Successful HR in a turbulent work environment

The new world of work is presenting significant challenges for HR professionals; from the convergence of pandemic and economic turbulence to changing employee perceptions of the workplace. Read on for some considerations when planning your response to an unprecedented combination of internal and external factors.

Do more with less

Budgets are under pressure and some employers seek to slow or halt recruitment, expecting employees to increase their quality and/or output. Some will eliminate staff development altogether. But there are other things you can do to achieve better outcomes with less. For starters, embrace digital transformation, leveraging technology to improve the employee experience, enhance productivity, and drive innovation. Adopting a digital-first mindset and investing in technologies, such as automation, artificial intelligence, and analytics, can help to streamline operations, reduce costs, and improve the employee experience.

Focussing on the employee experience provides another opportunity to do more with less. This involves creating a positive, engaging work environment that motivates and inspires employees. For example, offer flexible work arrangements, provide opportunities for development and growth, and foster a culture of collaboration and teamwork. By prioritising the employee experience, organisations can improve engagement, reduce turnover, and increase productivity.

Secure the best available talent

Turnover has been a hallmark of the post-pandemic workplace, so how can you ensure you are first to attract and engage the best available talent? There is no doubt that recruitment can be challenging, but it’s also an opportunity to rethink traditional approaches and leverage technologies and recent trends. So, how can you nail recruitment in the new world of work?

Embrace flexible work arrangements: According to a recent survey by LinkedIn, 73% of job seekers say that flexible work arrangements are important to them, and 50% say they would consider leaving their current job for a role that offered more flexibility. 

Leverage AI in Recruitment: AI is transforming the recruitment process by automating tedious tasks, improving candidate screening, and engaging the best candidates quickly.

Use data analytics to optimise recruitment strategies: Data analytics can help HR to optimise their recruitment strategies by identifying which channels and tactics are the most effective in attracting top talent.

Prioritise the candidate experience: When it comes to attracting and retaining talent, nothing is more critical than the candidate experience. HR can improve the candidate experience by providing a seamless and personalised recruitment process.  

Onboarding in a hybrid or remote environment

The success of this process in setting the right tone for an employee is crucial, but with the rise of hybrid work models, onboarding is even more challenging. HR must create a customised onboarding plan that includes both virtual and in-person elements. A successful plan should include virtual orientation, virtual training, virtual team building, and in-person socialisation and HR should ensure every employee receives the same level of training and support, regardless of whether they are working remotely or in-person.

Clear communication is essential in a hybrid work model. HR must ensure that new employees receive clear communication about company policies, expectations, and responsibilities. HR should provide new employees with a clear onboarding roadmap that outlines what to expect during their first weeks and months. Remember, the first 90 days are crucial to retention and onboarding is not a ‘set and forget’ undertaking. HR must also ensure that new employees understand how to communicate with their colleagues and managers, both in-person and virtually.

How to ensure the best possible employee experience

Attitudes are changing and employees are ‘quiet quitting’ by only performing those tasks that are necessary to the role and no more. The impact of employee experience on positive levels of engagement and productivity cannot be understated. Organisations are recognising that employees have different needs, preferences, and work styles, and that a one-size-fits-all approach is no longer sufficient. By tailoring the employee experience to the individual, organisations can create a more engaging and fulfilling work environment.

Work-life balance is another key consideration. Employees are increasingly looking for work arrangements that allow them to balance their work and personal lives. By creating an environment that supports work-life balance, organisations can help to improve employee engagement and productivity.

The same is true for a focus on employee wellness. Organisations that prioritise employee wellness can benefit from increased employee engagement, improved productivity, and reduced absenteeism and turnover. This trend is particularly relevant today, as employees face new and unique challenges related to the pandemic, remote work, etc.

Technology has an important role

Technology can help shape the employee experience, bridging the gap between employee and organisation. For example, employee self-service (ESS) portals can improve the employee experience by allowing employees to access information and resources quickly and easily, such as checking payslips, requesting leave, and updating personal information. ESS can reduce administrative burdens on HR teams whilst providing employees with more autonomy and control over their work lives.

During 2023 and beyond, HR will face challenges that will require a fresh approach. Using a combination of analysis, employee-first thinking and technology, solutions are at hand. But fortune favours the brave, and action is required to ensure your organisation not only survives these turbulent times but thrives in them.

Article originally published on Public Sector Focus April 2023