October 19, 2021
3 min read

Is the role of HR changing… for the better or worse?

Written by
Angel Lim

HR is no longer the person who only pays for your salary or hiring new employees... It does more than that, especially during the post-pandemic workplace.

Your thumb stops at the phone screen as you see these news headlines.

Offices can now operate at 100% capacity for fully vaccinated individuals.

Employee bounce rate increased 27% as companies return to office.

Big companies allow many employees to work remotely indefinitely.  

Your gut wrenches. Knowing what will come next, your boss will want you to get the office ready for the staff. But, are all of them willing to come back?

When the pandemic hit globally, your employees have been working remotely and they show little to no intention to return to the office. You have even come across situations where employees rather quit than returning to the office full time.

Many roles have had to adapt to a new reality, and HR is no exception. How do you make sure employees are on top of their game during post-pandemic recovery?  

Hybrid work model

Did you know, 63% of high-revenue growth companies embrace hybrid workforce models? Your staff gets the best of both worlds of experiencing collaborative, in-person relationships while also having the chance to work remotely on tasks that need deep individual focus.

Clarify your team structure and discuss hybrid working policies and procedures. Determine how you should design the framework for employee communication to encourage better collaboration among colleagues.

When most employees are returning to the office while some continue to work remotely, you need a solid foundation of digital communication tools to ensure employees don’t stay out of the loop.  

That is why more and more potential employees are looking for jobs that offer more work flexibility to achieve a better work-life balance. Ultimately, it’s still about getting the job done whether your employees work remotely or not.    

hybrid work model
The role of HR changes when implementing hybrid work models.

Cultivate a positive employee experience

It’s no secret that the level of engagement of an employee is connected to how well the company is doing. Business leaders are aware of the power to create an employee experience that reflects the best customer experience for their company.

That means, HR support for employees is more important now than ever before.  

Put yourself through the lens of your employees. Some employees prefer to work from home permanently. You need to design and monitor how the employee experience can weave into the company culture.

Listen to them to understand the types of virtual and physical work environments they want. You can routinely conduct employee surveys to gather feedback on factors such as their culture, performance management, and investment in learning and development.  

Supporting employee mental health  

Let’s be honest. Where does employee wellbeing rank on the list of organisational and HR priorities before the pandemic? The pandemic has created an unexpected opportunity for more open and supportive conversations between HR, employees, and top management.

Every organisation has been investing in wellbeing programs to improve the mental or physical health of their workforces. Now it’s the time HR must treat these with utmost urgency and care.

Acknowledge your employees’ needs, let them know it’s okay to talk about mental illness in the workplace or ask for help. Make resourceful support available, including healthcare benefits and perks, so your employees feel safe and well-taken care of by the company.

Role of HR: to support employee mental health.

HR will never be the same again

The Covid-19 crisis has given HR teams a unique opportunity to show what they’re best at – helping businesses make strategic decisions when it comes to their greatest asset: people. 

No doubt, many HR leaders demonstrated immense agility, quickly pivoting with little preparation time despite the crisis.    

From supporting employees from the top-down, mentally and emotionally, to ensure employees work efficiently from home, keep engagement and morale high, coordinate furloughs and layoffs, the role of HR changes significantly in a short time and will continue to change months ahead.

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