The role of human resource professionals is being stretched, broken apart and glued together here and now, as the new world of work still takes its own time to settle down. Team synergy, productivity-increasing brainstorms and wellness activities are still part of the company strategy .. yet the human touch is still missed?
In an interaction with InterGlobe’s Head HR K.S Bakshi, the points that came up ranged from the trending aspect of new workplace strategies, the relevance of a four-day work week in Asia and much more. The responses are from the excerpts of the interview, below:
The trend of new workplace arrangements
The last two years have had a lasting impact on the future of work. Companies must evaluate the new workplace arrangement trends for immediate and long-term effects and the degree to which they will change strategic goals and plans. Many companies now want more employees to come back to work. The most significant benefit to returning to the office is the improved connection with co-workers, which can lead to more effective brainstorming, increased productivity, and team synergy. Beyond this, we have seen a decline in employee exhaustion and burnout. They are more productive and have improved their time management.
Four-day workweek schedule - one size doesn’t fit all.
A four-day work week may work well for some employers and employees in specific sectors, but not all. While this new initiative could improve employees’ well-being and relook at what productivity means for them, “I believe that the companies in Asia might not be fully ready for this concept because of the widespread culture of long working hours that is prevalent here.”
While a few countries like Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, and Japan are testing out the new model, it's still too soon to draw any firm conclusions. In the post-COVID scenario, some companies are even finding it challenging to get employees back to the workplace, especially among millennials who prefer the flexibility of remote working. Given this, companies must evaluate well the pros and cons before transitioning to a four-day workweek.
Tackling disruptive development in new workplace arrangements
The core concepts of talent management have not changed despite the COVID-19 pandemic and other disruptive advances in today's modern workplaces. Even though digitisation has taken centre stage, CHROs still have a responsibility to keep the lines of communication open with our employees and find balance with technology.
To stay ahead in the talent strategy, we need to bring back the human touch and ensure adherence to the core values & culture of the organisation. This could be accomplished by -
- A balance between digital & one-on-one communication: we can't forget that we're talking to real people, not computers and machines. People and their contributions can be immense if provided with the right platform and guidance.
- Constant Communication: It's important to always talk to and understand your employees. Communication helps bridge the gap between management and its employees and brings them closer together.
- Listen and Pay Attention to your People: Predictive analytics would need data to predict things about your employees. On the other hand, being a good listener could save the day for you. This is why management should always listen to their employees and their opinions
- Customisation for heightened employee experience: We live in the era of customisation & personalisation since everyone has a different preference. Today’s workforce consists of a mix of Gen-Z and millennials and their aspirations and goals might not match the rest of the employees. So, to attract the best talent, HR leaders need to understand employees' diverse goals and desires and tailor their employee management solutions accordingly.
- Culture of Inclusion: Fostering a sense of belonging and valuing diversity by hiring people from diverse backgrounds and valuing different ways of thinking has proven to be an asset for organisations. When an employee feels valued and heard, it goes a long way toward making their experience a good one.
Top technology trends that can help adapt to modern workplaces
Top technology trends that will catch up fast as organisations adapt to the new world of work are:
- Increased use of AI and automation
- Promoting digital competency in the space of learning and development and talent management
- Leverage data to transform internal support
- Strengthening the Reward & Recognition program (digital and otherwise)
Few words of advice to the HR community
It is essential that HR evolves and transforms across every element of the HR lifecycle to meet a new set of organisational needs. Take steps to restructure your workforce, while managing all the risks that come with it, to boost productivity and employee engagement.
In the new normal, organisations must change how they find and keep talent. They may lose talent if they don't adapt to the new talent landscape.
While organisations build new work arrangement strategies, they must pay attention to employee wellbeing. When people choose flexible work hours or remote working, the lines between work and free time seem to blur. This often leads to long hours, burnout, and exhaustion.