Redefining a company’s role post Covid: a major challenge for HR departments in 2021

A new roadmap for HR departments

Over the past few months, HR departments have had to deal with an unprecedented health crisis, which has created new priorities for companies.

Digital companies for hybrid work methods: a new road map for HR departments

The level of digital maturity has had a direct impact on companies’ performance during this time when people are working from home. Companies that had already set up digital tools before the pandemic were able to capitalize on these solutions and ensure efficient continuity of their activities. Other companies that may have been late in the use of digital technology have had to implement solutions very quickly to deal with the new virtual work environment.

As we go in and out of lockdown and work in the office and at home, companies need to shift to a digital and hybrid workplace (ie. remote and in the office), as the environment will remain unpredictable for some time to come. HR also now needs to implement this work setup in the long term and pro-actively: remote working agreements need to be negotiated or renegotiated, tools need to be made available and management methods need to be reviewed.

The challenge for HR in 2021 will also be to rethink the work environment, by making the physical workplace better for social interaction, sharing and creativity, while capitalizing on the advantages of the Digital Workplace. We now need to redefine the scope and practices of variable work spaces for companies, with employees on site, at home or working from another location and this should be done in ways that will ensure long-lasting, agile and productive effects.

Bringing people together again after the pandemic is the first priority for HR

Working from home has caused some people to feel isolated while others have lost their sense of purpose and motivation. HR now needs to reestablish a sense of purpose and balance within companies. To do this, we will have to make sure that employees feel connected to each other and we need to reflect upon corporate culture and its role. How can you maintain corporate culture remotely? How do you keep people motivated and productive when they are working from home?

HR departments will need to offer employees new Digital Workplace services such as HR e-services, paperless processing, as well as HR chatbots that can reassure employees working remotely.

HR departments will need to acquire new skills

Today, HR not only has to take advantage of technologies such as AI, Cloud and big data to enhance the user experience and HR performance, but it must also be capable of understanding and managing these technologies. HR can no longer delegate technology to the IT departments, it must be capable of mastering algorithms and developing new skills by actively interacting with this technology.

Greater proficiency in digital technology will allow HR to be actively involved in this transformation. HR departments can thus ask the right HR questions with respect to the new technology and ensure an ethical outlook on certain practices that have been the focal point in 2020.

In 2021, HR will have a major role to play in assisting transformation within companies. HR needs to go beyond its usual administrative and legal activities and take an active and strategic role in leading and ensuring transformation.