The pandemic has shaken up the world of work. In this period of unexpected and unprecedented change, during which many organisations have had to rethink the way they operate, HR teams have been catapulted into the spotlight.
On top of their regular responsibilities, HR professionals have had to respond to the crisis in different areas, such as administering furloughs, keeping remote teams connected and creating return-to-office plans. By acting as a strategic partner throughout the pandemic, human resources has proven itself to be the backbone of businesses, especially during crises.
To find out more about the impact of Covid-19 on businesses and their people strategies, and discover what lies ahead for HR teams, we surveyed 500 HR managers in the UK. Here’s what we found…
HR has played a vital role in helping businesses adapt
As businesses reeled following lockdown earlier in the year, HR was critical to helping them adjust to the new reality.
Eight out of 10 HR managers said HR has been integral to helping businesses successfully adapt to the new normal, while nine out of 10 rated the function’s response to the crisis as “good” or “very good”.
Now, as organisations begin to recover, 68 per cent of respondents expect human resources to have more responsibility, and they also expect it to continue to play a pivotal role in areas such as mental health (45 per cent), implementing new work initiatives (37 per cent) and long-term planning (33 per cent).
HR has become more strategic during the outbreak
The crisis has also given HR teams a unique opportunity to demonstrate what they’re best at: helping businesses make strategic decisions when it comes to their greatest asset, their people.
HR has added strategic value to the business during the pandemic, say 71 per cent of HR managers – with the same percentage saying the HR function has been more closely involved at board level.
Not only that, but HR managers are keen to continue playing this strategic role in the future – 80 per cent of them agree that it’s important for HR to maintain the strategic role it played during the outbreak. Meanwhile, a third point out that it’s vital that the profession becomes even more strategic as well as more agile and flexible to stay ahead in the future.
The right HR solutions and data are critical to success
It’s clear that an empowered, strategic HR is critical to business agility in times of crisis and beyond. However, in order to work strategically HR teams need to free up time that might currently be spent on admin processes, and digital solutions can make all the difference.
More than half of HR managers reported that they lacked the data and tools needed to support the business effectively during the crisis, whereas HR teams supported by digital solutions were not only more effective, but also better able to put recovery plans in place.
HR teams will be critical to supporting the return to the office and helping their organisations navigate the period after lockdown and beyond. Given the uncertainty ahead, organisations should act now to enable the HR function to operate effectively and strategically in the post-pandemic workplace.
By Laura Schroeder, Head of Brand, Personio
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