HR Trends. What’s changed, what stays, where to now?

Posted by Carolyne Burns | September - 17 - 2020 | 0 Comment

As Australia slowly awakens from this moment. What are the implications for HR, now and into the future?

The world is enduring a cataclysmic event that has changed society forever. As Australia slowly awakens from this moment. What are the implications for HR, now and into the future?

We think that the changes we will face can be grouped into two piles: how we work and what we do – with implications for both employers and employees. Here are the big issues:

How we work will change

Flexibility is key

The workplace was already changing, the pandemic has accelerated those changes.

Remote working and managing disparate groups has meant that more people want flexibility in their work choices. But while some enjoy the relative freedom of working from home, others like the functionality an office provides (along with the social interactions). So, both employers and employees will have a different view of what being flexible means.

Equally, those people who work in service industries, hospitality and catering will need to adapt to new laws and OHS requirements. Everyone needs to be careful about what we expect from one another, which is why emotional intelligence will be even more important.

Emotional Intelligence is vital

For many people the pandemic has shown us how important human connections are. And of course the workplace is where many of those interactions take place.

For the HR professional it’s important to understand exactly how their employees are handling the changes that we are all facing. The ability to connect at an emotional level, to truly understand and appreciate someone else’s point of view is going to be even more important in the future.

Leadership is more important

Every business needs leaders and one of the challenges post pandemic will be to up-skill key employees into leadership roles.

With the changing work patterns and more fluid workgroups the ability to harness and direct staff in both remote and on-site work groups is going to become a skill that more businesses will value.

Productivity and culture are intertwined, and if the business has leaders that can negotiate both then that business is well placed for the future.

What we do will change

Creativity means renewal

The ability for businesses and staff to be able to change to face a new reality often depends on the creativity of the leadership team.

Some businesses that faced disaster managed to retool quickly enough to continue operations while delivering an entirely different product. Many businesses found innovative ways to continue working.

Creativity is a vital skill and we think that it will become more valued in every area of the business.

Digital Skills increase

The pandemic has made it abundantly clear that the need for digital skills has never been greater.

Digital literacy will allow companies to see where the trends are and adapt more quickly and in the right way. The need for talented people to manage a company’s digital footprint will continue to grow. And with it there will need to be an increased focus on the security systems that support business because the pandemic has also seen an enormous increase in cybercrime.

Data is King

Understanding, using, distributing and creating data was already an irresistible trend before the pandemic. It is even more vital now.

Data is the fuel of the 4th Industrial Revolution. Those who know how to use it will win. Those who have that skill will be the kings and queens of IT although it’s likely that their role will encompass much more than the merely digital. They will be the heartbeat of most large organisations.

How they use that data whilst maintaining a company’s culture will be a skill that every CEO will want by her side.

Lifetime Learning

HR has always been a profession that has had to adapt and learn as we grow. The situation of course is even greater now.

It’s said that the average HR professional has to up-skill about 40 to 50% of their knowledge base every five years. That’s a lot of constant learning and it is difficult to keep up. But adaptability is just another function that HR will have to focus on as it negotiates the next few years. 

Success won’t be easy but understanding these trends, adapting to them and keeping an open mind as we negotiate our way out of this emergency will be the best way to ensure we all succeed together.