The world has seen a major transition in work culture, employee and employer mindsets, and reliance on technology, giving rise to unprecedented challenges for businesses and leadership. The handbook for this new era of business doesn’t exist; everyone is drafting their own as they go along, dealing with situations with no prior precedent and solutions in history.
The human resources (HR) department, which has changed and adapted to become more business-oriented, is now an independent decision-maker in terms of a company's strategy and direction. HR executives are increasingly at the forefront of business and are expected to drive more value creation and delivery. From ensuring flexibility, building trust, fostering collaboration, exploring new avenues of growth, actively listening to workers' needs, to building a strong and healthy culture, talent leaders are now called upon to deliver more in the new era of work and rewrite the playbook for the future.
However, creating jobs and career pathways to meet those motivations is difficult, especially as people's motivations at work are more varied and divergent than in the past. The edges of the firm are getting more and more blurred and the relationship between worker and firm more fluid, thanks to the way technology facilitates gig labour, remote employment, and the automation of certain jobs. This is making the job of people leaders – which is ALL leaders – more difficult than ever.
The greatest challenge over the next few years will be to accelerate transformation by instituting new approaches to old challenges - a difficult undertaking in itself. Talent managers must understand that they ought to create an environment in which individuals WANT to (not NEED to) show up at work every day. Employees now have the power, and they are the ones who are asking about the company's culture, growth possibilities, purpose and values. So, what should HR expect and prepare for?
On this International HR Day, we spoke with 6 HR and talent leaders to find out what has changed over the past two years, and what HR leaders should keep their focus on.