Latest Synopsis

theHRDIRECTOR – Latest Synopsis


Independence is our strength – covering the issues that directly impact on those with the duty of directing human resources

ISSUE 209 – Synopsis – MARCH

Health & wellbeing – leadership awareness
The life and times of detached leadership is history, as the era of honesty and transparency dawns. Before this crisis that forced people apart, leadership was already on a journey, one that transposed disconnection and inaccessibility with transparency, empathy and candour and saw leaders admit when they were overwhelmed, struggling and vulnerable. It has been nothing short of revelatory, levelling and surprisingly reassuring and, as the hybrid working model evolves, those skills, hitherto called “soft”, will simply be “leadership qualities”. Leaders cannot sustain through these tumultuous and changing times without pragmatic introspection about their own health and wellbeing and that depends upon having confidence in a network of support. Platforms, pedestals, ivory towers and never admitting failure, was a mandate for the scale of isolation, mental stress and burnout that was an escalating pandemic in its own right. But now there is an opportunity to make important changes from what has been learnt over the past two years. The impact of COVID on changes to organisational structures, design and remote management, will require even more effort and thought. So how can leaders be developed and supported to be more honest with themselves, in order to turn the tables on a mental health crisis?

Technology to manage people
The biting point at which the tech tool gears synchronise with the clutch of human intervention, will drive the wheels forward into the future. With correctly calibrated data synergy, recruiters are able to identify, recruit and onboard, keeping the talent pipeline flowing, whilst talent and performance managers are equipped with the real-time information to optimise and retain and business planners have the right resourcing efficiency and skills capability to execute plans. Unquestionably, this alliance of tech and HR is a fundamental keystone, but as technology gains capability and credibility, HR practitioners, recruiters, line, team managers and leaders need support, as they experience increased tech advancement, at the same time as reduced human input. But the rise of AI in workforce modelling, productivity and performance assessment is not without controversy and big data presents ethical challenges. Where tech intervention is being wrongly interpreted as a loss of control, businesses risk declining competitiveness and a retrospective operational mindset that could fuel a legacy-fixated culture. It is taken as read that technology will continue to roll into all aspects of people management at all levels, which will demand accelerated tech adoption during the evolvement of hybrid working. There is a greater need for consultation, developing people at the same pace as the tech change that surrounds them, empowering with technical knowledge, confidence and vocabulary and acknowledging AI, data and analytics as allies, not adversaries. So, what does the future of tech in people management hold and how can organisations optimise the potential?

Home/office working – practical and sustainable balance
That it took a pandemic to at last bring the world of work in line with the modern needs of people’s lives is a strange paradox. Equally, it was a state of isolation that informed about the true meaning of equality and inclusion and, in dark and uncertain times, humanity and empathy came to the fore in a way that was never realised in the conventions of the nine-to-five. With a greater appreciation of the diverse complexity in people’s lives and as hybrid working takes form, organisations need to call on recent experience to inform on the future. One crucial element is the acknowledgment that despite the disruption and the forced rush to remote working, businesses maintained operations – and it was a relief for some and a revelation for others – that people were responsible, adaptable and resilient. What the future represents is change for the better, mutual advantage and benefit and a sustainable and practical plan to enable people to live healthier, happier and more supported lives. Hybrid working will be about striking the right balances around where and when people work, utilising human adaptivity and resilience to meet business needs, but with synergy and an understanding that people have lives outside of work. In this issue, we will be assessing the measures that must be introduced to sustain the home/work structure, from a legal, health and wellbeing and practical perspective and we will gratefully receive your suggestions for articles on this huge subject.

New rules of engagement
Never before has there been such a challenging juxtaposition of change and complexity, as the world of work jettisons away from that tired old orbit so familiar to generations. HR must find an effective and sustainable balance of turbo-boosting static business ambitions, set against heightened “employeetricity”. An employee spring has formed in the wake of the pandemic’s maelstrom, the tide has turned and many organisations are discovering that the battle for crucial talent and skills has turned into an unsustainable and potentially toxic bidding war. Meanwhile, existing returners – through a combination of experiencing greater control over life/work balance and against a backdrop of very low unemployment and an excruciating talent drought – have the upper hand and can call the shots. So, what can be done? One factor remains intact, that culture underpins everything and to assume that it has emerged undamaged would be a mistake. This is a time for healing in the wake of the pandemic and, central to the reformation of normal, is adapting new work parameters and policies and culture must be amplified, be clear and relatable in order to navigate readjustment. Centre stage is DEI and a friendly, proactive company culture that embraces complete diversity, is not just a nice to have, but a strategy, in order to garner diversity of thought and background and to provide people with the training, learning and development required for existing resourcing needs, as well as transferable skills. With more remote working predicted, supporting people to be confident, self-motivated and empowered to fulfil their own ambitions will be crucial to outcome. As with all our subjects for this issue, we welcome your suggestions for potential articles.

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