The transformation of the HR leader
The role of human resources has become increasingly central in the strategic function of a business. HR now sits across the entire organisation, guiding the wider workforce and the C-suite on best practices. This means that on top of managing employees, the HR leader also acts as a business adviser, sharing insight on how to improve productivity, consulting executives on a strategic level and ensuring the business complies to regulations and addresses legal matters.
Over time HR leaders have taken on an essential role, becoming agents of change for the business and helping companies and employees navigate a new working environment. And now that COVID-19 has transformed the workplace as we know it HR leaders are faced with a whole new set of challenges.
With a number of global organisations such as Twitter and Fujitsu choosing to adopt a flexible work-from-home policy, we expect many other businesses will follow suit. During this transition, The HR leader is going to be crucial in ensuring employees are up to date with the latest changes as they are implemented whilst providing staff with the tools and guidelines they need to work from home.
Along with ensuring employees are well equipped and prepared to work from home, HR teams will also need to support their staffs’ health and wellbeing just like they would in a physical workplace or office. Creating and delivering a culture which puts the health and wellbeing of their employees front and centre will be critical to maintaining a productive and healthy workplace in which everyone feels energised and engaged.
HR departments across the country are trying to navigate both their business and its employees through this turbulent time, while also juggling their day-to-day responsibilities, which can be challenging. To assist the HR leader with their role and help them cultivate a culture that connects employees in more meaningful ways, regardless of where they are based - such as encouraging them to boost their health and wellbeing - utilising technology will be key. And to ensure that their HR strategy is preparing for the workplace of the future and playing a central role in the company’s goals, there are three key tips that HR leaders can follow.
Create a culture that focuses on supporting employees as well as the overall business
COVID-19 has accelerated change in the workplace and in response to this, companies must adapt and develop their culture for the long-term. This includes creating a culture that focuses on health and wellbeing. HR leaders should create a positive working environment and improve morale within their team, as well as encourage and incentivise staff to take action and introduce healthy habits into their daily routines. Adopting this self-care culture will also assist in tackling a disengaged workforce, reducing absenteeism and boosting motivation.
Employees should be encouraged to take the steps to look after their own health so they don’t fall victim to burnout, which is a risk when working from home. Staff should be encouraged to take regular breaks throughout their day, whether it’s to practise mindfulness techniques or simply take a walk. Stepping away from their desk and spending time outside will help to reduce stress and clear their mind.
Implement a digital wellness plan
As HR leaders look to support their workforce remotely and create a culture focused on health and wellbeing, HR departments must consider incorporating digital wellness platforms into their HR strategy. Not only will this free up the time of the HR leader who must be cautious not to spread themself too thin, but it will allow them to reinstate a sense of community in the workplace. Implementing a wellness plan that employees can access digitally at home will help individuals set their own personal goals, encourage staff to participate in group activities and allow them to work towards living a healthier lifestyle. In turn, this will improve the work-life balance and contribute to creating a happier, more engaged workforce.
Be agents of change
As the position of HR leader continues to evolve in response to the ever-changing workplace, HR must play a direct role in transforming the strategy of the business. The responsibilities of today’s HR leader cover the whole organisation as they act as a middle man between the wider workforce and the C-suite. They advise the board on how to get the best out of their employees and encouraging change within the company that will help meet business objectives. HR leaders understand the impact business changes can have on staff and are highly skilled in communicating these changes to employees in a way which makes them feel included and valued. Having the HR leader involved in business changes will not only help facilitate the development of the company but they will also be hugely valuable as they act in the best interest of the employees and know how to protect them against the side effects of constant change.
A change in attitudes and the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated change in the workforce and positioned the HR leader as a key driver of change within the organisation. This gives the HR leader the power to implement transformational approaches and evolve the company into a workforce of the future. With so many responsibilities to juggle, HR leaders must be mindful of taking on too much responsibility and potentially neglecting the critical aspect of their role - promoting a culture that connects employees in meaningful ways, regardless of their location.
To achieve this vision, they must ensure that employees are happy and healthy so their efforts can be spent on playing a consultative role in the organisation. In order to succeed in this, wellness tech will play a key role in assisting the HR leader in their wellbeing strategy, allowing them to focus on other aspects of their role as their position continues to evolve, becoming increasingly important to the business.