The ongoing pandemic and the subsequent hybrid work model has brought in significant disruption in the way the HR function operates. As we enter 2022, the HR function would need to significantly reimagine and reinvent itself to keep pace with the changing time and needs of people. The critical asks in front of the HR function would be to
- Evolve from being an enforcer of HR Policies to representing people to frame a new set of policies
- Building organizational culture in a Physivirtual world
- Creating a new paradigm on communication when you don’t see or meet your employees regularly
- Address the enhanced anxiety level of employees and help them on their overall well-being
Looking at the above, some of the key trends expected in HR in 2022 would include –
HR practices would be realigned to be in sync with the hybrid work model
A hybrid model of working with some employees working from offices and some from home or away from office is a reality and is expected to remain the same. Even when the pandemic recedes, many companies are expected to continue with a hybrid model of working.
The HR function needs to align and rediscover itself to the same and bring in policies, procedures, and practices that support this. For example, policies on eligibility of transport allowance for employees may need change, process of recruitment would change with less of in-person interviews, learning & development programs may need to be more digital etc. Similarly, companies may be able to offer more attractive work policies for returning mothers with options of work from home.
The benefit and reward management system would need critical refinement
The benefit and reward management system would need to look beyond traditional monetary benefits and bring in aspects that promote mental health and overall well-being of employees and their families.
Organizations that look at the holistic benefit of employees would continue to thrive and grow.
Digital HR will be the need of the hour
The HR function would have to come alive on a robust digital platform, especially on a mobile app, to ensure easy access to all employees as in-person meetings and discussions will be rarer.
Companies would look at investing in a digital platform that can bring the whole HR function, including organization culture, ethos, and values into a digital platform for employees to feel and understand the organization they are working in.
HR would need to support Mental health and well-being of the team
The HR function will move beyond supporting the needs of employees at office and look at overall well-being of the team, with special focus on mental health. The HR function would need to be strengthened with psychologists, psychiatrists, counsellors working with the team.
HR would look beyond supporting the employees and look at the well-being of their family
With the distinction between home and workplace becoming hazy and work timings becoming flexible, the HR function would not only have to focus on the mental health and well-being of their employees, but even extend it to their families.
Initiatives like awareness sessions, counselling sessions, meditation sessions for family members would have to be brought in the future.
There would be tremendous focus on virtual team bonding
With the hybrid working environment becoming a reality, the traditional concept of a team working together at the same location or in office premises would change and the HR function would need to reinvent itself in being able to help teams bond, collaborate and build camaraderie even when they are located far from each other.
This would be a critical area that would define success of companies and organizations which are able to drive, motivate and build a cohesive team even when they are located in separate places would thrive and win in the marketplace.
The Learning and Development (L&D) function would need to bring in digital interventions for upskilling and development of the team
The pandemic and the subsequent hybrid work model and digital drive have ensured that people would need newer skills to succeed in this changing work environment and marketplace.
Most of the new skills and upskilling initiatives would have to be delivered virtually and hence the L&D function would need to change and bring in online learning programs with use of new-age digital interventions like gamification, simulations, VR to bring in an enhanced learning experience.
2022 promises to be a special year for the HR function with a clear need and scope of reimagining and reinventing itself. The focus would be a lot more on digital and overall health and well-being of employees and their immediate families.
The hybrid work environment would also offer them scope for bringing in numerous benefits including chance to offer more attractive work options for returning mothers, which they should consider. Organizations that would thrive in these challenging times are the ones where the HR function will be up to the task and meet these challenges.