The Josh Bersin Academy, a global HR development network, has recently released a report; in which the academy spoke to over 150 HR leaders to explore the key challenges that are currently being faced by HR and industry leaders across the world.

The report has found that many HR teams are beginning to expand their scope of responsibility in order to adapt to the new hurdles brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. In several cases, HR teams and leaders have even transitioned into completely new roles in order to adapt.

Now, more than ever, health and safety is becoming a topic of growing importance; and HR professionals are now having to learn more about workplace safety, public health, and facilities design. These areas have not been a high nor low priority for most companies, but the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic has ensured that these factors remain a top concern for businesses.

The report said that every industry is in the middle of a business transformation, with customers wanting to do business differently through “low-touch” interactions with companies products and services.

Regular employees are also seeing a change in their roles to include safer ways to commute to work, what to wear, and protocols around using public and shared spaces. It is therefore imperative for HR leaders to create a new support structure for employees at all levels, including frequent communications, surveys, and feedback.

According to report, companies such as Chubb and Autodesk used internal Slack channels to create family and friend caretaking tools, tutoring aid and cooking classes. Other companies such as Nokia identified employees who were most likely to live alone at home in order to provide them with special attention and support.

Josh Bersin, independent consultant and dean of the Josh Bersin Academy, said there were new priorities for HR including real-time communication, agile problem solving and the creation of a multi-functional HR structure.

“When we started this work, we saw that HR organisations were grappling with issues around new ways of working, changing financial priorities, and a deeper focus on trust and employee wellbeing. HR professionals were also taking on new roles and responsibilities to support their companies and workforces in new ways,” he said.

Across the globe, HR leaders are looking for new ways to make work easier while remaining as productive and efficient as possible. For example, developing training and support programs to teach people how to run meetings, manage remotely, and stay focused in a world of never-ending interruptions.

The report concluded that HR’s focus over the coming months will include new financial priorities and budgets, a more empathetic role for leadership and a renewed and deeper focus on trust.


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