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It is now a well-known fact that the modern workplace is seeing rapid changes over the course of a short time period. While many of the most visible changes are made with the aim to enhance the working environment and help employees maintain an even work-life balance, it falls on HR leaders across industries and geographies to effectively implement new methods of enhancing organizational productivity in the coming year.
This post is an attempt at outlining the most important challenges that HR leaders are most likely to face in 2022, as well as a few ways to handle disruptions.
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies across the world were forced to transition into systems of hybrid and remote work. Now, while many companies are seriously contemplating and planning for a return to the workplace in some form or the other going forward, the trend of hybrid and remote working systems is predicted to become a mainstay of the future workplace.
According to a poll by Gartner, over 92% of organizations expect some teams to continue with remote working arrangements in the near future. Taking this trend into account, it is imperative that HR departments set up plans for making remote work more efficient and achievable. As employees and organizations intend to continue capitalizing on the benefits of this arrangement, HR leaders will be required to make changes in the way they manage the workforce to maintain a productive workplace that still has optimal levels of communication between employees and departments. In the future workplace, employee wellness is set to become a new OKR for HR leaders everywhere.
A leader’s role in supporting employee health and well-being will always be a crucial aspect of effectively handling team members even in the post-pandemic workplace. A clear commitment from companies toward employee health has a large-scale effect on their teams' motivation as well.
As per a study by DDI World, when leaders show that they care about employees' health and well-being, their companies are 230% better prepared to manage and cut down on employee burnout and attrition.
Most of the past two years have seen companies change previously established patterns in order to accommodate for the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been a time of dealing with unprecedented changes in the workplace, and thus most HR departments have followed a reactionary approach to the changes. This left very little room for long-term future planning.
However, there is a silver lining to this disruption as well - if organizations are able to harness the readiness and adaptability shown by their team members, disruption becomes an opportunity to plan and create new-age solutions for the ever-changing challenges faced by the organization.
Experts at DDI World classify HR teams into three typical roles within an organization. These roles are as follows:
As per DDI World's findings, only 10% of HR teams across companies reported being able to carry out the role of anticipators effectively. This is a 40% decrease from the reported numbers in 2018. It is obvious that this decrease in number is largely due to the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic, which shifted HR teams' focus from other problem areas to putting all efforts into maintaining a healthy workforce.
Although the speed and impact of disruptive forces have risen over the course of the past two years, a few companies have figured out how to take these disruptions in their stride. Such companies tend to depend on the HR department to come up with potential solutions to the challenges presented by times of crisis.
Going forward, the senior company leaders and HR leaders will need to cooperate on setting up a strong framework in anticipation of future disruptions. Establishing a holistic employee health benefits strategy will be crucial as well. Keeping track of any potentially disruptive changes while creating strategic plans for achieving the organization's objectives will empower companies to stay strong and productive in the face of challenges posed by future disruptions.
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