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The Transformation of HR: What Do We Do Now?

Mickael Cabrol, Managing Director EMEA, iCIMS

Welcome to the brave new world of HR. While we are not living in anything close to Aldous Huxley’s dystopian society, the last year brought an alternate reality for most of us.

There were radical shifts in the way we do business. How we work is distinctly different today, and more change will undoubtedly come when we enter the new post-COVID-19 world.

Employers must adapt to survive. How should we, as HR professionals, redirect resources and evolve our approach to ensure a thriving, successful workforce and business?

Support the decentralised workforce
Office culture defined the modern workplace. Until it didn’t.

The pandemic forced an experiment in remote work that made many business leaders rethink objections to the work from home model. A study from iCIMS found that half of HR professionals say their organisation is loosening or removing location requirements with remote work, and 53% say they are providing stipends or hiring bonuses for home office set-ups.

There is an opportunity for HR and talent leaders to build on this foundation, moving to a flexible hybrid model. A thoughtful approach is required to create a consistent culture while also balancing the different needs of in-person and virtual work.

Businesses adopted new digital tools aimed at virtual collaboration in droves last year. Think about how to recalibrate these solutions to improve the experience and outcomes for HR. For instance, make sure there is an integration between collaboration and talent acquisition solutions to help keep hiring teams in their workflow while scheduling meetings, conducting interviews, and providing feedback on candidates.

When thinking about the in-person experience, be mindful not to treat it the same as working from home. Limit virtual meetings and dedicate time to the human connection with creative sessions and workshops.

Upgrade mobile and video strategies
It is critical to have a comprehensive communication strategy.

HR teams should be thinking about all of their stakeholders and delivering consistent news and updates across all channels. At the onset of the pandemic, mass communication challenges plagued many organisations. Speaking from experience, we were not set up for success.

For years we have said texting helps you stay connected with deskless and on the go candidates. Now that we are in a work-from-anywhere culture, text engagement tools make for a more efficient way to keep in communication, from sharing updates with current employees to staying top of mind with candidates.

Getting on board with video tools is also vital. Many organisations went full steam ahead with video tools last year. As we begin getting back to normal and settle into a hybrid working environment, we should consider a hybrid video approach.

Video can help HR teams foster culture and create authentic connections across a decentralised workforce. Showcase compelling video content on career sites and in internal communications to engage with current and potential employees.

Video can also help increase hiring efficiencies. Streamline the evaluation process using video tools for initial interviews and assessments, bringing only final candidates in-person.

Embrace the changing face of the workforce
The workforce has shifted demographically in response to the pandemic. Some working parents have had to make tough decisions to leave the workforce. In contrast, older workers are staying on the job and applying for new roles.

The events of 2020 also sparked a renewed focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). There was a shift from a compliance mindset to a more strategic emphasis on attracting and hiring diverse talent. Despite racially and ethnically diverse women making up the largest portion of hires in 2020, many organisations are concerned they do not have the right tools to reach diverse talent as we head into the new world of work.

As workforce dynamics change, it is more critical than ever to take a holistic approach to HR and recruitment. Employers need to work harder to support staff and candidates of all demographics.

Leaders should strengthen their ability to drive diversity with tech. Perform a workforce and talent pool analysis, looking for biases across people, processes, and systems. Leverage engagement tools to broaden talent pools with non-traditional internal and external talent.

Consider the skills needed to adapt to new challenges and accelerate success in this new world of work. There may be an opportunity to tap into internal talent to address gaps. Creating upskilling and reskilling programs can improve employee engagement and net retention – which is especially important in this competitive labour market.

Moving forward
We must foundationally change our thinking and ways of working or risk inevitable failure.  From where we work, to how we communicate and work together, to who we work with will be forever changed.

HR must undergo a transformation. This is a strong sentiment, but I believe it to be true.

Now is the time to take stock in what’s worked or not the last year and operationalise those processes and tools more effectively to adapt for the future.

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