Guardians of employee well-being: The future HR
The HR function has come a long way in the past decade and continues to evolve in response to changing talent and business challenges. A notable change has been witnessed in how HR caters to employee wellness and how it has helped organizations developed an empathic relationship between the employee and employers instead of merely a transactional one. This trend has reaped benefits in the last few years, and healthy workplaces that cater to employee wellness have shown to be better at attracting and retaining quality talent. In the future, HR will continue down this road and promote a positive and enabling workplace for employees. Here are a few expected ways in which HR will achieve this goal.
Increase awareness and provide access to self-care resources
There is a global mental health crisis underway, and organizations will prioritize helping their employees once the discernable impact on the bottom line becomes more pronounced. HR will then focus on the mental well-being of the workforce by educating employees on how to prevent, identify, and manage issues like depression, anxiety, low-self esteem. Regular tests and screenings to gauge the psychological space of the workforce could become the norm, and HR could build employee and team-driven systems to identify such challenges preemptively.
Furthermore, expect a greater focus on sensitizing employees to increase their awareness and remove the stigma related to mental health problems. HR will, inadvertently, be responsible for building safe spaces for employees to perform their role to the best of their abilities and provide them with self-care tools and resources. In other words, to inculcate mindfulness in the workforce, HR will have to go beyond the annual retreat and make avenues and programs that not only support team building but also provide employees with emotional and psychological strength to deal with an increasingly uncertain world.
Walk the talk on work-life harmony
Without a doubt, the concept of work-life balance has been at the forefront of talent and people management in the last decade. While some new and old organizations have taken the leap and devised flexible work models, many continue to demand frustratingly long work hours from their employees. In the near future, HR will have to build new and innovative work models that walk the talk on work-life balance and provide employees with ample time to disconnect from their work.
HR will have to walk the extra mile to seamlessly accommodate a diverse workforce, with varying expectations, into the organization’s culture by providing them with the flexibility to maintain a healthy work-life balance. From four day workweeks to encouraging employees to take a vacation, employers and HR will have to find newer ways to support employees in their quest to live a healthy and stress-free life.
Build a fair, inclusive, and equitable workplace
Finally, in order to ensure the holistic well-being of their employees, organizations will have to design a fair, merit-based, and inclusive workplace that rewards success, and if possible, progress. Rather than treating all employees the same, HR will have to devise management policies and frameworks that take into account the individuality of employees. For example, it is somewhat futile to evaluate an innately introvert employee on collaboration or team spirit. Modern workplace culture and management, will thus, allow individuals to simply be themselves while working, without being forced to follow a specific code, practice, or process.
Similarly, a complete overhaul of employee rewards and recognition practices is likely to be underway soon. The recognition process will become much more transparent and objective and encourage people from all levels to collaborate. This becomes even more critical in today’s volatile business environment as a healthy workplace allows new talent and perspectives to solve new-age challenges innovatively. An equitable workplace and culture will help recognize people for their effort, creativity, innovation, and initiative, thus, elevating motivation, making employees feel valued, and simply being more committed.
It would be fair to say that organizations realize the significance of ensuring employee wellness and are willing to build a workplace that allows employees to put their best foot forward. This willingness will be tested soon, and HR will play a vital role in balancing employee expectations with business objectives by designing workplace systems and policies that ensure a mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy workforce.