How HR can lead in a changed working landscape

May 25, 2022 | 5 Mins Caitlyn Simons

The recruitment and retention landscape has changed in the post pandemic world. Global employees now have more options and can work remotely for any company in the world if they have the right skillsets. They are more likely to move jobs and take advantage of opportunities that allow them the kind of work life balance lifestyle that they desire.

HR managers and professionals are facing a range of new challenges due to the new normal of having hybrid and remote working environments. With mandatory office attendance receding into the background and face-to-face communications becoming less common, there is a need to find a way to communicate and lead in this culture of change.

The messages companies give out and the policies they introduce in the next year or two could be crucial for recruitment and retention strategies. In this article we’ll look at some ways in which HR professionals can lead effectively in this changed working world.

Different landscape, different requirements

The global pandemic came along and turned the working world upside down. The human resources department was affected as much as everybody else; they too were a once traditional department very much focused on delivering their duties from an office location and their duties in recruitment, retention, payroll, policy making and training, were often considered traditional.

And while these traditional practices are still very much a part of the HR function, the reality of 2022 is that they are operating in a dramatically different working culture and environment. Remote and hybrid work have become the norm, resulting in global employees no longer meeting each other face to face on a regular basis- remote onboarding and digital interaction is now common.

It is now more difficult to hire people, offers need to be tweaked to get that specialist candidate over the line and the more traditional salary and compensation packages now have to compete against companies who are implementing initiatives that can offer 100% remote working or a great deal of flexibility around when employees deliver their core duties. Working parents for example might be a lot more interested in flexibility than in the salary, if there is not a significant gap. This means they will get to work on their terms at times that suit them outside of the traditional 9 to 5 which will be a positive benefit for their work-life balance and overall well-being.  Retention has become more of a challenge too, remote work offers are becoming very competitive, and location is no longer an issue.

Social media, company review forums and websites are now commonplace. Employees can talk to each other from all over the world. Companies get reviewed, which means that HR and business leaders now have to work much harder to make their companies appear like an attractive working environment. It’s a very different landscape with a very different set of requirements.

Think of employees as ambassadors

This is one way that HR professionals can lead in a time of change, and it might be good business practice to consider employees in this light. They are ambassadors whether you like it or not. It is just a question of whether or not they have positive things to say about you, the global employer.

The employer is now seen as a brand and brands often get discussed and criticized. Employees have a lot of networking opportunities available to them, such as online forums and of course social media. This way employees can interact and air their views, freely and without filter. They often communicate anonymously with a captive online audience, who like it or not, do have the power to influence public perception of an organization.

So, HR professionals need to lead when it comes to employee engagement and experience and take the view that each and every one of their employees are potential ambassadors in waiting. View them as people who can help boost their companies’ public brand profile and spread positive news about the business, the employee experience, the competitive nature of salary, benefits, and perks. Furthermore, promoting what the company offers above and beyond salary can make a big difference and impact. Essentially what we are talking about here is the working culture, the day-to-day environment and the manner in which employees and senior people in the organization relate to each other, interact, and collaborate with each other.

HR leaders therefore need to have an HR strategy in which they become a hybrid of HR professional, brand builder and marketer. Those who look on this as an opportunity to lead and excel in a changing world will be the ones who succeed.

Embrace technology

In the above paragraph, we talked about technology in the form of social media, perhaps representing difficulties and challenges for when it comes to brand building, but it can also be a positive thing if embraced and leveraged in the right way.

The reality of technology and social media means that HR teams now have a more direct way to contact and influence potential candidates and future employees. They no longer have to wait for CVs to come to them or outsource the work to expensive recruitment agencies, they can now build their own brand online, create a network of interested parties and interact with them via content. This embraces and leverages technology for the positive things that it can do as a potential brand builder for a global employer, it is an opportunity for HR to lead and gain traction among potential interested candidates.

Candidates today will follow a company brand long before they ever submit a CV or apply for a job. They will look up the profile of HR leaders online through professional network sites like LinkedIn, they will have as much research done on you as you will on them! But this can be to your advantage if you approach technology and social media with the right attitude and a clear understanding of who your potential audience could be. It is a simple case that there is an opportunity in every challenge, it all comes down to how you go about it.

Lead by thinking about what kind of content can help create a strong employer brand and a great company narrative, and then consider the digital platforms and ways in which to get this message across. Smart, inventive, and punchy videos uploaded to social media will likely go a lot further than long winded documents and company descriptions.

If your employees are your brand ambassadors, then see what ways you can get them involved. Leading is about connecting with an audience, understanding their needs, and communicating the fact that your organization has what they are looking for. You have to communicate in order to inspire and motivate, these are the two things needed for action and HR leaders today have the opportunity to influence this level of action.

Don’t forget that this is a data driven world; technology, the Internet, and social media has led to an explosion in data but there is an opportunity to explore and leverage this data to better understand how you can lead and make informed decisions in a much-changed landscape.

 

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