Top Priorities for HR Leaders in 2022

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Top Priorities for HR Leaders in 2022
To me, Human Resources is the moral compass for any organization. It has the responsibility to keep the organization true to its purpose and an opportunity to navigate the leadership in the right direction

“There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen” – Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

This quote best summarizes the last twenty months for any organization and more so for the HR function. The pandemic came outside the syllabus. There was no ready manual to navigate this situation. It made the environment more unpredictable and uncertain than ever.

However, when the going got tough, organizations rose to the challenge. People-focus truly came into being, all norms of work and workplace were questioned and redesigned to engage and deliver better. And what we saw was a Talent Revolution. HR leading the way by challenging the status quo, building resilience, and upholding organizational culture in the new paradigm.

To me, Human Resources is the moral compass for any organization. It has the responsibility to keep the organization true to its purpose and an opportunity to navigate the leadership in the right direction. Nudging to achieve gold standard around disclosures, inclusivity, policies, ethics, and integrity of the organization. They act as the stewards of culture playing the role of a catalyst in permeating the culture through the organization.

Human Resources is not a uni-dimensional role anymore that just has responsibilities to care for people. Today, it has to don the hat of a CMO to build the employer brand, that of a CIO to safeguard data and leverage the insights, that of a CDO to embrace digital dexterity, and that of a CEO and COO to understand business as well as they do while still having the heart of a CHRO to ensure the organization continues to thrive as a living organism. And hence lifelong learning is key for continuous reinvention.

HR needs to deep dive to understand and build the skills required to deliver value in the future. I believe an AEIOU framework is a good starting point. 

  • It is said that the Roman God Janus had two heads and two pairs of eyes — one pair focusing on what lay behind, the other on what lay ahead. HR professionals will have to be Ambidextrous – especially in this hybrid setup where a part of the organization is on the floor while the other is on screen. Ability to be both hi-tech and hi-touch to engage better. A coach for people as well as a champion of process and policies. Ability to listen to what’s unsaid and say what needs to be. Be creative as well as a critical thinker. Imaginative as well as pragmatic. The use of both heart and mind while designing employee experiences. Balancing between art and science just like Leonardo Da Vinci. 
  • There are multi-generations at work today. You have people greeting you “Hello, good morning” to “Wassup?” working with you in the same team. Both sets have different expectations from their workplace. And this is going to be the template for long. Empathy will be at the heart of all that we do. Moving from fully physical to fully remote to a hybrid setup requires big change management. Organizations will have to ‘feel’ as much as it ‘thinks’ while handling this change management. User should always be at the center while formulating policies and culture at the workplace to integrate this diversity with equity and inclusion.
  • There has never been a greater need for Influencers in the organization than today. It is in some sense also a manifestation of what we see on social media. Organization Network Analysis (ONA) enables organizations to know who the champions among people are. HR will have to be a part of that Influencers group to influence not just the employees but also the leadership and drive collaboration to bring diverse ideas on the table. Collaboration and Co-creation will be key components of how teams deliver gold standard output. They will continue to need to collaborate with delivery, design, and technology teams to deliver superlative employee experiences.
  • With evolving business paradigms, organizations are focusing more on the Outcomes today than efforts. HR must help the organization to move beyond the lag indicators like attrition, pulse scores to evaluate engagement or work hours to indicate productivity. Data needs to be better leveraged to build more lead indicator metrics to drive and measure meaningful outcomes. 
  • Human Resources must become problem-finders rather than just problem-solvers. For this, it is important for them to understand the business like the business Understands business. Being zero distance with the customers of the organization and being data and tech savvy will enable them to add more value to the organization.

Finally, an organizational culture with trust as its cornerstone will lead to employees with a high degree of pride. As Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” No better time than now to live this Human Experience!

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

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