman added, explaining that it's more important for HR practices to be people first than ever before.
Adopt ‘impactful’ digital systems
Digital capabilities have had a large role in reinvigorating HR's strategic decision making. Not only do intelligent AI and automated systems help free HR professionals from tedious administrative work, but it also helps them make data-backed talent decisions. This accelerating rate of digital adoption, one which research shows had grown substantially over the last year, has helped HR pivot from simply being a functional administrator to a strategic business partner. Many business practices that have helped companies weather the adverse business impact of the pandemic has been facilitated by the correct adoption of digital systems.
With talent requirements like collaboration, remote working, flexible work structure bound to grow in the future, adopting impactful digital systems remains an important focus area.
Future focused skilling
For HR professionals dealing with the effects of the pandemic has been a real test to help renew their focus on building a talent force with transferable skills. The rise of collaborative work and talent requirements with cross-functional working styles means companies require talent with the right skills. The last year has refreshed the skills that employers desire. Companies today are actively looking for talent that comes with cross-functional experience and can help make the business process agile. In the coming years, HR professionals will need to find the right technology solutions for their companies when it comes to finding them the future-ready talent.
Respond, recover, thrive
In the early months under the pandemic, organizations found themselves responding to the situation the best that they could. With the effects of the pandemic still waning, companies have slowly begun transitioning into a recovery phase by leveraging opportunities to not just survive, but thrive. Many of these changes have been predicated on the right HR business decisions.
Moving forward, Venkatraman notes, HR will play a major role in how businesses thrive. HR has to spot vulnerable gaps across value chains and ensure those are addressed with timely and effective learning and hiring decisions. A key part of the new HR playbook will be the rise in business-critical decisions the organizations have to make.