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For the last decade or more, HR has been asking for a strategic seat at the table to influence key business decisions with people-first initiatives. Much progress has been made but with the onset of the global pandemic,which is still raging across the world, HR has been thrust even more into the center of the C-Suite and CEOs are looking directly at their HR teams for quick thinking, innovation and counsel.
Regardless of your stance on how work will change in the future, most of us can agree that it is going to change – and that it will never be the same. Much like other key moments in history: the industrial revolution, the great wars, the digital era, we are standing on the precipice of what the future of work will look like for decades to come. During these unprecedented moments in history, we see those who fall back to the comfort of times they knew well, and we see others who rise to the challenge and can see innovation and possibility amongst the chaos and ambiguity. Will HR rise to this challenge?
HR has typically not been seen as a group comfortable with risk. In fact, this has always been HR’s responsibility – to assess and manage risk on behalf of the organization. Yet much like how we’ve needed to adapt and evolve our ways of thinking to get through this pandemic, HR will have to shift who they have always been and reincarnate themselves to be something far more bold and agile. Our organizations leaders are looking to HR for direction, and they are increasingly willing to accept radical new ideas take on greater risk.
I invite our HR leaders to view this moment as an opportunity to reinvent our ways of working and approach this challenge with excitement and courage. The current climate is a perfect incubator to find new ways to reinvent the HR space:
• With high turnover and waning employee loyalty, we need to find new ways to speak to candidates and draw them in through a unique recruitment experience
• Leverage more collaborative and social technology to nudge your culture and create a social space for employees to organically organize themselves in communities of shared interests
• Reinvent the office (or even home office) to suit the needs of the modern employee. Ensure it inspires and attracts them to come together and gather with intention
• Push for social responsibility not as a nice-to-have but as a leading business strategy which excites consumers and employees alike
• Lean into and accept our new virtual world and find ways to recreate the social connection amongst employees
• Creatively leverage your people strategy as a marketing tool not only for new talent but to drive business revenue through brand or services
HR’srole moving forward will be is to influence leaders towardsmore progressive ideas related to how work gets done. These ideas need to support the attraction and retention of employees. In today’s ever-shifting world, employees and consumers are demanding that we do right by them and they’re not just asking, they’re making decisions with their workplaces and their wallets. The leaders of the future of work will be those who are bold and ambitious, able to articulate a compelling purpose, executing with agility and speed.
HR has asked for a seat at the table and now, whether we are ready or not, are sitting at it with all eyes on us. Now is the time for HR to leap into the future and bring the world of work with it.