The Role of HR Leaders in Navigating Through the Pandemic And Beyond

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The second quarter of the year 2020 started with the Covid-19 pandemic which had severe economic and social consequences across the globe and left no industry unaffected. The impact of the pandemic on the health, economy, and the market is an unfolding story that is complex and fluid in every manner. The biggest visible impact of the virus includes how it changed the way organizations work and the nature of workplaces. As the COVID-19 spread increasingly across the globe, one nation after the other declared lockdowns and organizations had to scramble to comply with lockdown restrictions while striving to keep operations going remotely. For HR leaders, the only way to make this possible was to quickly adapt to work from home.

As the HR leaders made their way into the spotlight, by demonstrating agility and flexibility, they also played the main role in transforming the brick and mortar offices into virtual workplaces nearly overnight.

How did HR leaders emerge as the trusted leadership voices during the pandemic?

The HR professionals emerged as the trusted voice in leading organizations through the pandemic and worked shoulder to shoulder with the managers and executives to navigate the pathway. By all accounts, COVID-19 created a make or break situation for HR. To formulate effective business strategies for this year, organizations must look back on 2020 to determine the decisions that worked and the ones that didn’t. It’s time for HR to rethink and adapt to the latest trends including improved employee experience and recruiting. These areas have significant importance and will even create brand-new HR roles in 2021.

Despite all the changes being presented to employees and employers, remote work is here to stay. Organizations also need to ensure flexibility as 70% of the workforce demands at least one day per week with no zoom meetings to help elevate the fatigue.

What should be the next step for HR professionals?

With this digital transformation, HR professionals must consider how organizations can be restructured to capitalize on the remote workforce. Even though the degree to which the organizational construction will look different in 2021 is unknown, reinvention and innovation are certain in many ways. At such a crucial time when employees have to adapt to many new things so quickly, HR will need to plan with employee well-being at the forefront.

Consequently, HR leaders are tasked with creating policies that prioritize mental health and flexibility while still maintaining workforce productivity in an entirely new setting. Fostering a healthy work-life balance to support the mental and physical health of employees will be the key. Likewise, HR will be required to revisit the company’s purpose and value so that they can reinvent them if they aren’t strong enough to make sure the employees feel good about where they work.

With such an elevated employee experience and purposeful culture of connection, recruiting is yet again set to thrive in 2021.

How much our leaders can leverage the 2021 HR trends

COVID-19 has transformed the world overnight but many of the changes it brought are here to stay even after the threat of the virus isn’t over. Now that employees have gotten used to working remotely, they’ll continue to look for remote options more than ever before and they will want to feel a connection to their employer at the same time.

The change will look different for every organization and the role of HR to lead the people to send it changes taking place in 2021 will be of great importance. Increased remote work, shifted focus on employee experience, and making health aren’t the trends that will fade in time. They are the outright shares that require a permanent adoption by organizations. As 2021 rolls on, companies no longer have the luxury to sit back and see what they can learn from the way others in the industry react. It’s time for organizations to embrace change, learn what employees require then double down on those initiatives.