The changing landscape for HR
Before COVID-19, HR's most pressing challenge was recruiting highly skilled candidates. As the pandemic unfolded, professionals were faced with a host of new priorities. From navigating furloughs to looking out for employee wellbeing during a public health crisis, HR teams adapted to the new demands brought on by unprecedented times.
HR teams can expect to play an equally pivotal role as your organization prepares for a post-COVID-19 future. Leaders will turn to HR to drive employee experience and look out for your peoples' needs holistically. As workforces decentralize, next-generation technology will be fundamental to every successful HR strategy.
During 2020 alone, 74% of organizations reported plans to increase spending on HR technology to address pressing talent needs and bridge existing gaps. By taking advantage of digital channels, HR teams can support your colleagues as they adapt to your post-pandemic reality.
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6 challenges that every HR leader must prioritize
The transition to a post-COVID-19 future will be a major turning point for every enterprise. HR teams can play an influential role in shaping your organization's success by keeping the following challenges top of mind:
#1. Remote work is here to stay
The move to remote work shows no signs of slowing down. 48% of global employees are projected to work from home at least part-time following the pandemic. Based on the same predictions, 19% of workers will telecommute permanently, a rate that is nearly double what it is was before COVID-19. For many organizations, remote work is a win-win: nearly three out of four CFO's express interest in its cost savings potential, while many employees appreciate the flexibility associated with working from home.
Consequently, HR teams should consider how the remote work era will impact employee experience for both telecommuters and in-office colleagues. Face-to-face collaboration between teams will no longer be the norm, so workforces will rely on an HR intranet to keep colleagues connected and aligned. Enterprise social tools will be heavily utilized to build community and facilitate knowledge sharing, while feedback forms and pulse surveys empower users to provide feedback on your work environment.
#2. Contingent work goes mainstream
Many enterprises turned to contingent employment models to cut costs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly one-third of organizations are replacing full-time employees with contingent labor to fulfill their workforce needs. In the pandemic's aftermath, employers will continue to utilize gig workers to maintain flexibility and bridge workplace gaps.
The rise of the contingent workforce poses several challenges for HR leaders. First, professionals must understand who your gig workers are and what motivates them to make strategic decisions regarding your employee benefits. Additionally, HR teams must launch onboarding processes tailored to these roles. Contingent workers should have access to their training curriculum and opportunities to upskill via your intranet or designated portal.
#3. A human touch is non-negotiable
The COVID-19 pandemic blurred the lines between employees' personal and professional lives. During the crisis's height, colleagues joined video calls from their kitchen table and juggled family responsibilities and work deadlines simultaneously. The shift to a more flexible, people-first approach was necessary to overcome collective adversity.
Even after the pandemic is behind us, the need for emotional intelligence and holistic employee support will remain. HR teams can fuel an employee-driven outlook by launching a designated Human Resources hub on your intranet. Include information on employee benefits, guidance on making the most of remote work, and contacts for employees searching for more personalized support. Ensure this resource is mobile accessible so that frontline staff and task workers have access to the same advice.
#4. An ongoing emphasis on wellbeing
The COVID-19 pandemic placed employee mental health and wellbeing in the spotlight. Many organizations adapted accordingly, with nearly 9 out of 10 managers noting an increased emphasis on employee wellbeing during 2020. As work-from-home schemes gained momentum, leaders also turned their attention towards combatting sentiments of loneliness. Since over 60% of employees experience isolation, efforts to build community amongst dispersed workforces are vital.
These health-focused initiatives will not fall by the wayside in the pandemic's aftermath. Instead, employers will be expected to provide increased support via wellbeing resources that look out for employees' health holistically. HR teams can bring these efforts to life by devising a designated wellbeing hub on your intranet. Include social channels related to wellbeing to inspire colleagues to connect and publish blog and newsletter content on health topics to keep your workforce informed.
#5. Resiliency versus efficiency
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, efficiency reigned supreme. Over half of all organizational redesigns prioritized streamlining roles, supply chains, and workflows in 2019. However, the crisis exposed these systems' fragility, as efficiently structured organizations were ill-equipped to respond rapidly to changing circumstances.
In the post-pandemic era, designing for resiliency will attain top priority status. Employees will take on varied and flexible career paths to gain the cross-functional knowledge necessary to contribute to more responsive organizational models. HR teams can support resiliency efforts by providing ample opportunity for colleagues to upskill, including mentoring initiatives and training resources. Given that 65% of learners are visual learners, consider launching video series, on your intranet, tailored to existing skill gaps to help employees get up to speed efficiently.
#6. The rise of Generation Z
No post-pandemic HR strategy will be complete without considering the upcoming influx of Generation Z employees. Defined by Pew Research as those born after 1996, the eldest members of this generation are now preparing to enter a workforce amidst unparalleled levels of change and innovation.
As the first fully digital generation, these employees set a high bar for workplace technology. 97% of Generation Z employees believe technological literacy matters, and 80% want to work with cutting-edge technology. Consequently, HR leaders wishing to lure top candidates must ensure that your technological infrastructure is up to par. This includes a seamless remote onboarding process supported by video learning resources, consumer-grade search experiences, and social networking tools.
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Ensure you're ready for the post-pandemic world with an intranet
With next-generation digital technology and an unparalleled understanding of your workforce, HR teams have the competencies needed to lead your organization into the post-COVID-19 era. If you are looking to launch an intranet to support your employees during your transition to your post-pandemic reality, get in touch with our digital workplace experts.