By Rikhil Shah
Changing times have led to evolving methods of human resource (HR) management and communication. With the increased adoption of newer technologies, changing business requirements and employee expectations, HR function is taking distinctive measures for a contemporary work environment, upgraded platforms, processes and recognition programmes. This enables organisational growth, stability, and future readiness.
It is not just important to bring evolutionary changes in the work environment, it is also vital to empower employees to use emerging technologies and prepare them for how their roles may evolve in the future. One of most remarkable shifts amongst others is that caused by digitalisation. Digitalisation is at the crux of this shift, with some key imperatives such as the below:
Data & Analytics: Big data is now driving numerous decisions by providing trends for studying various patterns. HR practitioners now need to understand and research data in much larger quantities than before.
Paperless & Automated Processes: Many people processes have now become paperless as companies began integrating comprehensive HR Management Systems (HRMS) to ensure all information is stored securely on the cloud for easy access. Some companies even revamped their employee apps to ensure this can be done at the simple tap of a button.
Building Cohesion: No one was fully prepared for remote working. However, leadership teams supported by the HR function enabled smoother cross-team and cross-function working in a hybrid work environment. Maintaining a balance between setting boundaries whilst ensuring completion of deliverables became more imperative as time passed.
: Digital and social media platforms have emerged as one of the leading channel to scout for young talent. Open conversations on platforms like LinkedIn has empowered HR to understand employees expectations from organisations in a meaningful way, thereby enabling brands to offer a more flexible working environment.
Training & Skill Development: With the increasing use of available video communication and conferencing tools, HR has been able to drive the learning & developmental agenda more productively. With the onslaught of this massive digitalisation, there are a few trends which are here to stay. A flexible work setup offering a mix of onsite and remote working remains the most preferred among the workforce – especially among millennials and Gen Z. Working across functional teams and cities has now become second nature. Organisations have also realized that some amount of business travel can be curbed as fruitful engagement is also possible through technology. With greater cohesion among teams, there has also been greater empathy teammates have for each other. While hiring and maintaining employee morale was always significant, today, there is increased focus on employees’ emotional as well as physical well-being.
With this, HR leaders across organisations will have set priorities as part of their function. Some of these include:
Focus on Employee Wellbeing: Though technology will continue to provide data and probable solutions, adoption of more personalised approach to the employer-employee relationship will be key in impacting the success of the HR programmes. Focus on employee health – both physical as well as mental – is crucial and the need of the hour, especially in a time rife with uncertainty where many are under immense pressure to perform. In today’s age, the significance of employee well-being outweighs that of employee benefits.
Diversity and Inclusion
: Everyone would like to work for an equal opportunity employer which respects and allows for professional growth irrespective of gender and religious beliefs. Fostering such an environment whilst ensuring absolute equality among the workforce remains paramount to creating and maintaining an admirable employer brand.
Upskilling and Reskilling: A supportive work culture includes promoting growth while providing avenues to learn and unlearn. HR leadership must provide ample such opportunities for employees to diversify their professional areas of interest.
Leadership Engagement: HR is the bridge between the senior leadership of the company and its employees. Creating and maintaining smooth and efficient flow of conversation, while maintaining an open-door policy will help mould a transparent and efficient employee culture.
The new era of work will require HR to work even more closely with employees and the senior leadership. As times change, so will the employer-employee dynamic. An engaged, honest and transparent Human Resources function will be the catalyst in shaping an organisation’s success and fabric of culture.
Rikhil Shah is Chief Financial Officer and Head HR at SBI General Insurance