As we approach the ominous milestone of living with Coronavirus for two years, we are all acutely aware that things seem to be improving. The global pandemic has brought a lot of uncertainty across all sectors; however, HR in particular has seen many changes and was forced to quickly respond to a wide range of workplace issues.
Human Resources departments have led their organisations through an unprecedented pandemic. They’ve had to create return to work plans quickly, modify hybrid working policies, manage furlough schemes, and ensure that remote work models function well for all employees. However, with covid restrictions lifting around the world, 2022 could very well be the year that the HR community can return to a sense of normality and transition to being proactive instead of reactive.
For the past two years, HR’s primary role has been to adapt to the constantly changing world of work. Many HR professionals proved to be highly resilient and adaptable in an effort to shift operations due to the covid-19 crisis. As a result of the events that took place throughout 2020 and 2021, key stakeholders and business leaders have realised the irrefutable value of HR. They have been at the heart of mobilising organisations and guiding them through the turmoil and aftermath of the pandemic. HR has been elevated, and no one has an issue with it having representation at the right levels of leadership.
As organisations continue to navigate the post-pandemic landscape, the evolving role of Human Resources departments will give way to transforming the workplace and mapping out the future of work. Following the Great Resignation period, the job market is still highly candidate-driven. This has made talent acquisition a top organisational priority. Human Resources teams must zero in on employee acquisition and retention strategies and create a corporate image and culture that captivates current and prospective employees.
However, due to the reactive nature of the last few years, HR teams have not been able to keep up with the pace of change. Within HR functions, skills and capabilities need to be re-assed to accommodate new working models and emerging technologies. 2022 will be an opportunity to future-proof your business by revitalising current teams, recruiting for gaps in your current workforce, and implementing effective development plans for each staff member.
Another area of change to consider in the year to come is technology within HR and its influence on the HR landscape. The past two years are a testament to the fact that digital tools present an opportunity to break new ground for HR operations. One thing we have certainly seen over the pandemic is that it’s ok to rapidly implement digital tools. We don’t need to wait forever to roll out learnings around each new piece of tech before we turn them on. People learn how to use them pretty quickly.
You will need to keep on top of the array of new and evolving HR, TA and Learning technologies that have been brought to light by the increase in hybrid working. From virtual onboarding and meetings to people analytics and artificial intelligence across HR and talent acquisition, remote and hybrid teams can capitalise on emerging technologies to enhance their current capabilities. These technologies will be critical to the future of the workplace.
Within the world of learning and employee development, there are countless technologies that will influence operations. These include microlearning and AI-powered online coaching. In addition, there are also new intuitive tools for discovery; digital employee surveys, for example, can help with employee wellbeing and employee satisfaction by providing insight into happiness, productivity, and engagement.
These are of course broad strokes, on what are incredibly nuanced and complicated HR changes that will continue to evolve in the coming years. 2022 has the potential to be a line in the sand for the development of HR functions. This year can set the tone for how every HR function interacts with their respective business’ in the future.