Our workplaces have changed a huge amount in the past two years, both physically and culturally. As we adjust to new working environments, from remote and hybrid models to the return to the office, the future of the workplace could look entirely different to how it does now. As a team at the heart of a business, how can HR be prepared to embrace this transformation?
HR teams sit at the center of organizations, with touchpoints across almost every department and staffing level. They embody the analogy of the duck that looks calm on the surface but is frantically paddling away underneath the water to keep everything moving forward.
HR teams must consider every aspect of an employee’s lifecycle in the workplace, from their interview and onboarding to the policies, procedures and paperwork involved in keeping the business and its employees afloat.
Whatever we can expect from the future, it’s clear that HR teams will form a vital part in negotiating periods of change to keep businesses heading in the right direction. In this guide, we’ll explore why and how HR will continue to play a huge role in the future of work.
HR impacts the employee experience
With visibility across different departments and the hierarchy of a business, HR has an opportunity to recognize areas for improvement and standardization. Refining processes and setting clear expectations at a company level can save valuable staff time and be a huge benefit to CEOs and business leaders.
Setting expectations and establishing clear processes in a business directly relates to employee experience (EX), a key approach now considered a prerequisite to business success. In PwC’s 25th Annual Global CEO Survey, 62% of CEO’s say employee engagement and, as a result, employee experience metrics are included in the long-term corporate strategy, specifically due to the positive impact they can have across a company. HR is crucial to improving EX as the department that monitors culture and advocates for employees.
HR is the department that sits outside traditional staffing hierarchies, with the ability to engage with and support entire workforces from new hires to business leaders. This means the impact of HR can be far-reaching, which will allow it to play a huge role in workplaces. In the future of work, HR will be key in advocating for employees in times of change, and in managing internal communications during both good and challenging times.
Investing in an engaged workforce supports business culture
HR plays a key role in developing an organizational culture that can improve the employee experience. Having excellent workplace culture directly impacts the bottom line but also creates trust between employees, which is necessary for success.
Investing in HR and the people at the heart of your business will also drive productivity, according to the leading platform Breathe HR. As businesses have invested for decades in the customer experience, it’s time to invest similarly in the employee experience.
Employee engagement, and as a result, the experience should be a focal point of the business. Developing, supporting and maintaining an engaged workforce will depend on a clear strategy that can be influenced by the insight and experience of a HR team.
Navigating times of change requires forward momentum
Supporting the creation, development and implementation of new processes is a key part of making changes to any business. Giving employees a reason to engage and contribute to these changes is what will give a business the momentum it needs to be successful. If you haven’t got your teams on board, you’ll be fighting a losing battle, this is where HR teams come in.
As we’ve shifted from in-person offices to hybrid and remote-working environments, requirements have shifted, and employees now have a range of different demands which has put pressure on HR, who have had to manage huge amounts of change while supporting employees through an incredibly difficult period.
HR will play a crucial role in the future of work as an agile department that supports transition and change. A well-resourced HR team can be a way to future-proof your business, investing in the idea that the physical and hybrid workplaces, new technologies and changing business demands will continue to impact how and where we work.
What to expect from the future world of work
Even before Covid-19, HR was becoming an ever-growing part of our workplaces. In the post-pandemic world and into the future, workplaces will continue to prioritise employee-centred decisions.
Data-based decision-making will form a key part of the future of work, with analytics and employee feedback key to driving change. We can also expect hybrid and remote working models to hold a firm position as the norm in the future. Our workplaces will continue to evolve into spaces that promote healthy, happy working, whether as flexible phyiscal offices or online spaces.
For HR departments, the future of work also includes considerable attention being placed on employee wellbeing alongside engagement and experience, as workforces seek out business that care about their people.
HR can form the foundations for company growth
When it comes to connecting employees and departments in the future world of work, a HR team can align strategies and be the eyes and ears for business leaders across every level of the company. They recognize the importance of company culture being at the center of a business, and that employee experience is the key metric to measure to achieve success.
The future of work will rely on departments and businesses being agile and able to thrive in times of change, which is what HR is best at.
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