By Esti Barnett Rubin
I won’t open this piece talking about the pandemic. Who am I kidding, of course I will! Which articles don’t these days?
But really, it is important to contextualize that in the space of a year, Covid-19 changed our consciousness and work practises (and locations), forever. If you’re working in HR and haven’t yet taken steps towards cementing the re-design of the future of work, let us point you in the right direction.
1. HR ROLES WILL CONTINUE TO BECOME EVEN MORE STRATEGIC
You’ve navigated the pandemic and guided your people through it, from setting up WFH workstations and ensuring talents could thrive remotely, to supporting them during their dark days. Now, as we all adjust to our new work locations and rhythms, making strategic, long-term decisions that will drive your companies forward will increase. HR will have more of a say in determining business goals and outcomes through strategic hiring decisions. If you’re not considered a C-suite yet, you soon will be as your stakeholders will look to you to deliver a more effective, efficient, and value-driven workforce than ever before.
HYBRID WORKING WILL BE THE NEW NORMAL
Hear your people when they ask for (or don’t ask for but need) more flexibility. The lines between work and life have become more blurred, and talents have succeeded in a pressure cooker of pandemic related storms. Do you need that big office full of people or can collaborative work continue via Zoom? You’ll have to look at what works best for everyone on an individual basis and what brings the most value, because believing that returning to our pre-pandemic work lives completely is naive. Recent research suggests only 1% of HR leaders expect all of their employees to work full-time in the office proving that hybrid working is here to stay.
MENTAL HEALTH AND BEING HUMAN AS A PRIORITY
Psychological safety is still vital — how can you expect people to give you their 100% if they live in fear of being rebuked, ridiculed or ignored? But mental health goes way beyond the office walls. Your people have endured unprecedented conditions that have pushed them to their limits. Mental health and wellness will need to be nurtured, because the pressure and struggles have taken a toll; running a short workshop won’t cut it. LinkedIn has recently announced its given their 15,900 full-time workers a ‘RestUp!’ week in order to prevent burnout and show how important their well-being is. You might not be able to stretch that far, but as the one in charge of people operations, you’ll need to be human to your humans. They need it.
INCREASING DIVERSITY&INCLUSION, DECREASING BIAS&DISCRIMINATION
Never before has there been such a spotlight shone on issues surrounding diversity and inclusion when it comes to hiring. Do your hiring practises reduce the gender gap (in the US only 20% of all tech jobs are held by women)? Increase diversity? Remove unconscious bias like racial bias and ageism? Talents are wiser to these issues than ever before and will call out companies who hire by culture-fit only, so do everything you can to recruit without labels or presumptions. There’s some great SaaS out there that’s equalising the playing field for the under represented and making hiring fairer for all (including LNRD, of course).
Tech roles are seeing shorter shelf lives, a career will pivot on average five times, and it’s predicted 133 new unknown jobs will exist by 2022. The skills needed for future roles remain unknown, but the expectation is that for every new hire, up to 10 new skills will be required within 18 months. HR will need to be more agile because simply put —hiring by traditional job titles won’t deliver. Recruiters will need to look at potential, not just skills and experience, and work more closely with hiring managers to reverse engineer what, not who, is needed for that team to succeed. Being able to forecast compatibility between a talent and a manager/team will be crucial.
THE END OF SILOS
Horizontal teamwork, the increase in the demand for soft skills like EQ / communication, and collaborating to reach common goals is at the crux of many successful companies — no one can be an island. More and more we’re seeing these cross-functional alternative approaches through the breaking up of ‘departments’ into autonomous work groups, to end silos and improve the efficiency and innovation of a company as a whole.
SHOWING CULTURE, VALUES AND MANIFESTOS
Talents will continue to do their due diligence to evaluate companies in terms of values and culture. Manifestos will appear on more webpages and even office walls because talents want transparency. The ‘bro-tech’ culture is out — meaningful roles and finding ones tribe is in. Research shows that 9/10 employees are willing to earn less if they feel their work is more meaningful. Achieving professional and personal goals is a big incentive for job seekers; for the future of talent, learning, development, and growth is a must-have not a nice to have.
Feeling better about the present future? Remember, all of these points above are amazing opportunities for you to shine in your recruiting role — make every one of them count.