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While the pandemic has brought in a lot of misfortune to the environment, society, people and businesses, the only beacon has been technology. In regards to HR technology, the industry has gone through growth and evolution continuously and the most it has been in the past years. New vendors appeared, the leaders were working on ways to be more and more helping and complying with the remote work model in the start and now to the hybrid one.

As per the top Industry analyst Josh Bersin have said that the pandemic has reset the way we work and manage. A new leadership model, change in culture and upskilling, reskilling, the employers and employees both have changed a lot for the good.

The technology has been there like always, infact even more this time to support the endeavors and help the companies in this tough time.

But what does the future seem like how has the HR community and tech been this year exactly? Let’s have a recap and what the future holds here.

  • The four phases- React, respond, return and transform were the four main phases. They didn’t have any clear transition line,every industry has a different timeline but these four sure happened. At start companies were taken aback, and considered working on the main things that enable work like IT, travel, equipments etc and HR software played an integral part in each of the phases. In the respond phase they looked beyond the basics and thought of helping employees while they work from home juggling between personal and professional life by giving them flexible timings, and mental health leave, etc. In the third phase, offices started to open up but with limited workforce being allowed. In this phase they learnt to be more empathetic and considerate. They adopted measures to minimise the risk of virus. In the last phase, they start working on discovering a ew way to work.

  • Areas most focused on- There were fours areas that were most focused on while people were working from home. They were culture & wellbeing, and transforming learning, leadership and return to workplace. In each of these certain changes were being thought of. For instance, how the changes in culture and wellbeing can be done to be more supportive towards the employees were considered. The workforce transformation group on the other hand looked upon how productivity can be maximised by changing roles, skills or work processes. The third area is more focused on learning and management. This included upskilling, reskilling employees and improving their overall skills and way to work so that they can do the work independently. Then comes the fourth area that discussed and worked on the safety and sanitisation aspect.

  • Changing role of leadership- In distributed work model, the employers learnt to trust and delegate more responsibilities. However, when people started joining back, the leaders starting accepting the new reality and started thinking broadly. Now even at work, leaders have become more flexible, inclusive, empathetic and connecting at a personal level. This shift happened because leaders understood that it is not necessary to tell the team what to do and to have an answer for everything. It is more about the team effort, trusting people and allowing them to take the lead too in some tasks.

  • Employee anxiety- Employees were/are facing anxiety due to various reasons. It can be something personal, coming to office and getting the virus, or not having to go outdoors or meet people, their families. So, a directed and strong effort is required towards helping them manage it. This also means that you should first and foremost make sure that your employees have faith in you. When you call them back to work they should see how safe joining back is. So, companies started setting the whole tempo before they actually called people to work.For instance, employees would be asked to join a video meeting wherein the HR head and the CEO will address the people. Why? Because that creates more impact and trust. Giving them the live tour of the arrangements done to keep all the employee safe and then announcing batches t rejoin work was done. This reduced employee anxiety certainly. Infact, they also started using HR software to share the updates on a regular basis.

Where are we heading now?

Clearly, the key priorities of every industry, employee, employer have changed/ are changing in this pandemic. We now are moving rapidly towards a more hybrid work model, where asking for flexibility of any sort when it comes to work isn’t frowned upon. The reset till now has been quite quick, at first employers barely had any option but now they have adapted their workstyles and learnt how inseparable and above all being humane and thoughtful of the people that work for you and the society is. The employers have also developed a sense of responsibility towards the society and community.

When we think of HR tech and its contribution, it has undoubtedly been immense. The market leaders have incessantly worked on refining their products and making them more and more helpful for their users. Treating mobile app as an equivalent of the web version and loading it with features was one of the things that never got so much attention earlier. But, now that wa the need of the hour. Besides this, accelerating rewards and recognition, giving the option to chat to help everyone stay in touch and collaborate better must not be skipped a mention too.

Lastly, yes, the practices, ideas and protocols are quite new for everyone but this year we could have not done without them. Continuously there has been a lot of learning and unlearning and we must look back and keep with us whatever brought positive cultural change. L&D, flexibility, trust, empathy and becoming resilient should continue to be a work in progress. Because even when this was not a black swan event, the impact as been no less!

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