Article: How the future of work is dictating HR innovations

Strategic HR

How the future of work is dictating HR innovations

Innovations are the bedrock of creating future-ready practices. We look at some important evolving nature of work trends that will dictate the future of HR innovations.
How the future of work is dictating HR innovations

Rapid technological and organisational changes have shaped the post-pandemic business world. While going digital has become the norm, employee preferences and motivations have significantly altered. This has put pressure on talent management practices to evolve and ensure companies can hire, engage, and retain the right people. 

For HR teams across the globe, the past few years have been a period of innovation and constant upgrades to ensure the productivity and well-being of their employees. From using the right digital platforms to creating unique and relevant wellness programs, the ambit of HR innovations to support their business has been far-reaching. 

And these innovations play a crucial role in ensuring impact in light of the ever-evolving future of work. 

Innovations have been critical in enabling collaboration in the new world of work and have ensured people practices and technology are in sync to create the necessary workforce changes. Employees today are working in both asynchronous and synchronous work environments and face a growing business demand to upskill and collaborate to ensure productivity. On the other hand, employers are revamping their people practices to ensure a better, more cohesive work experience and robust talent management.

And while changes in the nature of modern-day work are bound to remain, innovations in how people work, connect, and collaborate will remain central to mitigating its disastrous impact on businesses.

Rise of employee-centricity

The early parts of the pandemic saw workforce trends like Great resignation grip the business ecosystem. A trend first noted in the US markets and then soon witnessed across the globe revealed employees were leaving in huge numbers, primarily driven by better opportunities and the search for better purpose and care. 

In a list of essential HR trends based on how the future of work is bound to evolve, Gartner noted that employee care would become central. For HR leaders, this would mean building a more human employer-employee relationship. Better EVP, a greater emphasis on linking employees' journeys with organisational goals and purpose, and creating spaces for employees' demands to be heard and valued, would require closer attention. 

Other factors, such as rising inflation, stiff talent competition, and evolving skill demands, will also require greater employee-centric innovations. "Attracting and retaining talent is one of the most important aspects for which the organisation must prepare," noted Deepti Moolya, Associate Director of People Practice, Happiest Minds Technologies, adding how with "persistent inflation, a tight labour market, and wage increases in the backdrop, the entire EVP (Employee Value Proposition) must be refined to address the talent shortage." In addition to relooking at EVP, Deepti pointed to other factors, such as job architecture to create multiple flexible job paths for employees and a culture of belongingness that will require HR innovations. 

The hybrid-remote work trend

While the shift to hybrid remained a significant change in work settings, its continued role in reshaping talent management practices has been pivotal. A recent Gartner report noted that across the globe, over 95% of HR leaders agree that remote work is here to stay. Moreover, with the hybrid being a critical factor in determining the future of work, HR leaders and practitioners are more aware of how they leverage the right tools and create inclusive strategies to ensure critical employee determinants like experience, engagement, and productivity do fall. 

For Manoj Shikarkhane, CHRO, L&T Infotech, work from home and a hybrid way of working is here to stay. "The most significant change that has transpired during the last few years is the way of working." he noted, adding that "while companies have rejoiced over gaining normalcy post the pandemic, the office scenario is yet to regain stability." Therefore, innovative practices are necessary to ensure collaboration and productivity in a hybrid world of work that remains geared toward success. "The success of HR in coming years will be defined by cutting-edge innovations that can shape employee experience and provide a seamless environment to aid delivery of highly competitive and cost-effective offerings to customers," added Manoj.

Innovations also need to support the workforce's behavioural and soft skills shifts that make hybrid work successful. "To prepare our workforce for delivering high levels of performances in this new era," noted Manoj, "a lot of unlearning needs to be done and the behavioural and soft skills required need to be re-evaluated and innovatively redesigned for a remote working scenario."

Additionally, HR leaders must pay close attention to the growing Return to Office (RTO) trend. While CEOs and leaders are apprehensive about working from home and increasingly want employees to return to the office, workplace flexibility is among the top priorities for employees in the country and the globe. Researchers have pointed to an increasing contention between employees and employers regarding returning to the office. Workplace innovations on capturing productivity and performance better would be crucial in helping ease the tension and help employees maintain their newfound work-life balance while enabling pacifying leadership doubts on productivity levels.

Well-being and Future of work

Employees today are increasingly exposed to both asynchronous and synchronous work modes. Over the past year, in the primarily remote work environment, employees have relied on video calls to collaborate, often resulting in back-to-back meetings and fatigue and putting them at risk for burnout. Reports already show HR leaders recognising this as a growing threat — with three out of four agreeing that an increase in the number of virtual touchpoints employees face in their work puts them at risk for burnout. 

While workplace innovations that accelerate productivity in a hybrid world remain the centre of attention, addressing employee well-being concerns is equally important. Microsoft's recent WTI showed well-being concerns being central to employee preferences and directly linked to employee engagement and satisfaction.

Building innovative wellness practices and supporting employee well-being across physical, emotional, social, and financial dimensions are necessary.

 

As the future of work evolves to take new shapes, old workplace policies and talent management practices need to evolve. While the use of HR tech has been on the rise since the pandemic, innovating to create relevant and impactful people practices is what would help companies stand apart from their competitors. In addition, access to skilled talent and the ability to retain employees in a world of changing business environments requires HR leaders to constantly stay ahead of the curve and ensure their employees remain engaged, healthy, and productive. 

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Topics: Strategic HR, #FutureOfWork, #Innovation

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