Ever since the pandemic hit, the way organisations operate has drastically changed. These critical times have also allowed both large and small businesses to reevaluate their priorities. Apart from the top management of any entity, the Human Resource (HR) department too will have a pivotal role to play in 2022. From creating impersonal connections and growing the business to identifying, attracting, and retaining critical talent, HR and business leaders will have to strive and accomplish a win-win solution for all this year.

From the time the first lockdown was imposed in March 2020, the HR has not only enabled a seamless switch to a remote working system, but it has also ensured everyone on board’s health and well-being. It is also one of the departments in the organisation that, although being under enormous strain, has maintained both speed and composure in these trying times.

Come 2022! As the world entered a new year, both employers and employees were keen to go back to the offline mode of functioning, but the pandemic too entered its third phase in the first week, thereby perplexing plans. While 2020 and 2021 were focused on learning and adjusting to the remote working system, 2022 will provide value to the business by supporting and encouraging team members. The leaders and HR will now have to play a significant role in supporting a hybrid work mode, creating impersonal connections, identifying and attracting the right candidate, and upskill-reskill talent.

According to Bangalore-based Vikash Singh, head of HR for Product Data Technology Functions, this remote working system has led to a feeling of being disconnected from the organisation that has only become transactional with time. “There is no fun in between work. The ‘fun’ here doesn’t mean typical activities like making rangolis and celebrating birthdays, but it has a much broader concept. It could be having some time for impersonal connections in meetings when work is not discussed. It is also not about concentrating an hour to have fun, instead, it needs to be spread over the entire day, week, and month. HR community, people managers, leaders, and CXO’s of any organisation deeply need to think about this,” stated Singh.

A culture needs to be inculcated wherein an employee while continuing to work in the remote setup will also have deep connections built with his colleagues, known as social cohesion. Creating informal engagements frequently is the need of the hour. Leaders must reassess the work while focusing on tasks that add value to the employees and the organisation. They must also identify who or what will be the determining factor for the given task while combining humans and technology using creative models. Moreover, deciding where and how the job will be done by experimenting with new modes of working—hybrid or remote—and building on the crisis's learnings and experiences is important.

Fresh hiring, upskilling and reskilling will continue to be important areas as the work scenarios are constantly changing. The focus will be on employing for the jobs that are established rather than creating positions for the hiring done. Young talents in their early 30s, particularly those with an IT background, have tremendous opportunities and are continually contributing to the talent pool; it is critical to retain them. Demonstrating that their career will be properly tracked and giving growth opportunities may help leaders throughout the organisation retain talent. Options like creating the right and exciting training modules that they can take at their convenience can prove to be icing on the cake.

Lastly, with the entire world in peril, leaders must be empathetic. They must maintain contact with the team and show that they, too, desire to assist team members grow. Being genuine is essential because people can sense deception, especially when it comes to caring or listening.

Thus, along with the business leaders and managers, the HRs will be at the forefront of all-important business challenges involving employees in 2022, whether by facilitating a better career experience, creating a supportive environment focused on development and retention of employees or establishing meaningful connections and addressing people's problems.

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