2020: What to learn – what to erase
I think the biggest learning has been the ability to break conventions and rise to function. This is because HR has shown the capability to adapt to the future of work and has the ability to move in this direction with speed and agility. In fact, HR is in the best place to enjoy an aerial view to see overall processes and offer a holistic solution. In addition, HR has exhibited the ability to reinvent and cement the company’s culture even amidst these changing times.
As we create a new working environment that may follow WFH permanently or adopt a hybrid model, organisations need to constantly review how the company culture is impacting their teams and their performance and motivation. It is up to the HR to lead and shape these interventions with a plethora of initiatives, including constant and innovative ways of assessing culture and closing gaps between the current culture and the desired one. Change is significant and HR is in the best place to catalyse transformation and motivate shifts that will reinvent organisations. As managers adjusted to managing a remote workforce – most of them for the first time in their careers — employees too tried to meet expectations, both at work and on the personal front. The fine line between work and life became work-life integration.
HR should lead the change, rip up the rulebook of leadership and move beyond disruption
One of the biggest boons has been the acceptance and realisation by business that a good number of administrative jobs can be easily performed remotely. This opens up a huge untethered talent pool— unbound by location or time zone. It has become possible and feasible to access and employ a wide variety of talent from various walks of life – be it people on a career break or people from different walks of life, who couldn’t otherwise do a 9 to 5 job because of various reasons. The one thing I would personally want to erase from 2020, is the harsh situation that COVID brought with it, that created business difficulties and left thousands jobless.
HR has shown great agility and business acumen
Indeed HR has made steady progress from ‘personnel management’ and ‘IR’ to being ‘business partner’, and is continuously reinventing itself. It is now one step closer to being a business partner.
HR also needs to be more resilient
One of my favourite authors, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, says, ”Anti-fragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resist shocks and stay the same; the antifragile get better.” In my opinion 2020 saw HR being tested to some new limits that the function has never experienced before, unlike handling a recession, or a boom in the economy. The pandemic made it absolutely clear that we need to invest in people and people-centric technologies, to survive. No doubt, HR has to lead the change for the rest of the organisation as well as its own function, reinventing itself in the process. Now is the time to challenge one’s limits and not limit one’s challenges. It is time for HR to lead the change, rip up the rule book of leadership and move beyond disruption.