Why HR Leaders Want to Prioritise People Again

Jan 5, 2023 | Blog

Why HR Leaders Want to Prioritise People Again

According to various human resource officers around Europe, the need to prioritise employee-centric policies is very much overdue.

For many years, HR operating models have been placing their focus on employee productivity and how to measure it. There is now a huge question mark being placed around whether these existing processes have totally replaced the creativity and innovation which is needed to recruit and further develop talent, manage, and reward good work performance as well as improve the workplace strategy.

In interviews conducted with some of Europe’s largest organisations, it was clear that chief human-resource officers (CHROs)are desperate for a shift to be made ‘back to human’. They have admitted that throughout the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic, it was made clear that the human element has been somewhat lost in the process of all these major technological advancements being rolled out worldwide.

There is a need for more agile HR models where employees can turn to HR for all their daily crisis management needs as well as for strategic thinking sessions regarding the workplace. There are four main areas of concern where CHROs want to adopt and implement more flexible policies, namely:

  1. Trying to engage more directly and deeply with employees
    The opportunity to build more personal, trusting relationships with employees has been greatly disturbed through the increase in hybrid work environments and encouragement for employees to be more self-sufficient. A massive difference can now be seen between the performance of those who are fully engaged and those who are not. It is important for key processes to be discussed face-to-face, to allow for a more open and honest conversation to take place. Topics such as coaching, mentoring, innovation, and brainstorming should be discussed to promote and build meaningful relationships.
  2. Allowing them to be confident in bringing their whole person to work
    This would include opening conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion and trying to understand each employee’s sense of purpose. HR needs to find ways to better understand and respect individual differences and encourage an environment where well-being is prioritised. It is proven that the relationship between employers and employees plays largely into employee satisfaction and work performance, therefore employees need to be individually heard in order to create a safe space for open conversation and allow room for improvements.
  3. Paving the way for new possibilities
    There is a shift happening, and a shift that will become more important in the years to come, where line managers will need to be empowered compared to only top management. This is so that the line managers will be able to focus on the employees’ mindsets and the skills they need. This will also allow for faster processes as there will not have to be a sign-off on each decision made by top management.
  4. Acting as a human capitalist
    Another change would be that talent acquisition should rather be spread across the entirety of the organisation. This approach will look closely into each employee and their specific skill set. Businesses will look at hiring more temporary workers outside of their company, such as freelancers, as this will lead to increased flexibility. This approach focuses on matching tasks with the required skill requirements and will therefore lead to better efficiency, therefore not limiting the skills to only those who are permanently employed by the company. Reskilling and upskilling will become of higher importance.

To try and segment employees according to their skills, needs, and wants, HR will deepen their real-time sensing of workplace mood and morale, and will assist in setting the appropriate agenda for the new workplace. HR plays a vital role in not only supporting those within the organisation, but also shaping them for a better, more sustainable future.

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