HR Roles for the New Normal

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The simultaneous effects of the pandemic and the resulting financial crisis have given HR departments an unprecedented challenge in supporting their employees in the new normal we find ourselves in. Now more than ever, the labour force has been experiencing drastic shifts in how we work, where we work, and the technologies we use to stay connected and productive.

Workers of all levels are turning to the guidance of HR professionals on how to navigate their new normal situation and the future of their work. According to Cognizant research, 73% of employees across all industries depend on their employer for support where HR roles are expected to play a much bigger role in maintaining an ethical and responsible workplace.

Today, HR roles now have almost the same scope as CFOs in terms of finances, job security, and the future of the workplace overall. Aside from maintaining organisational impact and employee retention, new HR jobs will entail reimagined responsibilities and strategy reboots in this age of digital economy where work-life balance resonates more than ever.

In this article, we look into the evolution of the HR industry and its core themes in the future of HR as we step into a new chapter of leadership and recovery in the age of coronavirus.

Work-life balance management. 

Remote work measures have grown dramatically over the last year due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases around the world. While this is meant to address the importance of employees’ health and wellness, managing work-life balance has shifted to an even greyer area wherein workload is taken and done at home through digital means. This poses a challenge on managing work-life balance as it exposes employees at risk of burnout due to work and home life happening simultaneously.

The future of work emphasizes creating a more holistic view of employee wellbeing, paving the way for new job roles that focus on wellbeing or even working from home coordination. These could oversee the technologies, processes, wellness strategic management, and services to nurture the overall health of workers on- and off-site.

These types of roles are necessary for building employees’ sense of belonging within the company by ensuring their purpose and showing them that they are valued by the organisation.

Responsible data culture.

HR departments are now entrusted with organisational trust and safety more than ever. As guardians in the workplace, it should be in their best interest to elevate the company’s data culture for accountability, transparency, and privacy.

In a study on data-security breaches by the Oracle and Future Workplace group, 71% of employees across ten countries surveyed were “at least sometimes concerned” while 38% said they were “very concerned” about the possibility of privacy violations that AI technologies are notorious for. Overall, 80% expressed that companies should ask for permission before using AI to collect information on them.

However, AI presents a different case on the recruitment side. According to LinkedIn research, HR professionals are starting to rely on AI in the recruitment process to help source and sort their best candidates. In the age of intense algorithms, not only recruiters can see their employees’ or applicants’ competencies, sensitive information like interests, preferences, and location are also shared unknowingly. No wonder there is an uproar for data privacy and the need for humans to be part of this process.

Roles focused on handling the humane side of business functions that AI overlooks, like ensuring employee safety (both on-site and remote) data protection, and preventing (and monitoring) prejudices that may develop. More likely these new roles will lead the HR response team to prepare for unprecedented situations, such as a global pandemic, by proposing enhanced measures to create a safe workplace throughout the employee lifecycle.

Creative and innovative immersion.

Terminations due to redundancy are unfortunately becoming commonplace amid the pandemic. Business leaders are shifting to more innovative ways to grow their companies, even if it means cutting down on staff and keeping the most essential members of the workforce.

The latter would benefit from a role that is based around future-proofing an organisation, whether it is by setting new learning and development strategies to upscale the current skill sets of its current employees or identifying a need to bring in new employees. Whether it's presenting insights from industry research, academia, and market trends, virtual learning and development programs can entail potential promotions and new jobs designed for the company’s continued success.

Automated partnerships.

Organisations are heavily relying on AI computers for tedious tasks, analysis, and pattern recognition of gathered information in the workforce. However, technologies cannot be trusted when it comes to making sound judgments and appointing the most appropriate action based on the data available.

A new role type that could emerge is that of mediating the functions between humans and machines for a seamless collaboration and productivity. One example of this is in a form of a chatbot for applicants with frequently asked questions. This approach will enable more time for recruiters to strategize and engage with hiring managers on critical tasks like employee-centric programmes to improve retention among new hires.

Alongside this role, could be someone responsible for building analytics and processes in solving problems within teams as Human Resources continues to take more on a data-driven approach. This can be done through employee surveys and learning management programmes all designed to help enhance individual and team performance whether in or out of the workspace.

Companies will continue to face disruptive forces post-pandemic as the world of work becomes more complex and dynamic. HR professionals play a crucial role in building resiliency and sustaining the performance and engagement of a hybrid workforce (with some working remotely while the others at the office). Keeping the above-mentioned priorities in mind will enable HR professionals to provide solutions to help their organisations adapt and achieve success, regardless of challenges and changes.


Visit Talegent’s AI Labs or talk to us here to find out more about how your company can adapt and become successful in the new normal of work.

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