COVID-19 has put us through uncommon difficulties that many did not think of at the beginning of this year. These unprecedented crises has put HR in the frontline to deal with issues relating to work, workforce, and the workplace. A common approach is emerging in response of HR leaders across the globe. Most HR leaders have resorted to a three-step approach to deal with the pandemic i.e. respond, recover, and grow.
For most HR leaders the short-term strategy was to respond, the mid-term strategy to recover and the long-term strategy to grow. Whilst most organizations are still in the respond or recover stage, the practical approach for HR is still to’ think short-term and move forward one step at a time. The COVID-19 required an unusual response from HR leaders and the organizations depending significantly to re-organize work, workforce, and the workplace. There are substantial changes in ways of working due to reorganization which is leading to new learning and a “new normal” for organizations. Adopting and growing with the new normal will once again put the spotlight on HR. HR leaders need to identify key priorities for the next 12 to 24 months to effectively help organizations navigate through this pandemic.
The new normal may not be entirely here yet. Many countries across the globe are experiencing the beginning of a second wave of COVID-19. Looking at the situation, it looks like HR leaders will have to adjust with shifting priorities & plan with multiple scenarios.
Let us look at some of the key changes which are likely in the workplace in the next 12 to 24 months. These changes may be the new normal in the future & HR will need to be prepared to respond.
1) Remote Working : Employees were quick to learn how to work from home. Remote working will remain popular amongst large number of professionals even after the pandemic. This will force organizations to respond. HR will have to look for ways to engage and manage remote workers and overall organizational productivity.
2) Remote Learning : E-Learning will remain popular over the next couple of years and onwards, not just among kids but also for working adults. With changes in work models & reorganization the need for organizational learning will grow faster. HR will need to rework the learning & development experience for employees and ensure learning remains effective.
3) Rapid Upskilling & Reskilling : Employees will need to be prepared to deal with constantly and abruptly changing environments. Quick adoption of advanced technology will be the key to success for organizations in the coming years. This will require HR to evaluate resource allocation regularly and rapidly reskill or upskill employees to move from one part of the business to another.
4) Evolving Leadership Competencies : The COVID-19 has shocked economies across the world. Leaders are faced with unprecedented challenges to lead with the new normal. New technologies, remote workforce & client management are amongst top challenges faced by leaders. Organizations with strong leadership will sustain and standout in the future and HR will be at the centre to develop the future leadership competencies.
5) Agile Working : The shockwaves of this pandemic has shown organizations how to move faster and work in more agile ways. COVID-19 is forcing both the speed and scale of workplace innovation. HR Leaders are now finding more agile ways for organizations through new working models, cost optimization, compensation restructuring, up-skilling employees, redeployment of resources to build stability and sustainability for the coming years.