The first time COVID-19 made its appearance, a lot of uncertainty, fear, and doubt ruled many people’s lives. Since all of it was new, absolutely no one knew exactly what to do.
Nearly two years have passed, and we have gathered all the information and forces available to fight against it. The good news is that we have done it effectively to a great extent, and the current recovery situation is looking optimistic.
However, there is no guarantee that we are ever going “back to normal” since what is “normal” has been completely redefined.
From now on, HR professionals will need to adjust to the new normal. Here are some post-COVID HR trends to be prepared for.
1. A bigger focus on remote work
If there is one thing that the pandemic changed for most employees, it’s remote work. With all the video-conferencing calls via Zoom and Skype, the business world is steadily making its way to normalizing remote working.
While reports show that remote working was already becoming popular before COVID, especially amongst the self-employed, it sped up its pace.
The Pew Research Center reports that prior to the pandemic, about 20 percent of Americans were working remotely. Right now, this number has gone up to 71 percent. And out of that percentage, 54 percent want to continue working remotely.
That said, we expect to see working practices becoming more flexible in time.
Some businesses may even need to invest in more permanent communication tools or services. These should help them keep in touch with their employees and be able to support them.
2. Embracing technology
Technology is always at the forefront of change and will play a significant role in post-COVID HR trends.
When it comes to recruiting new talent, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and blockchain technology will bring more changes in HR. With the possibility of streamlining the hiring process and improving the quality of the hires, the possibilities are endless.
But that’s not all that technology can do. Recruiting tech-savvy candidates that come with digital and transferable skills is more beneficial. This can help create a modern and ever-changing working environment that is adaptable and ready to face any potential challenge.
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3. Prioritizing employee well-being
More and more companies are putting their employees first.
Not only that, but they are also showing a willingness to address any health and safety issues. The trend of adopting a more people-centric company culture as opposed to business-centric is a positive turn of events. Now employers are being more understanding, aware, and flexible in ensuring the well-being of employees.
One way organizations can do this is by providing employees with better rewards and incentives. Time off or holistic benefit offerings can address both their mental and physical concerns.
Many famous companies are leading the way, showing others how it’s done. During the season of reduced demand, Microsoft continued paying their hourly workers who were offering their support. While Starbucks started offering more mental health benefits and therapy sessions to all its U.S.-based employees and family members starting in April 2020.
4. Rethinking current business practices
HR managers need to adapt to changing times, and to do so, they need to do a thorough re-assessment of company policies and practices. They need to look into what worked and didn’t work for employees during the crisis.
While some industries were lucky enough to survive the pandemic, some had cut down staff, or worse, close down.
Deloitte’s Workforce strategies for post-COVID-19 recovery workbook offers a helping hand to all managers who are rethinking their business practices. The workbook focuses on three key pillars: 1) respond, 2) recover, and 3) thrive. Considering every aspect of the business that needs to change, this guide can help organizations succeed.
5. Changing learning and training methods
When it comes to post-COVID HR trends, moving away from face-to-face learning and making use of e-learning resources is likely to be especially valuable.
Online learning has proven to be an effective and reliable method of providing training. In fact, it has been a lifesaver during the difficult coronavirus days. Given that e-learning is inexpensive and more efficient, more businesses will choose to invest in it and replace old training practices.
Webinars, virtual classrooms, online courses, video training, and mobile learning are trending. Many tools that can offer this type of training like LMSs (learning management systems), onboarding tools, and course platforms can improve employee training programs.
6. Relying on data to make decisions
When the financial situation of a business is unsteady, the need to forecast workforce requirements and reduce costs becomes paramount.
In order for HR managers to make well-informed decisions that will help sustain a business, they need to focus on data analytics.
Data analytics will provide the most reliable source of information, helping organizations successfully recruit candidates, as well as measure and monitor employee performance, engagement, and productivity.
A Look Into the Future
All these post-COVID HR trends pave the way for a new direction for the HR industry. New HR practices will soon replace the old, and companies will adopt the ones that will help them grow.
Pay attention to employees’ well-being, exploit all the tools available to you, and make data-driven decisions. Help your company survive through these troubled times and thrive in the future.