Reflections on HR: The New HR Agenda in an Ever-Evolving Landscape (Part 2)

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Stay in the know. Catch up on part one here.

In the Philippines, we are admittedly still dealing with the realities of the new normal brought about by the pandemic, and it’s safe to say that 2021 has been a year of transitions. From remote offices, relying on virtual meetings, digitization, and automation of work processes, we’re now focusing on how to incorporate a hybrid approach to our work setups. The Best Workplaces™ aren’t waiting for things to go back to what they were pre-pandemic—they’re adapting and rebuilding for the long haul.

Employees in various industries are experiencing physical illness, mental exhaustion, stress, burnout, anxiety, grief and so much more. HR’s role in enhancing and uplifting the employee experience is more important than ever. Employee safety isn’t just about physical environments anymore. In our Philippines’ Best Workplaces™️ 2021 report, we found that the organizations who made it to the list had an average score of 89% on the statement “This is a psychologically and emotionally healthy place to work.”

As we continue to discuss these new realities, what else is on the new HR agenda?

4. HR as a champion for mental health and wellbeing

As people advocates in our organizations, we must never forget that employees are human beings. Genuine care and connection isn’t just for our personal lives, but for our working lives too. When we feel physically, emotionally, and psychologically safe in our work environment, it’s easier for us to bring our whole selves to the table. This is because we know that we are being valued not just as employees, but as human beings. We are respected and treated fairly no matter what we are going through beyond office hours. The challenges brought about by the pandemic further highlighted the need to ramp up programs and policies around mental health and employee well-being. It’s not about the number of free workshops, food deliveries, or virtual parties we throw; it’s about making your people feel that you truly care about them. It can be as simple as genuinely asking them how they are and providing that space to vent. Or, optimizing the number of meetings that your team has on a weekly basis so that people can have a few extra hours to spend however they like; whether with their children, pets, or other family members. Some companies even have dedicated wellness or happiness managers in charge of finding new ways to boost morale and support employees’ well-being. It’s really about the little things that showcase the element of “personal touch” that makes all the difference. Acting from a place of empathy and compassion for our fellow co-workers encourages everyone in the organization to do the same—making your workplace better not just for the people in it, but for the world too.

5. HR as an innovator for the future of work

Now that we’re nearly 2 years into living with the aftermath of a health crisis, the way we work will never be the same as it was. The silver lining is that we now have the opportunity to reshape how we work as a society not only to adapt to the changing times, but to also enhance our productivity and innovate for the future. What changes do we need to embrace so that our people can be less stressed yet more motivated to contribute to the goals of the organization? It’s our chance to come up with creative solutions to the problems businesses face these days and to really tap into the plethora of ideas that our own people can contribute to. How can we be more inclusive towards all our employees and the variety of needs that they have? By embracing flexibility, digitization, hybrid work setups, and the introduction of new jobs that address the novel challenges our organizations are facing. Yes, it may seem difficult to let go of the systems we’ve grown accustomed to, but rebuilding these foundations and embracing change has proven to be the key to resilient and successful workplaces. We may not have all the answers right now, but as HR leaders, we certainly have the tools to empower our people and encourage Innovation By All™️.

Be a great workplace For All™️

Having a systematic and continuous way of gathering feedback around the employee experience provides the data and insights needed to create a roadmap for affecting positive change. Gather and analyze your employees’ experience with our employee survey.  

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.