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Managing 'Humans' Can't Be a Puzzle

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The role of an HR department within an organization has undergone sea changes over the past couple of years alone. Amidst the overall disruption the pandemic caused, the expectations from the HR division escalated to another level. HR leaders can directly contribute to organizational growth via multiple avenues, helping employees settle into the new normal and even equipping the organization for a pandemic-like scenario in the future.

A recent Gartner poll shows that around 48 percent of employees will likely work at least part of the time remotely after COVID-19 versus 30 percent before the pandemic. This brings its own set of challenges to the HR wing. While the HR department remains fundamentally responsible for the workforce's performance, productivity, and efficiency, they will have the bigger job of comprehending the challenges the employees face, including what they are struggling with inside and outside of work. This implies that employees will need support, including enhanced sick leave, financial assistance, adjusted hours of operation, and childcare provisions. In the long run, HR will also need to pilot the transition from an efficiency-driven to a resilience-driven organization.

On the other hand, organizations worldwide will focus on expanding their geographic diversification and investment in secondary markets to mitigate and manage risk during disruption. This will increase the complexity of size and organizational management, which in turn will create challenges for HR as operating models evolve. While HR leaders will need to diversify their skills, acquire new ones, and leverage technology more to navigate these challenges, leveraging people analytics is something they can't overlook anymore. In this special issue, we turn our attention to the HR department.

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