“Sustainability will become an HR priority with respect to employer brand,” Biswarup Goswami

Biswarup Goswami, CHRO, Gujarat Heavy Chemicals, believes that companies will feel comfortable extending services of existing employees rather than testing new blood in this remote setup

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A big change in 2022

A new model is emerging, called the ‘blended office model’ where companies are taking a flexible approach to in-office vs. remote work, allowing for a little of both. This model allows businesses to support employee safety and well-being while also enjoying the benefits that come with having a central, physical workspace. For many companies, this middle-ground approach may be here to stay.

In terms of talent acquisition, engineering graduates are in high demand. There is a surge in the demand for computer science graduates, electronics and communication graduates, information technology graduates and mechanical engineers. With the growth of the information technology (IT) and e-commerce sectors in India, more early-career professionals will be recruited in the coming year.

Further, companies will feel comfortable extending services of existing employees rather than testing new blood in this remote setup. Sustainability will become an HR priority, as it is an important issue affecting the employment brand. Employees will prefer not to work for organisations that do not focus on sustainability, carbon neutral strategies, and environmental protection. Companies that prioritise sustainability are more likely to be considered as better employers.

Broader strategy to boost DE&I in 2022

Research on HR practices shows that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) is an unsolved problem in business, and despite years of effort, most companies see this practice as a work in process. The pandemic taught us all one important lesson. If people don’t feel safe, they won’t be productive, innovative, or reliable. Therefore, above all, as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs clearly states, we need to create a workplace that is safe, supportive, and inclusive. Focus will be on transgender and differently-abled candidates.

“Benefits programmes may shift from traditional on-site perks to more remote options”

Gig driven by choice or business challenges

Gig will see a boost. Gig economy is amongst the most widely-used terms in the business world today. While gig work has been around for a long time, it has gained momentum recently with the success of platform-based companies such as Uber, Swiggy, and Urban Company. With the emergence of technology-enabled gig work platforms, over 200 million people are part of the gig workforce globally.

HR to look beyond models and best practices; be more innovative and hands on

To liberalise the HR practices, from a statutory point of view and employee benefits, recruiting strategies may need to focus on different skills and competencies in potential candidates such as self-motivation, initiative-taking and effective virtual communications. Compensation decisions, such as adjusting salaries for WFH and scaling pay relative to geographic offices are important to consider. One survey revealed around 44 per cent of employees would reduce their 10 per cent pay for WFH forever. Benefits programmes may see adoption to reflect the shift from traditional on-site perks to more remote options. In addition, there will be an endeavour to help and support families in case of the untimely demise of corporate employees due to COVID.

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