Reflections on HR: The New HR Agenda in an Ever-Evolving Landscape (Part 1)

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As we enter Q4 of 2021, it’s a great time to reflect and think about how our organizations continue to adapt in times of uncertainty. What are the realities we’re going to face in 2022 and beyond? How are our organizations coping with constant change? Specifically, what have we learned as HR professionals, and how has our role evolved given the circumstances faced in the last few years?

Gone are the days when being in HR meant timesheets and administrative work. Being the heart and hand of every organization, we’ve seen time and time again how HR can drive organizational success by merely tapping into what they do best: focusing on people. This is especially true during the height of the pandemic wherein the “human factor” simply cannot be ignored anymore.

Taking a one-size-fits-all approach is no longer effective. Thus, resilient people leaders make quick pivots and remain agile. Empathetic HR leaders are well attuned to the needs of their employees and can adjust to the moment. More than ever, to flourish amidst a global pandemic and beyond, companies need human-centered leaders who care For All™️– their employees, the employees’ families, and the wider community.

As HR leaders, how can we transform our roles to cater to the new realities that we face? What is the new HR agenda?

1. HR as a strategic business partner

Keeping organizations afloat during a crisis and handling the aftereffects takes skill and foresight. The best workplaces not only survived but thrived during this challenging time. Bold acts of leadership and the ability to create an environment of trust ultimately led to an increase in engagement and employee satisfaction. As seen in our Philippines Best Workplaces™️ 2021 report, the overall average of those on the list for the Trust Index™️ survey increased by 4% during the height of the pandemic (87% in 2020, while 2021’s benchmark is now at 91%). Our role as HR leaders is to gain perspective and look at things through the lens of the business. Our decisions need to have credibility, fairness, and respect for our people to create great workplaces For All. How do we develop an HR strategy that will ultimately boost the performance of the company, maximize the human potential of our employees, and in turn achieve our organizational goals?

2. HR as a leader for digital transformation

With the shift from physical offices to work-from-home setups, converting our workflows to make way for the digital age is imperative if we want to retain efficiency in how we operate. Finding ways for people to work in concert with new technologies has been a critical priority of organizations that successfully transitioned to the new normal. This includes investing in the tech, data, processes, and people to enable speed through better decisions and faster course corrections based on what they learn​. We can pave the way by using data analytics to gain insights and create solutions that will best support our people. We can look for smarter and more sustainable ways to integrate new technology, tools, and automized processes that will help boost human resource productivity.

3. HR as a designer for meaningful employee experiences

Creating great workplaces For All is at the core of what we do as HR leaders. We design programs and policies that look out for the needs of the business, our people, our customers, and the communities that we are part of. How can we provide meaningful experiences for our people given the complexities of how we work now? How do we build an inclusive culture for our diverse employee groups? As told by the best workplaces, it’s having a “people-first, purpose-driven” culture that genuinely takes into account the unique needs of their people while staying grounded by the values of the company. When your employees have consistent positive experiences in the organization and a high level of trust, it creates a ripple effect that extends to your customers and your communities, thus driving your organization forward.

Don’t miss out! Continue your reading on the new HR agenda with part two.

Re-evaluate your workplace culture

Want to know how your company culture compares to the World’s Best Workplaces™️? Find out how your culture stacks up with our employee survey and Great Place to Work Certification™.

Denise Baje

Denise is a people advocate and a firm believer that company success is a direct result of employee success. Her mission at Great Place to Work® is to help her clients evaluate and elevate their company culture. When she’s not managing projects, weekends are spent meditating to music, watching films, reading tarot, or experimenting in the kitchen. Her idea of a perfect day includes an iced coffee by the beach, freediving in the ocean, making art, and eating good food with friends and family. 

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To be eligible for the World’s Best Workplaces list, a company must apply and be named to a minimum of 5 national Best Workplaces lists within our current 58 countries, have 5,000 employees or more worldwide, and at least 40% of the company’s workforce (or 5,000 employees) must be based outside of the home country. Extra points are given based on the number of countries where a company surveys employees with the Great Place to Work Trust Index©, and the percentage of a company’s workforce represented by all Great Place to Work surveys globally. Candidates for the 2017 Worlds Best Workplaces list will have appeared on national workplaces lists published in September 2016 through August 2017.