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How will work evolve for employees in a post-pandemic world?

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I have gleaned more insights into connecting with people in the last two months than I have in my entire career. Running a virtual office, managing a global workforce across diverse cultures and with different local preventive measures have created a need for looking at HR and employee management in a totally different way.

We commissioned a Living Digital Survey in the U.S., and more than three-fourths (76%) of the respondents said that having the digital tools they need at work makes them more productive. More than half (53%) said it makes them more successful. Looking back, this was a precursor of what was to come — a completely digitally connected workforce, with employees who collaborate, connect, work, and perform their roles with equal or more ease remotely. The knee-jerk reaction to creating this new model of work has resulted in some interesting realities which will shape and alter workforce engagement principles.

The following tips will help HR professionals from any industry to align or change their HR strategies as the world gets ready to return to offices.

Go digital: We have seen the digitization of 50 internal processes across recruitment, appraisals, policy management, leadership connect, payroll management, and leave management. This was possible due to our efforts to make our company a 100% digital enterprise, with the HR function taking the lead. This will be more relevant and needed when people return to work. We do see new ways coming into existence as more employees move to a permanent remote working model, while some may choose a balance. This will entail a more enhanced way of engagement and access to employees, where having a completely digital approach will work very effectively.

Co-created workplace policies: Companies will develop more of a dialogue-led culture where employees will contribute their ideas and suggestions. While this is in place in some manner, an expansion will happen to include new work-from-home policies and structures. Also, learning and development practices will alter as most move to virtual platforms. Employees will have more involvement in working with HR teams to build new, successful ways of working from home for specific roles.

Employee communication charter: As more employees will be working remotely, the thread tying them to the company’s vision and goals will be an employee-centric communication strategy. This will be more personalized, focused, creative, and unique. New ways will emerge to speak with them in their own voice. Virtual workshops, meet-and-greet sessions and knowledge sessions will be more strategic and curated to create new conversations.

New team structures: We do see new team structures evolving wherein it’s possible that some teams will not meet at all in person but function as virtual teams. This will create a new hierarchy and a totally new approach to team management and performance measurement. The remote workforce will require sophisticated collaboration tools and training methods, as well as altered job descriptions. HR teams will get geared up to manage this new kind of organization structure, with new focus, and build different kinds of working relationships.

Some of the initiatives will soon become the norm, rather than an exception. HR professionals will have to expand their abilities and understanding to factor in unique needs and mindset going forward. It is a time to challenge ourselves to reinvent the HR function and augment outreach with digital tools to create a new way to work.

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