Top HR Priorities for the year 2021

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Top HR Priorities for the year 2021
As we transition into 2021, along with sustainable business & talent priorities, organizations will need to safeguard its employees by institutionalizing the immunization programme & orchestrating a powerful return to work strategy.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change.” — Charles Darwin

This time around, last year, I was part of a Leadership Program at Stanford, understanding concepts that will help me break the mold & change the world. On the wall of the classroom, I chanced upon this famous quote by Charles Darwin, the significance of which I’ve been able to come to terms with, only in the last 10 months.

The most unimaginable. The most unpredictable. 2020 has been the year of empowerment & opportunity.

Every year, during this time, we reflect on the year that transpired and starts deliberating on our new year resolutions for the coming year. But this year is unique in every sense. Every day looks different, yet the same.

“The pandemic has debunked our theory of predictability & pushed us into an uncertain zone, where the series of events could change overnight.”

As we transition into 2021, along with sustainable business & talent priorities, organizations will need to safeguard its employees by institutionalizing the immunization programme & orchestrating a powerful return to work strategy. We will have to channelize all our energies in bringing this to fruition, cheek by jowl with the leaders who will set this in motion. 

Now, we have unraveled through experience & discovered that there are 3 core fundamentals that organizations will have to embrace to counter the unpredictability of the future – Adaptability, Agility & Resilience. Keeping these as the base, some of the key priorities for us as HR professionals would be:

Learnability

Skill is the new currency and organizations today are redefining their overall capability building approach to future proof their existence, wherewithal, and growth. From one job to multiple jobs to multiple skills in one job, the transition towards building new-age skills is going to be the key differentiator. Organizations will need to create a world-class ecosystem influencing mindsets for individuals to take charge of their career and opportunities to become the best version of themselves. 

Soulful Digital Experience

Digital Experience is built on 3 key pillars– it has to be fluid; intuitive & it has to have a soul that speaks the language of the culture. An equitable fusion of all these elements will act as a catapult in helping organizations soar higher. User centricity fueled by data & AI will enable organizations to provide a holistic virtual experience to their employees impacting the moments that matter.  

Communities

A community is a group of people who agree to grow together – Simon Sinek. A sense of belonging & a place of safety. Communities will be powerful catalysts to drive culture as they will come together for work, for purpose, for recreation, for support. These will be self-governed or structured, ushered by leaders. Leaders & managers are going to play a significant role in driving social capital. The new-gen leaders create a common sense of purpose, share a vision of what needs to be accomplished, empower individuals, protect teams from distractions, and help to remove roadblocks, leading communities to flourish. People managers are our biggest bet. 

Wellbeing

Over the last few months, our minds have been tested & challenged with uncertainty, & this has compelled us to take charge of our wellbeing. I believe the below framework will help accelerate the employee wellbeing journey in organizations.  

  • Self Help: As it is rightly said, during times of turbulence, one needs to put their oxygen mask first, and then help others. It’s a dual responsibility where organizations will carve out self-help tools & employees will leverage these, thereby owning the brand.
  • Micro Environment:  We’ve observed that the top reasons for employees to come to work are – the teams that they are part of & having a best friend at work. The objective should be to create support for the ecosystem that is conducive for managers & teams to work together, seamlessly.
  • Macro Environment: Here, the focus is on driving the programs on an organization axis where the core purpose is to build & strengthen a narrative around employee wellbeing.  

Culture

Culture is the finest example of an experience that differentiates best from the rest. Organizations should supplement the culture through trust — the biggest performance-enhancing drug, invest in gold standard governance, embrace the dynamic future through learning & unlearning, provide employees greater control through choice and psychological safety.

As people champions, it is our fundamental responsibility to craft a future for ourselves and in my view, there are two key differentiators that will help us propel forward as a tribe. One is the deep understanding of business better than business understands business sprinkled with market information, nuances of technology and world, helping us become problem finders and partner with the business. The second one is my favorite – empathy. Empathy will be at the heart of all that we do and that has to stem from within by understanding the user and co-creating with them to establish grade experiences of work & the workplace.

As Alan Kay said, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it”, so here’s an opportunity of a lifetime for all of us to make an indelible mark on the future! So, are we ready for the talent revolution?

Note: The article draws on various sources of inspiration from the public domain. All views are personal.

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