HR trends redefining work culture in organizations

The pandemic has necessitated investment in skilling and re-skilling of the workforce to ensure their relevance.

Skill sets such as design thinking, problem-solving and analytical thinking have found a new meaning.

By Muktesh Mittal,

The pandemic has proved to be an inflection point for businesses worldwide. It has prompted organizations to pause, think and reflect to gear for the new normal. It has also reaffirmed the widening scope of the HR function to drive organizational outcomes. The extended work from home has fueled the challenges such as ensuring seamless collaboration, keeping the workforce motivated and taking measures for their well-being. It has also accelerated digital transformation across businesses. The onus is now on the HR function to steer a smooth transition in line with the new normal. Here are some HR trends we foresee in the post-COVID world.

Workplace Flexibility:

COVID-19 heralded a paradigm shift towards the ‘work from home’ model. Organizations have realized the benefits of this model, such as greater employee engagement, a competitive marketplace, higher diversity and talent retention. Most businesses have adopted new technologies to facilitate seamless collaboration and communication during work from home. Organizations must now foster flexible work choices that allow employees to continue working from home for a few days a month. Educational institutions are adopting flexible practices in conducting classes with the intention to reduce crowding and ensure security of all. This is quite helpful in protecting vulnerable children from the virus while ensuring safety of teachers as well. This practice has proved to be extremely effective in continuing the study of children amidst the danger of pandemic. We foresee a hybrid model of work to be the norm embodying greater flexibility and agility.

Acceleration of digitization

The pandemic has accelerated digitization, with technology emerging as a panacea to boost efficiency, foster collaboration and enhance customer experience. Technologies such as AI, Data analytics help generate insights from data, thereby aiding organization in decision-making. In the future, technology will play a vital role in managing a distributed workforce. It warrants harnessing emerging technologies by organisations to achieve tangible business goals and maintain an edge over peers. Digitization has also enabled the education sector to execute remote study effectively and efficiently. Teachers and students can now connect from anywhere, anytime without compromising with their safety. Digitization has very positively impacted the hiring process of educational institutions. HR personnel can now hire the best talents with the offer of WFH facility and other perks. Educated women willing to earn while executing their household responsibilities have emerged as the greatest pool of talent for such HRs.

Significance of Mental Health

COVID-19 has elevated the significance of mental health, with more people talking about it openly. Organisations are willing to go the extra mile to ensure the mental well-being of their workforce. Measures such as fun games, wellness measures, and a four-day work week have gained currency. At the same time, mental health has become a major issue in educational institutions as well. Administration of the institutes is not only taking care of students’ health but also the health of employees that will boost the learning environment while reducing the cases related to depression.

Rise of Hybrid Workplaces:

We have entered a hybrid workplace era, wherein employees are free to choose between on-site and remote work. Companies can choose from three options under this arrangement: go partially remote, where half of the workforce works from home while the rest from the office; opt for flexible work timings; or work out of co-working spaces, wherein employees book workspaces in advance on days they want to work. Other sectors including education are also reaping the benefits of this system. HR departments of educational institutions are now implementing the system without compromising the quality of learning. They are now able to manage a system of bringing students and teachers together for classes as per their ease.

Learning and Development efforts by organisations:

The pandemic has necessitated investment in skilling and re-skilling of the workforce to ensure their relevance. Skill sets such as design thinking, problem-solving and analytical thinking have found a new meaning. As a consequence, more companies are implementing comprehensive Learning & Development programmes to upgrade their employees’ skillset, boost morale and encourage their retention. The institutions providing these skill development courses have made it easy for the HR department of organisations to enhance the skills of employees. They can book programmes as per the leisure time of the employees so that the productivity doesn’t get affected.

The pandemic has overhauled the HR function in organisations. Companies must adopt a people-first mindset that prioritizes empathy, resilience, and empowerment. Companies must embrace advanced HR technologies and harness their potential to improve employee experiences, ensure data security, and boost productivity to impact their bottom line.

In a nutshell, COVID-19 has unlocked an opportunity for PSUs, educational institutions and others to rethink their organizational structure and embrace a flexible work model. Most of them have already made a beginning in embracing digital transformation and re-evaluating their operational structure. The role of the HR function will be crucial in sustaining this momentum and ensuring organisational relevance in the post-pandemic era.

(The author is Executive Director, Rail Land Development Authority. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)

Get live Stock Prices from BSE, NSE, US Market and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, Check out latest IPO News, Best Performing IPOs, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Financial Express Telegram Financial Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Biz news and updates.