The year 2021 comes with a redefined role, objective, and vision for the Human Resource (HR) leaders across sectors. With the pandemic giving a huge surge to the digital transformation journey in most companies, it has become imperative for HR leaders to ensure all employees are in tune with the changes and amendments implemented by the organization. The vulnerability and alterations brought by 2020 is setting up 2021 for a year of positive and constructive transformation.
Technology – reinventing Human Resource Management (HRM)
To boost employee productivity and engagement, the adoption of technological advancements like automation, artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT) and machine learning (ML) are being immeasurably integrated at the core HR processes. The Deloitte research on robotic and intelligent automation says that two thirds, that is 68%, of business leaders adopted automation to respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When it comes to hiring or reskilling, the integration of human intelligence and AI will lead to a seamless process and productive work environment. AI-augmented decisions will be real time and close to accuracy, as it follows specific set of algorithms and computing techniques. The urgency to revamp HRM processes with the adoption of technology is becoming essential for a predictive workforce and candidate experience.
Companies invest time and money in the upskilling and reskilling of their employees with a larger vision to benefit the organization and the professional growth of the employees. AI takes a huge step here as well. The integration of AI with the HRM processes is aiding the business leaders to analyze resources and then advise training module based on their requirements and job roles. AI modeled HRM software gathers employee data and gives an intelligent summary on the training required, so that the HR team can take a call accordingly.
The future will be hybrid
The year 2020 was a year of remote working. Most companies are working towards making the new normal more efficient. This has pushed the business leaders to be innovative in introducing ways and techniques to make remote working more productive.
Hybrid working model is difficult, or is it? The advances in the communication technology like the mobile phones, laptops, and internet access had given rise to teleworking even before the pandemic hit. The year 2020 brought about a significant change in how working from home was earlier perceived and proved that remote working can be productive too. This in fact, has changed the outlook of HR leaders and has encouraged them to rethink HR strategies.
The pandemic only accelerated the HR transformations that were underway through the last decade. It has impacted in a way that now companies are even aligning benefits and policies to suit the new normal that is, remote/ hybrid working models. These changes are also prompting HR and business leaders to foster and cultivate a culture of flexibility. This may come with its own set of challenges. With the right motivation and techniques, employees will become more adaptable, the business will be more robust, and the culture will continue to stay alive.
Life experiences > employee experiences
The prolonged lockdowns, restrictions and isolations have caused increased stress levels in many, impacting the overall mental health of individuals. The same has been observed in the corporate setup too. To cope and help employees come out of such struggles, it is becoming vital for managers and business leaders to go beyond professional conversations with their employees or colleagues. According to Gartner’s 2020 ReimagineHR Employee Survey, 23% of employees reported better mental health and 17% reported better physical health as an effect of deeper and friendly relationships among colleagues. Employers who support their people more holistically realize a 21% increase in high performers, reports Gartner. Therefore, in the year 2021 and beyond, HR leaders will invest more time in understanding their employees and have focused initiatives to promote mental health and wellbeing, in addition to other collaborative tools.
Driving diversity, inclusion and belonging
Diversity, inclusion, and belonging has been a hot topic in the sector. However, it has become a key priority for the HR leaders to invest more time and money as it helps organizing a positive workforce and for bringing strategic business development to the table. The goodwill and recognition of a company as a healthy workplace has made it important to be more conversant to the need for continued education around diversity and inclusion. Today the opportunity to build a larger diverse workforce is important because it is no more restricted by geographic limitations, as work from home is gaining more momentum. The definition of ‘diversity’ is now enlarging mainly on measurable demographic traits like race, gender, and ethnicity; and acknowledging the importance of the intersection of identities on the employee experience.
Amidst the lockdowns, isolation and excessive work demands, the role of HR has evolved. 2020 was a year that witnessed new innovations despite the limitations, promoted more inclusivity despite no physical connect, and enhanced quality of work despite no direct supervision. In simple words, the pandemic has prepared us for the worst and has helped boarding ideas and initiatives that will lead us to a much-prepared 2021. With HR being no exception, most companies took prompt actions to tackle the adversely affected section of the business and are preparing to reinvent HRM for the unforeseeable future in 2021. With no physical contact, HR’s role to connect with employees through the help of technology will be the key driving factor in the times ahead.