HR Leaders: Best Practices in a Changed HR World

June 8, 2022 | 5 Mins Caitlyn Simons

It has been a challenging time for HR leaders at multinational companies everywhere. After a difficult two years of the pandemic, they are facing a lot of challenges around recruitment and retention, as well as employee engagement.

The culture and world of work has changed, remote working and video conferencing are now the new normal and are also the preferred way of working for many. Benefits and compensation packages are changing in the war for talent and there are changes in the legislation and labor laws surrounding this new work from anywhere concept.

HR professionals need to grow and adapt if they are to be successful with recruitment and retention and they also need to look at best practices for the employee experience and the initiatives that they can implement to ensure that the human resource management department continues to play a valuable role in the company culture.

This article will look at a few best practices that HR leaders can consider when navigating this changed working world.

Embrace Complexity

One best practice to implement is to simply embrace complexity. It has been two years of upheaval due to an unforeseen global pandemic and there is no rulebook or set of rules to follow in a situation like this. An entire workforce was sent to work from home very rapidly and HR managers had no set playbook, industry guidance or best practices to follow, so complexity was everywhere. One approach to think about is to embrace complexity, accept that it is here, and also accept that there will always be something to manage and handle.

Complexity is not going away, especially for the next five years or so while the world waits to see what this work from anywhere concept looks like in practice when it has had time to bed in. The ramifications are not yet clear, and we do not know whether or not there will be damaging consequences or if it will prove to be a force of positive change. HR team members in the meantime have to tread water and deal with the fallout from a major shock to the working culture as best they can.

Embracing complexity and accepting that it will always be there will help HR teams to acclimatize to a much-changed environment and come to their jobs with a greater sense of calm and resilience. By having a calmer and more accepting HR department, then they can set a good example for their employees, who would most likely be just as anxious about what the future of work holds for them. But by having an HR department that can work through an increasingly complex work landscape and still remain positive and optimistic about their work, then perhaps their employees can follow suit and a more reassuring working environment can be created.

Recruit for diversity

As the world has changed and the ways in which we deliver our core work duties have changed, a global employee base that is diverse and different may be the way forward. Different cultures and different time zones may also mean a need for a diverse range of new employees from different cultures, backgrounds, and countries.

Aiming for diversity may increase the number of ideas put into play to improve business practices, it is best to hear from a wide variety of people from a wide variety of backgrounds. If the work culture is changing dramatically, then prioritizing diversity may help HR leaders get ahead and deal with dramatic change.

Company perceptions are important, employee networking is happening all the time and thanks to social media and online forums, employees from all around the world can talk to each other and offer their opinions. If a recruitment drive hires too many similar types of employees or people from the same race or background, this is something that gets noticed and commented upon. Therefore, embracing and encouraging diversity can help with your company’s image and brand, job seekers will be able to see that your company wants a diverse workforce and is open to accepting all kinds of cultures and creative individuals who will be able to enhance their workforce and create a work environment that is supportive and forward thinking.

There is a new generation of employees who are quite conscientious when it comes to choosing their global employer, they want to work in a diverse organization, meet and interact with diverse people in the hope that this level of diversity can broaden their scope for learning and development. This is a topic that is important to employees, therefore it should also be important to HR leaders. By creating such a working environment and acknowledging the employee’s priorities, then this could help boost your employee retention.

Consider the ecosystem

This is about the relationship that the HR function has with other business units either directly connected or not. From a purely technological perspective, it can be said that human resources have a direct relationship with finance and payroll. Data needs to flow seamlessly between these two departments so that the professionals operating inside of them can do their jobs in smarter, faster, and better ways.

The ecosystem also extends to the leadership team and the global employee base. In terms of company culture and values, HR cannot operate in isolation or in silos, they need to be on the same page as the C-Suite executive team and they need to be spreading the message in a unified way. This is how culture; brand and a set of behaviors develop.

The ecosystem also includes the employees. Understandably, success requires everybody rowing in the same direction, the employee base needs to respect and trust HR leaders and feel that they have full clarity around any policies that they implement. There is an expectation here of a level of transparency and honesty. This is relationship building and bridging the gap between HR and the employee. This is more difficult than ever now that face to face interactions are significantly reduced and considering the wider ecosystem as part of any plan of action is important for HR workers to be seen and heard. The tools and methods they use to communicate with this ecosystem will be crucial.

The HR leadership role will evolve as the working culture evolves, it is vital that HR attitude and understanding keeps pace with employee expectations. Losing touch with what is happening out there in the workforce creates gaps in trust and understanding. Making the wider ecosystem a touchstone of any behavior set or policy will help to avoid these gaps.

The HR landscape is a changed world as a result of the pandemic, but by considering the above best practices of embracing complexity and not being deterred by it, as well as creating a diverse workforce that considers and acknowledges the surrounding ecosystem, then perhaps navigating HR will become easier.


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